The Italian champion could not close the gap to solo winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) after the Belgian attacked on the Le Tolfe sector of sterrato 12km from Siena, but had enough energy to win the sprint for second place against Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the Piazza del Campo in Siena.
"For me, [second] is a very good result and on my home roads. My legs were feeling really well. In the end, I suffered in the hot weather because I just came, yesterday, from a training camp at altitude," Formolo said.
Formolo arrived to the WorldTour restart in Tuscany the day before Strade Bianche, having spent time at a training camp at altitude during July. He said that even though the summer heat affected his performance, he was still pleased with how the race played out.
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Formolo was part of a breakaway that included Van Aert, Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) that formed on the 8.8km-long Monte Sante Marie sector 50km from the line.
Van Aert attacked on the last gravel sector, Le Tolfe, and while Schachmann and Formolo tried to chase, they couldn't shut down the gap and Van Aert crossed the finish line with a 30-second advantage and the victory.
While the Belgian celebrated on the downhill run into the empty Piazza del Campo, Formolo and Schachmann raced up the steep pitches into Siena with Formolo claiming second on the day.
“It has been a beautiful race," he said. "It’s always great to race at Strade Bianche. There a little bit of regret for having missed a beautiful victory, but the second place is a good result anyway and tops-off a good week for the team."
Formolo will next race at Milan-San Remo on August 8. Organisers RCS Sport were recently forced to change the route to a more inland parcours after coastal towns refused to grant permits because they believe it is impossible to safely close down the roads to allow the race through during peak holiday season along the coast.
"Now I’ll look towards Milan-San Remo which is a different style of parcours but we’ll give give it our best," Formolo said.