2021 Strade Bianche, March 6th

Page 22 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
The pre-race hype was immense with the beauty and difficulty of the parcours and the truly elite startlist but the race itself comfortably exceeded all expectations.

Chapeau to all the top 7 who dug deep and rode with tenacity, skill and flourish with a notable mention to Simmons who with better cluck would almost certainly have still been in the front group as the last sterrato sector unfolded.

I had Pogacar in the predictions comp and he rode really well, WVA will only improve with more race days in his legs but showed his class and heart, Pidcock showed great strength and maturity and could become a contender for every one day race in the calendar.

Alaphillipe continues to show off the rainbow stripes in all their glory despite having less team support presence than usual, Gogl rode the race of his life and Bernal showed that he is ready to be a prime contender in the Giro this year and his rivals must be scared watching that knowing that they are likely to lose time to him on the gravel stage and will now need to drop him in the high mountains.

MVDP deserves a section all to himself, on a couple of sectors he looked in some difficulty but the attack on the final sector and on the finishing hill were stunning vicious outputs of power so violent that I was fearing for the integrity of the bike equipment!

The sprinters don’t stand a chance this year in MSR in my view as there are far too many explosive puncheurs in great form for anyone to pull it back together after the Poggio.

I would like to see Roglic have a crack at this race next year with how he rode on the gravel section in the Tour last year.

The classics to come already have a very high bar to reach to contend for one day race of 2021.
 
You're a big van der Poel fan, so you should have seen many instances in CX where he wasn't even the 2nd best climber in a race. I have always said van Aert was a better climber, even before him winning Strade and killing it in the TDF. Mathieu did surprise me in Lombardia, but let's be honest, while he finished in the top 10, he was 6m30 down, and 2 minutes behind Schachmann who even crashed into a car, and isn't exactly Contador 2.0 himself either.

The climb into Siena is nothing like those uphill finishes he won in Tirreno or Tour of Britain. It is longer and much steeper. The main part is 500 meters at 12%, with sections of 19%. And the race itself will be a lot harder on top of that.

I won't be betting my house on him not winning, but i would personally rate him lower than van Aert on that climb, and even more so than Alaphilippe. But if the race situation is in his favor, if van Aert is too far from his best shape still, if Alaphilippe misses the decisive break and has to waste energy in the chase, punctures playing their part... it's all possible. The race could have been decided by the time they enter Siena as well.

PS: i think Mollema might surprise some people, i wouldn't be surprised if he finishes ahead of van Aert and van der Poel. He could definitely copy van Aert's scenario of last year.
We'll see how thing go Logic. I agree that based on recent past performances you would put WVA and APH ahead
You're a big van der Poel fan, so you should have seen many instances in CX where he wasn't even the 2nd best climber in a race. I have always said van Aert was a better climber, even before him winning Strade and killing it in the TDF. Mathieu did surprise me in Lombardia, but let's be honest, while he finished in the top 10, he was 6m30 down, and 2 minutes behind Schachmann who even crashed into a car, and isn't exactly Contador 2.0 himself either.

The climb into Siena is nothing like those uphill finishes he won in Tirreno or Tour of Britain. It is longer and much steeper. The main part is 500 meters at 12%, with sections of 19%. And the race itself will be a lot harder on top of that.

I won't be betting my house on him not winning, but i would personally rate him lower than van Aert on that climb, and even more so than Alaphilippe. But if the race situation is in his favor, if van Aert is too far from his best shape still, if Alaphilippe misses the decisive break and has to waste energy in the chase, punctures playing their part... it's all possible. The race could have been decided by the time they enter Siena as well.

