Strade Bianche is the race of the white roads. This year they could be even whiter, as of today they’re covered in snow. The race organisers are confident that the snow will be gone by Saturday, but it should mean that we’re on for a wet, cold, mucky race at the very least. With that in mind, it’ll be a race for the stronger, hardier sort of rider and may even suit three-time world cyclocross champion Wout Van Aert.
First run in 2007, recent winners of Strade Bianche have included three-time winner Fabian Cancellara, double winner Michal Kwiatkowski, former cyclocross champion Zdenek Stybar and former world champion Philippe Gilbert.
Strade Bianche 2018 Profile
Strade Bianche 2018 Contenders
The usual favourites Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Sagan will be racing Strade Bianche this year. Both are yet to win it so will want to change that. Double winner Michal Kiwatkowski will lead the Sky charge. He won in the muck last year so must have a good chance again this year. Fresh from a good start to the Classics season in Belgium, Philippe Gilbert will be a favourite. After riding without gloves in the frozen Le Samyn this week, he’ll be able to hand the conditions in Italy. His teammate Zdenek Stybar is a former winner here, his cyclocross background should give him a good shout in poor conditions.
Last year’s Giro winner Tom Dumoulin finished 5th here last year and is capable of repeating that. Triple cyclocross world champion Wout Van Aert is creating hype over his first few Worldtour level races. If conditions really deteriorate then it will play to his strengths. Perennial top 10 finished Sep Vanmarcke has finished 4th in Strade Bianche in the past and after his blast on the Kapelmuur seems to be in good form.
Tiesj Benoot is on the cusp of a big result, he finished 6th in the GC of San Juan this year so has some form – he finished 8th last year in Strade Bianche. Italian Diego Ulissi loves this sort of one day race and has a top 10 in this race before. Sky’s backup plan will be in the shape of their own Italian, Gianni Moscon. He’s finished in the top 20 in each of the last two years whilst working for Kwiatkowski. Another Italian Sonny Colbrelli is in excellent form after finishing 8th in Omloop and 3rd in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne last week. Belgian Jasper Stuyven managed a good 4th in Omloop het Nieuwsblad so could be in the mix at the end of Strade Bianche.
It was a mucky race in 2017 as well!
Strade Bianche 2018 Outsiders
Moreno Moser is a former winner of Strade Bianche, winning in 2013. He’s also won Trofeo Laigueglia this year so has the form to do well. Luke Durbridge had a great Spring classics season last year, including 6th in Strade Bianche. He had two average results in the first weekend of Spring this year though. Daniel Oss had to work for Greg Van Avermaet last year, this year he’ll be working for Peter Sagan. He’s strong enough to get a result if able to go it alone.
Sean de Bie will be Verandas Willems’ hope if Wout Van Aert isn’t able to deliver. He took 20th in Le Samyn this week and took a stage of the Etoile de Besseges on his way to 8th overall. Alexey Lutsenko won the Tour of Oman earlier in February to show off his good form. If able to cut loose he can get a good result, 4th in last year’s Dwars Door Vlaanderen being a good example. Helping out Van Avermaet will be Loic Vliegen, he managed 5th overall in this year’s Dubai Tour and 29th in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. He’ll be the backup option for BMC. Finally, Oscar Gatto can do well in these one-day races, with a 5th in last year’s Omloop a good example. He may end up as a helper to Lutsenko.
Strade Bianche 2018 Prediction
1 – Peter Sagan
2 – Wout Van Aert
3 – Greg Van Avermaet