Strade Bianche 2015: Favourites

The Strade Bianche is a race for a special kind of specialists. The steep hills of Tuscany and the ten gravel strips require both steerage and climbing legs. Who are the main contenders in 2015?

Titleholder Michal Kwiatkowski is not at the start. He will be participating in Paris-Nice.

Peter Sagan
The man who is to bring classics success to Team Tinkoff-Saxo. In the 2014 edition, he was bested by Kwiatkowski, but a few weeks later he took revenge in the 3rd stage of the Tirreno at a similar arrival.

Alejandro Valverde
If you think of Strade Bianche as Liège–Bastogne–Liège plus gravel-sections, Valverde is definitely a man to watch. He is a two-time winner in Liège–Bastogne–Liège and was on the podium five times. Last year he finished third in Strade Bianche.

Sep Vanmarcke
The 26-year old Fleming approaches his best years. 2013 saw him finish second in Paris-Roubaix and last year he was fourth, while he was third in Flanders. Winning a classic is high on his 2015 bucket list. Strong in last week’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but punctured out at crucial moments.

Fabian Cancellara
Two-time winner of the Strade Bianche. Cancellara is not as strong as he used to be, but still a power to be reckoned with. Experience with his class and routine he’s still contender in this kind of classics. No lack of experience whatsoever with eight stage-wins in the Tour de France en he is triple winner of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.

Lars Boom
As multiple World Champion cyclo-cross, Boom fancies the gravel-sections and as a former winner of the Eneco Tour he is not afraid of short steep climbs. Further arguing in favour of the cobble-stage winner in the 2014 Tour, is the fact Astana recruited him as their man for the spring classics.

Other riders to watch: Simon Gerrans, Roman Kreuziger, Greg Van Avermaet, Damiano Cunego, Vincenzo Nibali and Zdeněk Štybar.

Watch the highlights of recent races here:
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