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Alessandro Ballan (left) was part of the breakaway on his way to finishing fourth. (©Sirotti.)
Alessandro Ballan (left) was part of the breakaway on his way to finishing fourth. (©Sirotti.)

Two In Top Five At Strade Bianche

3. March 2012

Siena, Italy

Alessandro Ballan finished fourth and Greg Van Avermaet was fifth for the BMC Racing Team Saturday at Strade Bianche.

'Couldn't Match His Speed'

Ballan and Van Avermaet were part of a five-man chase group that could not catch Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan), who soloed the final 12 kilometers of the 190 km race. Cancellara countered an attack by Van Avermaet on the last section of white gravel roads that make the single day race so unique. "I was working for Alessandro when I attacked but Cancellara was too strong when he countered and I didn't have the legs to follow," Van Avermaet said. For Ballan, it was the former world road champion's third time in the top five after runner-up finishes in 2008 and last year. "When Cancellara went, I tried to get on his wheel but couldn't match his speed," Ballan said. "Our group was chasing pretty hard but Cancellara was too strong. I have to thank Greg for the excellent job he did of working for me. We worked well together."

Forced A Selection
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said despite the ultimate result, the race went according to plan. "Our strategy was to put somebody in a break of more than six riders, especially if Liquigas or Radioshack were present in the break," he said. Marco Pinotti made the break of 12 riders for the BMC Racing Team and was with it for 76 km before puncturing. "In the most difficult dirt road section, we made the race harder with Adam Blythe and Martin Kohler and the Liquigas team to make a selection," Lelangue said. That acceleration resulted in a group of 15 riders – that included Ballan and Van Avermaet – going away for good.

Follow this link to view photos from the race: