Strade Bianche 2015: Favourites

Strade Bianche Favourite Sep VanmarckeThe 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? (Slideshow route/profile)

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.

Strade Bianche 2015: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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