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Alessandro Ballan's runner-up finish put the BMC Racing Team on the podium. (©Sirotti, www.sirotti.it.)
Alessandro Ballan's runner-up finish put the BMC Racing Team on the podium. (©Sirotti, www.sirotti.it.)

Ballan Runner-Up At Montepaschi Strade Bianche

5. marzo 2011

Siena, Italy

Alessandro Ballan earned the BMC Racing Team a runner-up finish Saturday at Montepaschi Strade Bianche while teammate Greg Van Avermaet spent much of the race in a breakaway before finishing ninth.

Second Runner-Up Finish

Ballan said he was feeling good about his chances in the final moments of the 190-kilometer race featuring 57 km of dirt and gravel sections. "I was behind (eventual winner) Philippe Gilbert and Damiano Cunego was on my wheel," the former world champion said. "Gilbert took the inside and I didn't want to pass him on the outside because I was afraid that I would crash. Overall, I'm happy with my condition. It bodes well for the upcoming races." Ballan also finished runner-up on the opening stage of the Giro di Sardegna last month.

Van Avermaet, Kohler In Break
The BMC Racing Team had Van Avemaet and Martin Kohler in an early breakaway group of 12. "It wasn't the perfect situation to go with the early breakaway but (Stuart) O'Grady made the jump and I just followed him and we were gone," Van Avermaet said. "When you have such good legs, you try to make the best of it." The break never led by more than three minutes before Van Avermaet and O'Grady got away on their own, only to be caught with 12 km to go.