PS: i think Mollema might surprise some people, i wouldn't be surprised if he finishes ahead of van Aert and van der Poel. He could definitely copy van Aert's scenario of last year.
This was the MVDP that I was talking about Logic. You clearly know a lot about bike racing, but I think you put too much creedence into MVDP's early races last fall, when he was far from being on form in what was a very weird year. Think back to spring 2019 in races like Flanders and AG - he was clearly the strongest guy in the world without even focusing on the road - in his first year racing big races on the road. Who knows what will happen at Flanders and Roubaix this year - my guess is they are both a toss up between MVDP and Wout - but neither Wout or ALP in top from could have beaten MVDP today. Those two attacks today on the final two climbs were the epitome of "devastating".
 
The way MvdP kicked on the last hill in Siena , was out of this world.

It is Alaphilippe's speciality, and yet he was completely planted on the road.
I dont think that last ramp suits that much riders like Alaphilipe or like Valverde was. To me is enough short to suit better guys heavier and more explosive like MVDP or WVA. It would suit more Alaphilipe if it was at least 1 km.
 
I don't like him at all because I find him to be a very arrogant showboat.
I think you are wrong about Alaf being "arrogant."

I'll go with showboat, but in a way that expresses joy, for the most part. He's a passionate guy who like Sagan has let his emotions once in a while get in the way of his better judgements. But he's not arrogant, in every interview I've read of him in French and English he acknowledges his competitors and his general line is "let's see who is the strongest."

I think peak JA could have won yesterday; his WC surge last year at Imola was pretty impressive.

To be clear, I'm a huge fan of JA, but I don't quite think he's a transcendent rider the way MvdP and potentially Remco are. and the way recent starts like Cancellara and Sagan were at their peak (which I think Sagan has passed). He's definitely the most versatile top rider today -- reminds me a bit of an aging but still relevant Spanish guy on a team with blue jerseys...:beercheers:
 
Reactions: Andy262
I am extremely positive that MVDP will not win this race, if he is there for a win on to the final wall in Siena he will go backwards up there. No chance to see him winning this, it will be more between ALA and WVA, but it is obviously that ALA is this year at the top of his game, so I hardly see anyone to beat him. Maybe Pogačar is the only one that can spoil the fun to ALA.

And guys, don't discount Matej Mohorič for this one.
you still extremely positive about this?
 
For those who think the last climb attack was special, think again. MvdP his first attack on Le Tolfe was something special as he showed how much more of energy he had than all other contenders. I would feel terrified having to race against such a super contender.

But in terms of absolute effort, his ascend on Santa Catalina was nothing special, and those who think "whoa, he way he rode away from Alaphilippe was extraordinary": no it wasn't. Alaphilippe had cramps. Again, I don't want to take anything away from MvdP (I feel MvdP could have taken the KOM if he went all out, but he didn't have to. ).

To prove my point, here's a fun game: below are climbing times on Santa Catalina (steep part from the chicane), the time from the last K banner to the top of the climb and, the total time from the last K banner to the finish. I have times of the most memorable uphill sprints (non-solo wins, because those are always slower, ofcourse)

Feel free to pick out 2021.


A) 45s steep part, last K sign to top of climb 1:44, last K 2:26
B) 38s steep part, last K sign to top of climb 1:23, last K 2:17.
C) 45s steep part, last K sign to top of climb 1:38, last K 2:19
D) 41s steep part, last K sign to top of climb 1:32, last K 2:17
E) 35s steep part, last K sign to top of climb 1:35, last K 2:20

  1. 2011: (Gilbert vs. a group of approx. 25 with Ballan)
  2. 2015: (Stybar vs. GvA vs. Valverde)
  3. 2016: (Cancellara vs. Sagan vs. Stybar chasing Brambilla)
  4. 2019: (Alaphilippe vs. Fuglsang)
  5. 2021: (MvdP vs. Alaphilippe vs. Bernal)
 
It sounds like people are exaggerating how good this year’s edition was. It was good, maybe on the lowest step of the podium, but definitely not the top step (2018, imo). 2015 is in 2nd place. (But ofc I’ll revise my ranking of editions later today after a more thorough review).
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY