Julian Alaphilippe will lead the team at the fifth World Tour race of the season.

This year’s Strade Bianche comes with more kilometers, more demanding gravel sectors and more kilometers of dirt roads than ever before – turning it into the hardest edition so far, one which due to the presence of that extra loop around Siena could be more attritional.

For the first time since it was created in 2007, Strade Bianche will go over the 200km barrier, and this will lead to around five hours in the saddle, a change that has the potential to alter the entire dynamic and how it will be raced on Saturday. A total of 15 white roads sectors are on the menu of the 215km-long 18th edition, including the Monte Sante Marie, Colle Pinzuto, and Le Toffe, old acquaintances which are expected to play an important role in the outcome. Once all these have been cleared, one more obstacle remains for the riders: the steep climb on Via Santa Caterina – with its 16% maximum gradients coming with just 500 meters before the finish in the beautiful Piazza del Campo.

To this day the only Frenchman to have won Strade Bianche, Julian Alaphilippe will be at the start of the Italian World Tour race for the sixth consecutive year. Joining him on the Soudal Quick-Step line-up for Saturday will be Kasper Asgreen – who took an impressive podium in 2022 – Josef Cerny, Pieter Serry, Mauri Vansevenant, but also two neo-pros: Antoine Huby and Paul Magnier, the latter being one of the surprises of the season, with two victories already under his belt.

“We are motivated for what is one of the most beautiful races of the year. Julian and Kasper are two riders who between them have finished three times on the podium here, while for the young guys on the team it will be a good opportunity to gain some experience. The course has changed and it will be harder than in the past, but we hope for a good result at the end of the day”, said sports director Davide Bramati.


Photo credit: ©Wout Beel

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