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Strade Bianche 2024, March 2, one-day classic (men's)

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I never paid much attention to this race until Cadel Evan’s epic duel with Vino on “that” stage in the 2010 Giro. Now it really does seem like another monument. The extra distance and climbs this year make for an intriguing race. Hopefully no major crashes or injuries but if it’s wet that seems unlikely.

Pog to win. I think the extra distance and climbs suits him even better and we know he is targeting this race.
 
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Conflicting reports regarding the weather this afternoon, but the damage has been long done.

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Sagan never winning this race is another one of those weird holes in his palmares. The guy was super successful, yet there are so many races tailor made for him he could never win.

He chose not to win it in 2013 where he gifted it to Moser. He probably felt that there was no way he was never going to win it in the future but he became heavier and he was never as good in this race as in the cobbled classics in the latter part of his good years.
 
Even though the season has already started awhile ago, this feels the first big race of the season and the wet roads should make it an epic.

Pogačar is the favourite but it won't be a walk in the park given the amount of talent for hilly classics at the start line. Last year's winner Pidcock is the most likely to match him but I also the chances of Mohorič for this race, he is the gravel world champion after all.

So teams can also use their numbers to put UAE in trouble, Groupama especially have a really good team with Madouas, Martinez and Grègoire and Jumbo also have a really strong trio Valter, Kuss and Laporte. Daniel Martinez will also be one to watch after his performance in Algarve and so will Van Eetvelt.

UAE also have a few alternatives to Pogačar with Wellens, Hirschi and Del Toro who I will follow closely here.
 
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Even though the season has already started awhile ago, this feels the first big race of the season and the wet roads should make it an epic.

Pogačar is the favourite but it won't be a wlk in the park given the amount of talent for hilly classics at the start line. Last year's winner Pidcock is the most likely to match him but I also the chances of Mohorič for this race, he is the gravel world champion after all.

So teams can also use their numbers to put UAE in trouble, Groupama especially have a really good team with Madouas, Martinez and Grègoire and Jumbo also have a really strong trio Valter, Kuss and Laporte. Daniel Martinez will also be one to watch after his performance in Algarve.

UAE also have a few alternatives to Pogačar with Wellens, Hirschi and Del Toro who I will follow closely here.

I actually think it will be a walk in the park. I don't understand how the bookmakers are willing to give 80 % in return for a sure bet.
 
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With the new design and the longer distance the question is where the race will break open. The Monte Sante Marie, where the decisive attack happened in the previous two editions, is now 74 km before the finish. The final will start there, but it's too early to go solo.

The combination Pinzuto-Tolfe now appears twice: 49-43 and 19-13 km before the finish. The first time would be the distance where Pogacar and Pidcock launched there solo attack, but more likely it will lead to a select group of favorites. A strong team might still keep two pawns in the game. The final ascent of the Tolfe is the best place to attack for an explosive rider.

If there's still a leading group in the final 12 km it will be decided by tactics or by an uphill sprint. The obvious favorite is Pogacar, but it's only his first racing day. He will face opposition from last year's winner Pidcock and gravel world champion Mohoric. EF has several cards to play as well. Soudal-Q remains a big question.
 
Sagan never winning this race is another one of those weird holes in his palmares. The guy was super successful, yet there are so many races tailor made for him he could never win.
I think calling Strade Bianche tailor made for Sagan is a huge stretch.

The only 2 big races I'd consider super well suited to Sagan that he never won would be Sanremo and Amstel
 
When is that picture from? Quite an old kit - from before he even joined the conti-team - kit he's wearing.
The ultimate "Hey, guys. Let me join your team! See... I already got the (older) kit!" move?
This is from 2021. At that time Lenny was indeed not yet in their team, but he was part of their structure. Despite not having an official junior team, FDJ often sponsors juniors with gear and equipment. Lenny Martinez, Eddy Le Huitouze and Titouan Fontaine in the past, Baptiste Gregoire (younger brother of Romain) now. You can even find Vlad Van Mechelen in FDJ gear, despite obviously never making it to an official FDJ team.
 

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