It’s no secret that we love the one-day classic that is Strade Bianche. We’re not the only ones who are obsessed: the race has grown so beloved and popular that debating over whether it should be named a “modern Monument” has become a popular cycling nerd pastime.

This year’s race was dramatic and spectacular and messy and beautiful. Here are some of our favorite moments of the chaos that is one of the most unique races in the world.

Tom Pidcock’s solo breakaway. Descending. On gravel.

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Tom Pidcock goes for it in Strade Bianche

At around 50 km to the finish, Tom Piddcock decides he wants to hunt down the two rider breakaway that had been away for most of the race. He makes his move on the descending section of gravel, dropping Antonio Bettiol so fast it seemed as though Bettiol had flatted.

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The speed with which Pidcock launches downhill on gravel was unmatched by anyone else in the peloton, and he looked like he’s doing what he was put on this earth to do. He almost loses it during a corner when he hits a patch of particularly deep gravel, but surfs the bikes through as though he hadn’t even noticed.

MVDP grabbing a bottle while in full attack mode. Going uphill. As though it was nothing.

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MVDP taking no prisoners , as per usual.
Tim de Waele//Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel had attacked and was leading the chase group through clouds of white dust over the crest of a gravel climb. The crowds on both side of the road are thick, and in the dust we see one arm extended up, holding a bottle.

In a moment so fast and so…so van der Poel that it momentarily even leaves the race commentators speechless, he reaches over and grabs the bottle from his team’s personnel. While attacking. On a climb. He was literally attacking single-handedly. It didn’t turn out to be van der Poel’s best day, but he still found a way to amaze us!

The Move: Kopecky and Vollering

SD Worx took command of the race with this key move. Last year’s winner Lotte Kopecky, likely on the instruction of retired pro turned team director Anna van der Breggen in the team car, accelerates away from the peloton to bridge up to her teammate Demi Vollering. Van der Breggen has herself won Strade Bianche and knows the course inside and out, and it showed: the move was timed perfectly.

Vollering had slowed down a bit, perhaps because she was tired from her solo chase of Kristen Faulkner, or because she was almost run down by a horse. Or maybe she was waiting for her teammate and resting a bit.

Regardless, once the two riders joined together they just took off in the chase that decided the course of the race.

The Throw: Kopecky and Vollering, again

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Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky at the finish of the 2023 Strade Bianche
Luc Claessen//Getty Images

The teamwork between these two athletes was just as awe-inspiring as their performance.

The two finished the race with huge smiles, side-by-side, like two friends sprinting for the town line.

The finish was so close in fact that for a few minutes afterwards, we didn’t know who had technically won. Turns out, the winner was decided by the rider’s throw, a move said to have been created by American cycling champion Connie Carpenter-Phinney.

The coverage of the women’s race

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Luc Claessen//Getty Images

During the race broadcast on GCN+ a commentator remarks that they used to be “commentating a a race with a single moto camera - and that’s it.”

Now, as evidenced by the stellar coverage of the women’s Strade Bianche, professional women’s cycling is getting actual, professional coverage, with many moto-cameras, helicopters, and top-notch announcers.

Well, I guess the caveat here is that it depends on whether or not the race is streamed on FloBikes.

Oh, and there was a horse.

Headshot of Natascha Grief
Natascha Grief

Natascha Grief got her first bike shop job before she was old enough to drink. After a six-year stint as a mechanic, earning a couple pro-mechanic certifications and her USA Cycling Race Mechanics license, she became obsessed with framebuilding and decided she wanted to do that next.  After Albert Eistentraut literally shooed her off his doorstep, admonishing that if she pursued framebuilding she will be poor forever, she landed an apprenticeship with framebuilder Brent Steelman in her hometown of Redwood City, CA. After that, she spent several years working for both large and not-so-large cycling brands. Somewhere in there she also became a certified bike fitter. Natascha then became a certified personal trainer and spent nine years honing her skills as a trainer and coach, while also teaching Spin. During the dumpster fire that was the year 2020, she opened a fitness studio and began contributing regularly to Runner’s World and Bicycling as a freelance writer. In 2022, she joined the staff of Bicycling as News Editor.