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“I have already raced Strade Bianche several times and I must say that I really like it, it’s a really unique race. The terrain is close to my heart and if all goes to plan on the dirt roads I could do well again here.”

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ADAM BLYTHE

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DANIELE BENNATI

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JAY MCCARTHY

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MACIEJ BODNAR

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MANUEL BOARO

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OSCAR GATTO

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PETER SAGAN

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ROMAN KREUZIGER

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STRADE BIANCHE

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02.03.2016 @ 14:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The so-called Classics come in all different shapes and sizes, but one stands out from the crowd with its own uniqueness – Strade Bianche, with its now infamous Tuscan white gravel roads. This Saturday sees the 10th edition of the iconic one-day race in Siena, Italy, at which Tinkoff will arrive with a powerful line-up capable of results across the board.

Peter Sagan headlines the team at this race following a strong start to his European campaign in Belgium last weekend, taking second and seventh at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne respectively. The World Champion and twice runner-up at the race leads a strong eight-rider roster that includes two others who have both finished in the top ten at Strade Bianche before, in Oscar Gatto and Roman Kreuziger.

"It’s a pretty special race Strade Bianche, even though it doesn’t yet have the history of some of the other classics it is becoming an important race in the calendar,” explained Sport Director Patxi Vila. “It’s a nice objective for our team and we go into the race with a strong team led by Peter Sagan."

Joining Sagan, Gatto and Kreuziger is winner of a stage of the Ruta del Sol in February, Daniele Bennati, as well as 2016 Tour Down Under stage winner, Jay McCarthy. Adam Blythe, Maciej Bodnar and Manuele Boaro complete the team.

 

Peter Sagan gave his thoughts ahead of the race he’s flirted with victory at before, saying: “I have already raced Strade Bianche several times and I must say that I really like it, it’s a really unique race. The terrain is close to my heart and if all goes to plan on the dirt roads I could do well again here.”

 

Teammate Roman Kreuziger added: “The Strade Bianche is a demanding race because of the climbs as well as the tough gravel sectors. However, these aren't the only decisive parts. You have to be focused from the outset until you bring back the breakaway – you can't allow a breakaway to become too big because it will then become very difficult to control.”


He continued by saying: “You have to be attentive and prepared for anything during the entire five hours. Last year, the wind was a factor to take into consideration, and weather conditions could come into play again this year. Unlike other races, you can't relax, thinking you can hide in the first 100 kilometres and race afterwards. I consider it to be very good preparation for the big Classics, not only in terms of building your form but also on how you move inside the group and how you handle the small details."

 

The race, slightly shorter than last year’s edition, covers 176km and will start in the spectacular city of Siena for the first time before covering a total of nine sectors, totalling 52.8km, of the white gravel roads that symbolise this race. The first sector comes after just 11km meaning positioning and attention are vital from the off.

 

The riders that are left after battling through the dust storms and over the energy sapping, rolling Tuscan roads will have one final obstacle to tackle, with the traditional cobbled climb to the finish line in the centre of Siena. Previous editions have proved this a perfect launch pad from which to strike out for victory at this prestigious prelude to the Spring Classics.

 

Assessing the team’s chances for the race, Vila continued by saying: “Peter has shown previously that he can fight for the win here, and although it’s still early in the season he showed last weekend despite only just returning to racing from a period of training that he’s already in good shape. He will be supported here by riders who could also play their part in the outcome if the situation on the road changes, including Oscar Gatto and Roman Kreuziger."

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