Lizzie Armitstead made it two wins from two in the Rainbow Jersey after winning Strade Bianche today. The win followed victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last week.
Armitstead was second to Boels-Dolmans team-mate Megan Guarnier in 2015. But this year went clear with two other riders with about 20km remaining before attacking on the uphill finish into Siena. Poland's Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv) came second with Sweden's Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High5) in third.
— Strade Bianche (@StradeBianche) March 5, 2016
Speaking after the finish, Armitstead said:
"It's amazing to win the first UCI women's WorldTour event and this race is absolutely special. After winning in Belgium last week, thankfully I'm not affected by the curse of the rainbow jersey. I managed to honour it again today. We've shared the work in the last 10km with my two breakaway companions and I pulled away on the climb. It worked out really well."
Strade Bianche is the first event in this year’s Women’s WorldTour, Armitstead having won the competition’s forerunner, the UCI Women Road World Cup in both 2014 and 2015. The second event will be Ronde Van Drenthe next weekend, followed by Trofeo Alfredo Binda the week after.
Later in the day, Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) won the Strade Bianche men's race. It is the third time he has won the event and means the sixth stretch of gravel will now be named after him.
The Swiss rider finished the race as part of a four-man escape group, which also included last year's winner Zdenek Stybar and his Etixx - Quick Step team-mate Gianluca Brambilla, as well as world champion, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).
Cancellara chased down Brambilla on the steep final climb and then held off Stybar to the finish.
Speaking afterwards, Cancellara said:
"This day is special. I had to play my best cards. I'm speechless. I knew that I couldn't let Brambilla get too far ahead, despite Etixx-Quick Step outnumbering me. I used my experience and confidence to leave it to the very end. It's because I know myself very well. To win it for the third time means that I have made history as I'll now have my name on a gravel road. I put my mark in Siena forever. It makes me happy."