Jumbo-Visma finished third and fifth at Strade Bianche but their confused tactics drew blunt criticism from Matej Mohoric, who said they lost the race because Atilla Valter did not work for Tiesj Benoot.
The chasers closed to within ten seconds of Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) on the road to Siena but Valter launched two attacks that only served to disrupt any organised chase of Pidcock.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider went on to become the first-ever British winner of Strade Bianche after a 50km solo attack, while Benoot finished third at 22 seconds, behind Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ). Valter was fifth at 23 seconds after the chase group split on the final climb up to Siena.
Benoot was convinced he could have won Strade Bianche, while Valter admitted he made a mistake.
“A podium finish would have been a good result if you’d asked me before the start but I think I had the legs to win, so I’ve got mixed feelings,” Benoot told the Dutch and Flemish media beyond the finish line in Piazza del Campo.
“Now there is still some disappointment. Maybe tomorrow that disappointment might give way to pride.”
“We could have done better in the chase, although I made mistakes too. It was a mistake by both of us that no one was with Pidcock when he got away. I think we were both among the best riders in the race. We’ve proven that. It’s too bad we couldn’t capitalise on that in the end.”
“Of course, congrats to Pidcock. After such a solo you can only say: Wow! And congratulations. He never stopped and the best rider won today.”
Valter offered a mea culpa for his performance and Jumbo-Visma’s final result.
The 24-year-old Hungarian national champion joined Jumbo-Visma from Groupama-FDJ this season and has little experience of riding at the sharp end of major Classics. He rode O Gran Camiño with Jonas Vingegaard but had never ridden with Benoot until Strade Bianche.
“There were two of us in the front and we ended up on the podium,” Valter said with disappointment.
“We have to do better for Jumbo’s standards but I can be satisfied with my performance today. I finished fifth in just my second Strade Bianche.”
Jumbo-Visma were the only team with two riders but Benoot and Valter raced as equals rather than teammates.
Benoot won Strade Bianche in 2018 and won last Sunday’s Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne. He arguably deserved to be declared team leader by the Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif.
Valter admitted he made mistakes in the final kilometres as the…
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