2021 Strade Bianche, March 6th

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Actually, they usually don’t cover enough of the men’s race either; I think I recall tuning in at the start of broadcast coverage to find that the key splits forming the lead groups had already happened :(
Yeah, we never see much. Are we going to get more coverage this year?

The finish order of the former crossers alone should be interesting. Could have missed someone but:

MVDP
WVA
Alaphilippe
Pidcock
Sagan
 
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some context would be welcome...? :)
I guess it's a photo from the adriatico ionica 2 years ago where he lost 2 minutes or so in a sterrato stage.
Indeed.
He crashed on the gravel (trouble cornering) and the entire DQT left him for dead, leading the first peloton (while Evenepoel was in the 2nd or 3rd group) and taking the full podium that stage.

Yeah, we never see much. Are we going to get more coverage this year?

The finish order of the former crossers alone should be interesting. Could have missed someone but:

MVDP
WVA
Alaphilippe
Pidcock
Sagan
Well, Styby obviously.
 
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My take:
Van Aert, van der Poel and Alaphilippe are kind of equally strong. Who wins a race between them depends on form and the characteristics of the race (and tactics of course, but not that much). Van Aert has the biggest engine and produces the best steady watts, van der Poel is probably the best sprinter on a rather flat terrain, and Alaphilippe is the best on a very steep section. Strade suits all of them very well, since they all have a big engine, are technically strong and can deal with the repeated efforts. They are all good in a long, hard race and have a good sprint at the end. Each of their specific strengths can be used in this race. So it will be about form, the most, I think.
One aspect I find interesting here is the form building of van der Poel and van Aert. They seem to have taken a very different approach to the season since they have different goals. Van der Poel carried his cx form into the road season and will, in my opinion, still be great in Strade and MSR. After that his form will probably go down a bit and he will take a rest and build it up again towards the Olympics. Van Aert on the other hand seems to have taken a real rest and already started to build his form for the road properly again, so that he is not yet at his best. I suppose he will be better later in the spring.
So I think van der Poel may have the best form of the three at the moment. But van Aert just has this immense engine, and maybe he's already better than his coach said.

I'd go with van der Poel between the three of them. But then it's not just them at this race. Most interesting for me is actually the "duel" van der Poel-Pogacar. Right now I can't remember a race where they went head to head. Has there been one?
Pogacar could also play a nice tactical card with Formolo - or the other way around. But Strade is really not so much about tactics.

Woods should be in the mix, too. Simmons? Maybe Pidcock, although I'm not on that hype train, yet. And then there's Fuglsang who hasn't shown much so far this season, but it's clearly a race for him, so maybe he will be up there, as well.
 
Good news. Eurosport has scheduled three hours of coverage this year, so presumably the other channels will be doing the same, or possibly more?
That does sound good. According to this, we should get about 100 kilometres which is close to twice as much as usual. Hopefully, there will not only be 25 riders left when we get the signal this time.

 
Most interesting for me is actually the "duel" van der Poel-Pogacar. Right now I can't remember a race where they went head to head. Has there been one?
The others have already mentioned some, but the most obvious one, where both were battling for the win (although MvdP was in the chasing group) , is in L-B-L last season.

But I don't think a duel MvdP - Pogačar should be a thing. They are different type of riders. But yes, the beauty of Strade Bianche is that we can see going head to head cobbled classics specialists, hilly classics specialists and GT contenders. But in the end the classics specialists usually have the upper hand. I can remember only Bardet and Fuglsang among GT contenders lighting it up and Fuglsang is more of a one day races specialist anyway.

For me the clear favourite is Alaphilippe. I think the finale is most suited to his characteristics and it will be hard to get rid of him beforehand. But we saw what happened to him in the previous edition, so he is far from a sure bet. That means Brambilla FTW.
 
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