Former winner Julian Alaphilippe leads the line for Soudal Quick-Step at the Italian World Tour one-day race.

It’s one of the best weekends of the year, and not just because March is finally here, but because Saturday schedules Strade Bianche, which will run its 17th edition. Starting from Siena’s Fortezza Medicea and concluding in the very heart of the city – the stunning Piazza del Campo, one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares – the Italian race will once again comprise eleven white roads sectors.

Montalcino, Monte Sante Marie and Colle Pinzuto, with their twisting roads and double-digit gradients, are just some of the places where the peloton is expected to be blown to pieces by those willing to make a move from the distance and set the race on fire before the last ascent of the day, Via Santa Caterina. Boasting a 16% gradient in the last 500 meters, this short but sharp hill is tailored to the puncheurs who still have the resources to make the difference after 184 kilometers.

Winner here at his debut in 2019, and already victorious this season, Julian Alaphilippe will be again at the start, surrounded by a strong team comprising Andrea Bagioli – a podium finisher last weekend at the Drôme Classic – Davide Ballerini, Dries Devenyns, Figueira Champions Classic victor Casper Pedersen, Pieter Serry and Mauri Vansevenant, the man who scored The Wolfpack’s 900th win, two weeks ago at the Tour of Oman.

“We love Strade Bianche, we know how hard and beautiful this race is, and we have a lot of motivation for Saturday. Having several riders who can do something on this course means that we can try different things, so we go into the race with the confidence that a good result is possible”, said Soudal Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.


Photo credit: ©Bruno Bade / Getty Images

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