Muddy conditions made for a memorable edition of Strade Bianche
Photo credits: LaPresse - Ferrari/Paolone

The 2018 edition of Strade Bianche will live long in the memory not only for the excitement of the racing, but also for the brutal conditions that hit the race from start to finish.

While last year’s race was muddy, Saturday saw heavy rain on the day itself combine with snow in the days leading up to the race turning some of the white gravel roads into brown quagmires.

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The day might not have been enjoyable for the riders, with only 59 of the 138 starters in the women’s race and 53 of the 147 starter in the men’s race finishing the race in the time limit.

However the race still yielded some exciting racing, with Anna van der Breggen and Tiesj Benoot taking victory, and some even better images of the Tuscan landscape and riders suffering through the conditions with pain etched on their mud-caked faces.

The peloton between gravel sectors in the women’s Strade Bianche

Team Sunweb mass towards the front of the peloton

Chantal Blaak congratulates team-mate Anna van der Breggen

Heavy rain was falling from the very start of the men’s race

Groups spread across the landscape on one of the numerous gravel sectors

Tiesj Benoot launches an attack to bridge up to the front group

Romain Bardet and Wout van Aert at the head of the race

The white gravel roads turned to brown mud in the heavy rain

German national champion Marcus Burghardt suffers through the grim conditions

Tiesj Benoot launches the winning move

Benoot pushes on solo on the way to Siena

The Lotto-Soudal rider celebrates the biggest win of his career so far