Maximilian Schachmann finished on the podium at the restart of the WorldTour season. At the 14th Strade Bianche over 184 kilometers with start and finish in the Tuscany pearl of Siena, the 26-year-old from the German team Bora-hansgrohe took third place in the victory of the Belgian Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
In the finish sprint in front of the famous Piazza del Campo, the German road cycling champion was beaten by the Italian Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) by two seconds.
Chessman determines what happens
Schachmann had won the last race of the WorldTour before the end of the season because of the corona pandemic, and prevailed in the long-distance Paris-Nice trip in March. On Saturday at high temperatures, he set about writing the next chapter in his success story.
For a long time, the German, together with a quintet, determined what happened on the white and dusty gravel roads, which took up a third of the total distance. In addition to van Aert and Formolo, the leaders included Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet (Belgium / CCC Team), Dane Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Italian Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling).
A good 20 kilometers before the goal, Schachmann and van Aert blew up the top group with an attempt to pull away, but after only a few kilometers they were put back. For van Avermaet, however, the speed increase was too much, he had to let go.
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Van Aert dared again 12.5 kilometers before the finish and was successful. The 25-year-old built up a small lead, Schachmann and Formolo at least kept in touch. But the decision was made on the difficult climb to Piazza del Campo. Van Aert finally triumphed after two third places in 2018 and 2019. The second-placed Formolo crossed the finish line 30 seconds later.
No viewers at the finish
The professionals, however, had to do without applause. Spectators were not allowed on the Piazza del Campo, and there were only a few fans to be seen along the route.