2021 Strade Bianche, March 6th

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I can't 100% rule out Sagan could have caught him, there's no live image of the group behind to prove or disprove it.
But Moser's time on Via Santa Caterina, the steep part (45") is a very good time compared to other winners. He was only 4" slower than Kwiatkowski in 2014 (dropping Sagan) for example. The only much faster time I have for that section are Stybar in 2015 and Benoot (37"). Pogacar did it in 38" last year so watch out if he is in the front group when they approach Siena.
I totally believe you about the race dynamics of the version that Moser won—I only have a fuzzy memory of it.
You’re right about watching out for Pogacar too—but he can’t win everything?
 
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.
 
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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.
We can't discount Mohoric but Mathieu has no chance? Alright.
 
Ya, not sure MVDP can distance likes of WVA or Alaphillippe and if he can't, they'll beat him at the finish. If he can, it'd be a great win.
What makes you think Van Der Poel can't distance Van Aert on that final wall? It's 400-500m, I would say that pretty much suits Mathieu.
Ok, Alaphilippe is the best puncheur in the world, but Strade is a damn hard race, maybe his punch won't be there if those cross guys do the forcing for a while.
I remember Valverde, best puncheur in the world at that time, being beaten by Stybar and Van Avermaet at that wall...

In fact, I dare to say, if Van Der Poel comes with the front group at the bottom of that wall, he will win. Doesn't matter who the competition are...
 
What makes you think Van Der Poel can't distance Van Aert on that final wall? It's 400-500m, I would say that pretty much suits Mathieu.
Ok, Alaphilippe is the best puncheur in the world, but Strade is a damn hard race, maybe his punch won't be there if those cross guys do the forcing for a while.
I remember Valverde, best puncheur in the world at that time, being beaten by Stybar and Van Avermaet at that wall...

In fact, I dare to say, if Van Der Poel comes with the front group at the bottom of that wall, he will win. Doesn't matter who the competition are...
I still take Alaphilippe if they come together at the foot of the last wall. But MvdP is close second and WvA is close third in my book. It'll be a fascinating battle. But in the end Brambilla is going to win :cool:
 
The thing is you don't know how well van Aert will come out of his trainingcamp so it's useless to "predict" if van der Poel can beat him or not. However, if both are at the top of their game, i don't think Mathieu will easily beat him after a hard race (which SB is). This isn't 5% for 300 meters, this is longer and steeper, and imho Wout is clearly the better climber. But all of that won't matter, because if they enter Siena with Alaphilippe, they can battle it out for 2nd place 15 seconds behind the winner.

Write off MVDP at your own peril.

Also I guess this answer the handlebar question:
According to Adrie vdP, Mathieu bumped against a car with his handlebar two days before during KBK , when he was riding the same bike. This probably was the real culprit. Then he rode into a hole in the road during Le Samyn, and the handlebar snapped.
 
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The thing is you don't know how well van Aert will come out of his trainingcamp so it's useless to "predict" if van der Poel can beat him or not. However, if both are at the top of their game, i don't think Mathieu will easily beat him after a hard race (which SB is). This isn't 5% for 300 meters, this is longer and steeper, and imho Wout is clearly the better climber. But all of that won't matter, because if they enter Siena with Alaphilippe, they can battle it out for 2nd place 15 seconds behind the winner.


According to Adrie vdP, Mathieu bumped against a car with his handlebar two days before during KBK , when he was riding the same bike. This probably was the real culprit. Then he rode into a hole in the road during Le Samyn, and the handlebar snapped.
I agree. Up to this point Wout has proven to be the better climber. Plus, Wout has much more experience in both participation and top finishes. He knows how to best race this race.

Due to the little data we have on Mathieu's true climbing abilities (meaning when in top form and properly trained) it's quite hard to have him as a clear favorite here.

I'm 100% convinced he'll do a lot better than last year as last year his whole schedule and preparation got thrown into a loop and it showed in is early season results. However, the question remains; How much better?

His performances at KBK and Samyn were epic indeed, but does little to prove how he'll go on a proper climb with the likes of Alaphil and Wout, or even better climbers like Pogacar, Bernal or Birdsong if they're all there in the final. The UAE tour would have been a better prep for him in that regard.

With all of this being said though, Mathieu is looking good and I would never bet against him. So I cannot wait for Saturday.
 
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Alaphilippe himself didn't exactly set the world on fire the only time he climbed via Santa Caterina with a chance to win the race. He followed Van Aert until Fuglsang attacked and then followed him all the way to the top. He outsprinted Fuglsang on the flat part.
Their time up the wall was around 50".

I think we have enough examples of very punchy rider being beaten (or even blown away in some cases) on via Santa Caterina to be aware that anything can happen once they get there.
 
Alaphilippe himself didn't exactly set the world on fire the only time he climbed via Santa Caterina with a chance to win the race. He followed Van Aert until Fuglsang attacked and then followed him all the way to the top. He outsprinted Fuglsang on the flat part.
Their time up the wall was around 50".

I think we have enough examples of very punchy rider being beaten (or even blown away in some cases) on via Santa Caterina to be aware that anything can happen once they get there.
By "sprinting away on the flat part" you mean "got first into the bend with 300 to go", right? :)
 
By "sprinting away on the flat part" you mean "got first into the bend with 300 to go", right? :)
Well he overcame Fuglsang on a relatively straight section after the wall was over. Jakob was cooked and not very smart to let the door open (Cancellara would never give you that chance). I just wanted to say that he didn't smoke Fuglsang on the wall as we all thought he would.
 
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Well he overcame Fuglsang on a relatively straight section after the wall was over. Jakob was cooked and not very smart to let the door open (Cancellara would never give you that chance). I just wanted to say that he didn't smoke Fuglsang on the wall as we all thought he would.
I was sure Fuglsang had him. He looked stronger than him on the run-in and should have gone fast from the bottom of the hill (similar to what he did in FW where Alaphilippe was barely fresh enough to keep up).
 
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Well he overcame Fuglsang on a relatively straight section after the wall was over. Jakob was cooked and not very smart to let the door open (Cancellara would never give you that chance). I just wanted to say that he didn't smoke Fuglsang on the wall as we all thought he would.
But then Fuglsang was close to winning FW that year! He had an uphill punch that was incredible (for him). I wonder how he's going to be this year, if he has given up on GTs.
 
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Write off MVDP at your own peril.

Also I guess this answer the handlebar question:
That's a terrible design imo, having what amounts to a predetermined breaking point in such a critical piece of equipment that has to withstand significiant force at the most important points of a race.

But props to them for recognising the mistake.
 
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I hope the rain creates some puddles and wet parts, but if not, it makes the race a lot easier: a non-dusty strade bianche rolls better (gravel sticks together), so it could actually be an advantage for the non-CX / non-technical riders.
But anyway, almost all of the favourites / big guns have MTB or CX pedigree, so in the end, it won't matter too much.
 

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