The Five Strade Bianche Favorites

2019 Strade Bianche gravel

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Strade Bianche will be the first big one-day race back after the COVID-19 break and the top cycling stars are itching to show themselves. There are many to choose from — Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) to Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling), who is coming back from a broken leg.

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The race covers 184 kilometers, 63 kilometers on gravel roads south of Siena in the hot Tuscan hills. The WorldTour event suits classics riders with a bit of climbing punch in their legs, which is why we went with the following five.

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

The Dutchman never has ridden the Italian race, but clearly has technical skills with multiple mountain bike and cyclo-cross titles. He can also climb, just this week he was recording Strava KOMs in the Alps while training with his team. Like many, this will be his first race back and he is eager to make his mark immediately.

2. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling)

Like everyone else, the Canadian has been siting out since mid-March but unlike the others, he has been recovering from a broken leg suffered from a crash in Paris-Nice. Woods is back to top shape, he won a stage of the virtual Tour de France and has been putting in the miles on the gravel roads around his base in Girona, Spain. Now, Strade Bianche will offer Woods a chance to see if he is not only virtually back at the top but in reality, and on some of the toughest roads in WorldTour racing.

3. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

It is hard not to select the Frenchman, who will be defending his title and backed by the strongest classics team over the last two decades: Deceuninck-Quick Step. The team will include 2015 winner Zdenek Stybar and workhorses of the pedigree you would see on the roads to Roubaix. Alaphilippe has raced around 2600km before the COVID stop, but had not won yet. Could Saturday be his first of 2020?

4. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team)

Isn't it about time the Belgian wins Strade Bianche? He finished second twice and sixth to Alaphilippe last year. Expect good things from Golden Greg because the pressure is on with CCC needing a sponsor and AG2R is waiting in the wings to sign the Olympic star. He will bring the hard-man Belgian spirit that is required for Strade Bianche that could finally net him a win.

5. Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

Like Woods, Van Aert is still coming back from a leg injury. He suffered a deep cut in last year's Tour de France and has only raced once since, the 200km Omloop Het Nieuwsblad before COVID took hold. Based on his ride and recent conversations, it appears that he already made his full recovery. So will the third time be the charm for Van Aert? The last two editions, he finished third. With his cyclo-cross skills and now with experience,, he could top the podium in 2020.

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Organizers of the 2020 BinckBank Tour have called off all Dutch stages of the international road cycling race following new measures taken by the Dutch government to fight Covid-19.

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The 2020 Giro d’Italia is days away from beginning the second half of this jam-packed, exceptional racing season. Riders are facing the unknown, with very little recovery time, and isolation from family and friends in order to race. Limited access to the riders, empty finish lines, and scarce fans on roadsides have already made this season a historic one.

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The men’s 2020 World Championship road race will close the four days of elite competition in Imola, Italy. For some, it will be their first major competition since lockdown, while others will be arriving straight from France after a dramatic finish to the Tour de France. Who will have the advantage in Imola?

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The women’s 2020 racing season had only just begun before Covid-19 hit. Many of the riders had yet to race before being forced into quarantine with the rest of the pro peloton and the world. Now, after racing a short schedule -- Strade Bianche, La Course at the Tour de France and the Giro Rosa -- they face the Worlds road race.

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Kicking off with a 15.1 km time trial in Monreale on October 3rd, the 2020 Giro d'Italia is finally set to begin after a delay due to COVID-19. Notable riders that will participate in the race include Peter Sagan, 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates, 2-time Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali, and many more. The 21-stage race will begin in Sicily before moving to the mainland and concluding in Milan on October 25th, 2020.