I was ecstatic to finally get a chance to cover the legendary Strade Bianche race on a motorbike this year, excited by the many possibilities it would offer for new vantage points. Instead, myself and my Italian driver Simone spent much of the day on the backfoot, getting caught behind the peloton too often and getting sent away by a commissaire just when it was our turn to shoot from the front of the race.
Regardless of the frustrations, it is a day I will never forget. Despite mid-week rain, the legendary white roads of Tuscany still turned up plenty of dust as soon as the race hit.
Then, of course, there was the racing, with Tom Pidcock putting in a ride that won’t be forgotten any time soon. Attacking from more than 50 kilometers out, he never gave his opponents a chance to respond. Pidcock received a hero's welcome as he powered up the final climb into Siena, delivering one of his best rides to date in his blossoming career.
Pidcock was relaxed at the start as he signed in with his Ineos Grenadiers team at the Fortezza Medicea in Siena.
The peloton attacked on one of the first sections of the iconic white roads.
At the front is often the best place to be as the day’s early breakaway riders can attest.
But behind the race was certainly no place to be.
Old Tuscan farmhouses dotted the landscape, offering their undeniable charm.
The San Martino di Grania is one of the longest and most feared sections of gravel in the Strade Bianche.
Pre-race favorite Mathieu van der Poel appeared to ride easily at the front for much of the race, but within a few kilometers his chance to win the Strade Bianche slipped away.
Going on the attack midway through the Monte Sainte Marie section, Pidcock instantly opened a gap and took control of the race.
Peter Sagan making his last appearance at Strade Bianche.
Frenchman Valentin Madouas proved to be one of the day’s big surprises, putting in a spirited chase that earned him second place.
Pidcock powers up the final climb in Siena, knowing that victory will soon be his.
Former winner Tiesj Benoot leads the first chase group up the final climb. He would have to settle for third this year.
Accelerating in the final meters into Siena, Mattieu van der Poel (right) had to settle for 15th.
After cresting the final climb, Pidcock headed for the finish on the historic Campo in Siena.