Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) has won on his first attempt on the unmade roads of the Montepaschi Strade Bianche in Italy.
Belgian Gilbert launched a trademark solo attack in the final kilometre of the 190km race, with Italians Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) in hot pursuit
However, Gilbert stayed clear, yet again denying a ‘home’ win in the gruelling race – no Italian has won in the race’s five-year history.
Gilbert had a solid season last year, winning the Tour of Lombardy, Amstel Gold Race, Giro del Piemonte, two stages of the Vuelta a Espana and stage of the Tour of Belgium.
Montepaschi Strade Bianche 2011: 190km
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD
4. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Type 1
5. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard-Trek
6. Angel Vicioso (Spa) Androni Giocatolli
7. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini
8. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Farnese Vini
9. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
10. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard-Trek
Cadel Evans and Giovanni Visconti
Fabian Cancellara attacks
Philippe Gilbert wins ahead of Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego
Strade Bianche: Winners
2011: Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
2010: Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz)
2009: Thomas Lofkvist (Swe)
2008: Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
2007: Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus)