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Strade Bianche was officially cancelled on Thursday following the implementation of safety measures put in place Italian government to curb the spread of coronavirus. On Friday, RCS Sport announced that Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro di Sicilia have also been cancelled.
As is the case with Strade Bianche, RCS Sport hopes to find a place on the calendar for its cancelled races later in the season. But for the time being, we are left to imagine only what might have been.
Read on to see FloBikes' list of dark horses that might have shaken things up on the white Tuscan roads this Saturday.
Vincenzo Nibali has never won Strade Bianche but as we saw during his path to win the 2014 Tour de France, the Italian knows how to handle his bike over cobbles and gravel, beside his strength in the mountains.
Nibali began his season in Portugal at the Volta ao Algarve where he had a top 15 finish on GC. His followed that with a third place finish at the French classic Royal Bernard Drome over the weekend. He would have a strong team backing him, with neo-pro Quinn Simmons, Bauke Mollema, and Toms Skujinš all meant to be in attendance.
Mathieu van der Poel
It is easy to assume this multi-time World Cyclo-cross Champion would find the course for Strade Bianche to his advantage with so many gravel sections on tap. The young phenom made quite a splash in 2019 winning Amstel Gold along with a handful of other Classics. Van der Poel is a rider who can seemingly do it all, and we certainly hope that we will have another opportunity to see him let loose on the rolling mixed surface course.
The 2018 champion was slated to return for another round in 2020. Benoot's victory in the epic rainy edition of Strade Bianche will go down in modern classics history. Benoot crossed the line caked in mud and beaming while Romain Bardet and Wout van Aert toiled up the final climb behind him. The weather in Sienna appeared to favor similar conditions in 2020. Here's to hoping the race is rescheduled in similar conditions this Fall.
The current American National Road Champion began her season in January winning the overall at the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. In an interview with FloBikes, Winder said she surprised even herself with the form she carried into 2020.
Last year Winder finished just outside the top ten in her second appearance at Strade Bianche. With Lucinda Brand and Lizzie Diegnan at her side, Trek-Segafredo would have many capable cards to play throughout the race.
Marianne Vos is never one to be counted out, and the gravel roads of Strade Bianche will only play to the favor of the multi-discipline world champion. Vos did not have success early in the season last year, but she came around to win Amstel Gold before dominating the Tour of Norway, Tour de Yorkshire, winning multiple stages at the Giro Rosa and La Course by Le Tour de France.
Vos may would have certainly been a factor this weekend, but should Strade Bianche be rescheduled later in the year, it may play even more to her favor as she prepares for the Olympics and the cyclocross season to follow.