2021 Strade Bianche, March 6th

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It's certainly an impressive line-up!

Men:
****Alaphilippe, Van der Poel, Van Aert
***Fuglsang, Pogacar, Asgreen
**Pidcock, Küng, Bettiol, Formolo, Ballerini
*De Marchi, Brambilla, Van Avermaet, Wellens, Valverde, Mas, Bilbao, S. Yates, Bardet, Kwiatkowski, Stybar
I would be surprised if one of the "big 3" didn't win, but I'd add Pogacar to the 4-star list. I don't see him as giving anything away to those guys given that he's coming off a hard week of stage racing.

You'd think that the 3 CX riders would have a bit of an advantage as far as riding on the sterrato and also, perhaps, a very granular knowledge of tire pressure to avoid flats. I have a feeling MVdP is out for blood; just hope he doesn't have a mechanical or break his bars again...WvA is a bit of a wild card tho. Alaf will want this but can he avoid a bad decision...going to be a great day of couch surfing for me...

I've never ridden the sterrato but we did hike some of those roads a couple of years ago. Some are pretty smooth but others are more like riding on the cobbles, depends on weather and whether they've been kept up.
 
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It'll be interesting to see how Zwiehoff will do here. Buchmann and Konrad aren't really the leaders you'd 100% trust for a good result at Strade, so there could be a chance that Bora are letting him to have a bit of a free role. He's in good shape, won't have trouble with the sterrato and can climb well. Positioning and being there at key points would be the important bits for him, but they got Oss and Burghardt for that.

As for the win, it'll be a battle between the crossers (MVDP, Wout and Pidcock) and Alaphilippe I guess. Fuglsang, Bettiol and Pogi best of the rest. Should also suit Simmons very well. Gogl seems to be in decent shape again too. Very interested to see how Almeida does on this parcours.
And then there will always be a rider or two featuring at the front of the race that you don't expect there.
 
It'll be interesting to see how Zwiehoff will do here. Buchmann and Konrad aren't really the leaders you'd 100% trust for a good result at Strade, so there could be a chance that Bora are letting him to have a bit of a free role. He's in good shape, won't have trouble with the sterrato and can climb well. Positioning and being there at key points would be the important bits for him, but they got Oss and Burghardt for that.
I would guess for Buchmann it's mainly about getting some practice in before the Giro. He probably doesn't have much experience on the sterrato?!
 
Always a good race and a favorite of most cycling fans with its unique parcours, great racing and stunning scenery.

Van Aert, Van der Poel and Alaphilippe, are of course the favorites, so who can beat them? Probably some opportunistic rider who's not afraid to attack from the distance. Pogacar looked decent here last year and is in great shape - and he might even have a shot if he arrives with the big three in Siena. Bernal is my dark horse here as he's obviously in stellar form and also one of the few that has a shot at gapping the favorites in the hills. Mollema should also be taken into consideration as he has the nose for winning in these kind of races when everyone is looking at each other. Fuglsang and Wellens might also have the balls to attack from far out, although I fear that the former might play this too passively - I hope not though.
 
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Every race should have a 1k cake.
And I wondered how they would get under the cake? Maybe it’s the kind that a dancer pops out of?

But to what was likely the original point of that post: after watching how MVDP and Van Aert powered away from Pidcock and the other competitors at CX world’s, and given how those two have already demonstrated their superb road racing chops, why would you rate Pidcock as being up there with them?
 
I'm thinking (or possibly hoping) that all these folks doubting MVDP's one day race "climbing" abilities are basing that on a very small sample size when he was nowhere near his usual top level (last fall's SB, Lombardia, LBL day after BB solo). Obviously, he'll never be a GT GC contender, but on an uphill finish after a hard race he is devestating. The only question is whether the SB finish is a bit too long/steep for him vs. the likes of AP. For my money though, neither AP or WVA has the killer instinct that MVDP has once he gets even a sniff of the winning.
 
I'm thinking (or possibly hoping) that all these folks doubting MVDP's one day race "climbing" abilities are basing that on a very small sample size when he was nowhere near his usual top level (last fall's SB, Lombardia, LBL day after BB solo). Obviously, he'll never be a GT GC contender, but on an uphill finish after a hard race he is devestating. The only question is whether the SB finish is a bit too long/steep for him vs. the likes of AP. For my money though, neither AP or WVA has the killer instinct that MVDP has once he gets even a sniff of the winning.
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.
 
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Feb 27, 2021
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I really hope that this will be another good Strade bianche. I hope it will be "epic". I mean real epic for real...as the word epic is so abused these days.
 
Really? There's not a finish line at the end of the race where possibly more than one rider at a time will try to cross before the others? Uphill is still a sprint, and Siena is not the *** Alpe d'Huez.
It's a battle for position into the first bend in the final after 600 metres at close to 15 percent. After that it's impossible to overtake a rider in front of you because it is as technical as it is.
 

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