Women’s Strade Bianche 2019 Preview – Tips, Contenders, Profile
Strade Bianche is a new-ish race on the men’s calendar but has had even less editions on the women’s calendar. First run in 2015, the Women’s Strade Bianche has had 4 different winners in 4 years so far and 3 different riders have each finished on the podium 3 times. Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini won’t be racing Strade Bianche in 2019 so we should see a shake-up in the final positions. 2015 winner Megan Guarnier also won’t be racing either.
Women’s Strade Bianche 2019 Profile
Women’s Strade Bianche 2019 Contenders
Mitchelton-Scott have a strong trident of riders that all stand a good chance. Their obvious first choice is Annemiek Van Vleuten. It’s a race that she hasn’t won before, but has a 5th, 7th and 9th – odds are she’ll keep that odd number progression and finish 1st or 3rd in 2019. It’s not necessarily a race perfectly suited for her but because she’s so strong, she’ll always be a contender. She’ll be backed up by the Australian pair of Amanda Spratt and Lucy Kennedy. Both have done well in Strade Bianche before, with 3 top-10 finishes between them. Depending on how the race plays out, they will either end up supporting Van Vleuten for a high finish or find themselves in the situation where they can do their own race.
Boels Dolmans have their own strong pair in Anna Van Der Breggen and Chantal Blaak. World Champion Van Der Breggen is a former winner of Strade Bianche and has finished 5th twice. She finished 11th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend as she found herself not having to work in the pack. Chantal Blaak was the one who managed to stay away from the chasing pack as she won by just over a minute at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. She’s also managed to finish 11th at this week’s Le Samyn. Clearly in form, she’ll be hoping to improve on her Strade Bianche best of 4th place.
Sunweb have a triumvirate of their own in Lucinda Brand, Coryn Rivera and Janneke Ensing. Lucinda Brand and Ensing are probably the ones in with the best shot as it’s not a sprint finish and both have performed significantly better here in the past. Brand and Ensing finished 38th and 22nd in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad but Janneke Ensing was able to finish 5th Overall at the recent Setmana Valenciana. Both are definitely capable of a top-10 finish, with a clear leader probably becoming apparent during the race.
It’s hard to ignore the results of Canyon SRAM’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma at Strade Bianche, she’s finished 2nd in 3 races. Hopefully like Chantal Blaak who had a similar record at Omloop, she’ll be able to finally reach the top step of the podium. She’ll be supported by one of the home favourites in Elena Cecchini who has 2 top-10 finishes in Strade Bianche. She’s a bit more of a sprinter so may lose out to others on the final climb but 12th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad shows form.
CCC-Liv have former World, European and Olympic champion Marianne Vos in their line-up. She’s only done Strade Bianche once and finished 17th but you can never rule her out. This will be her first race of 2019, so may not have the racing legs yet. They also have Ashleigh Moolman who has been racing a fair amount in 2019 already. She finished 3rd Overall in Setmana Valenciana and finished in the lead pack at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last week in 24th place. She’s got better finishes in Strade Bianche too with a best placing of 4th.
Movistar’s Malgorazata Jasinska is a contender after finishing 7th in Le Samyn this week. She will be hoping to improve on a best placing of 13th in Strade Bianche though. Marta Bastianelli is in cracking form, having finished 2nd in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and winning Omloop Van Het Hageland last weekend. She followed that up with an 8th at Le Samyn this week too. Clearly in good form, she’s never broken into the top-10 at Strade Bianche but the way things are going for her, this will change in 2019.
FDJ’s hope will be Shara Gillow, who has had a reasonable start to the season with 15th Overall in Setmana Valenciana. She struggled in last year’s Strade Bianche quagmire, finishing outside of the time limit but she finished 6th in the drier 2017 edition. Finally, Bigla have Dane Cecile Uttrup Ludwig as their big hope. She has finished 9th and 10th in her only Strade Bianche races, 4 consistent top-20 stage finishes at Setmana Valenciana showed that she can race well on a variety of parcours, she may have to lose others and winning solo is her best chance.
Women’s Strade Bianche 2019 Outsiders
TIBCO-SVB’s Alison Jackson hasn’t done this race before but started the 2019 season in great form in Australia with 6 top-10 finishes in 7 stages. The one time she didn’t finish in the top-10, she was only 13th. With that sort of consistency and form, she could transfer that over to the European season. Movistar’s other hope is French champion Aude Biannic who finished 7th in last weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. She finished 34th in her only race at Strade Bianche but her form should see her improve on this in 2019.
WNT-Rotor have the combiantion of Italian Lara Vieceli and Dutch rider Aafke Soet. Vieceli has a previous finish of 54th in Strade Bianche but has 2 top-15 finishes in a couple of the Spanish races earlier this season. Aafke Soet is a young rider I’m expecting to breakout after a strong 2018. She’s never raced Strade Bianche before so should be considered a long-shot who may come good.
Women’s Strade Bianche 2019 Prediction
1 – Chantal Blaak
2 – Katarzyna Niewiadoma
3 – Marta Bastianelli