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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 5, 2021

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Amanda Spratt to lead Team BikeExchange line-up at Strade Bianche

The team sent me this:

Experienced 33-year-old Amanda Spratt will lead a strong Team BikeExchange squad at the 7th edition of the women’s Strade Bianche this Saturday, alongside new 2021 signing Ane Santesteban, who makes her debut in Team BikeExchange colours.

Amanda Spratt

Amanda Spratt winning the second stage of the 2020 Tour Down Under.

The six-rider team boast diverse talent with Clasica San Sebastian winner Lucy Kennedy and newly crowned New Zealand Champion Georgia Williams, both making their first appearance of the season in Europe, whilst Dutch compatriots Janneke Ensing and Moniek Tenniglo bring-in the horsepower.

A twisty and undulating 136km course features 8 sectors which adds up to a total of 31.4km of gravel roads (23.1% of the course). There are no particularly long climbs to speak of, but with an abundance of punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved sections, it is one of the harder women’s one-day races on the WorldTour calendar.

Team BikeExchange Women at Strade Bianche:
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)
Moniek Tenniglo (NED)
Georgia Williams (NZL)

Amanda Spratt:
“I’m really excited to be at the start of Strade Bianche. For sure, it’s one of my favourite races on the calendar and it’s always so epic and iconic with the gravel roads. We are going there with a strong team and I will race for the first time with Ane Santesteban. Lucy Kennedy will have her first race in Europe coming back in from Australia with Georgia Williams, the new, New Zealand road race champion.

“My shape is good, and I think it was good to start with such a tough race as Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and I’m happy to have that in the legs before Strade.

“If I have to point out some tricky sections I would say the San Martino in Grania sector with 9,5km of gravel, which is often wind and dangerous. Of course, the weather time can affect the race a lot”.

Alejandro Gonzalez-Tablas - Sport Director:
“At Strade the goal is to have a strong start of the season. The riders have been training very hard during the winter and they already have some experience of the route, which is exactly the same as the previous year, and the riders know well where they have to be aware of dangers and aware of possible breakaways.

“Amanda will be our leader, but we have a very strong group who give us more opportunities. Both Lucy and Janneke have been top-10 in the past and also Ane did very well in this race previously.”

Team Qhubeka-Assos previews Strade Bianche

The team sent me this release:

Team Qhubeka-Assos will take the start of the famous Strade Bianche on Saturday. The famous Italian UCI World Tour single day classic will be run over 184km around the Siena countryside, including numerous white gravel road sectors.

Strade Bianche, one of the most exciting one-day classics of the season, will see the UCI World Tour peloton descend upon the dusty white roads around Siena, for the 184km Strade Bianche.

At last year's edition of the race, which took place under very different circumstances in August, due to Covid-19, Michael Gogl brilliantly fought his way to a 9th place finish. Our Austrian specialist has been eagerly awaiting his chance to return & lead our team on the white Tuscan roads.

Michael Gogl

Michael Gogl going fast earlier this year at the Besseges stage race.

Simon Clarke, our Australian road captain who showed his strong form at the Royal Bernard Drome Classic with a 5th place finish last week, will no doubt be calling upon his years of experience and the memory of finishing 8th in the 2019 edition of Strade Bianche, to get the best result possible for Team Qhubeka ASSOS on Saturday.

Another previous top 10 finisher of Strade Bianche, Robert Power, will be joined by fellow teammates Bert-Jan Lindeman, Emil Vinjebo, Mauro Schmid, Karel Vacek as they look to support Gogl and Clarke in what should be an incredible race on Saturday.

Michael Gogl:
I think we have a really strong squad here for the race and as a team we have also shown some strong performances in the last races. I am really looking forward to Saturday and am super motivated after a strong Strade Bianche last year. I have been preparing really hard and well for this race, so I definitely feel ready. Of course in a race like this you need to have some luck or at least no bad luck because that can influence the race a lot, punctures, mechanical's etc. so we hope for the best and look forward to Saturday.

Simon Clarke:
Strade Bianche is by far my favourite race of the whole year so I'm super excited for this weekend. Doing it with a new team on new equipment and so far, so good. I am looking forward to attacking it on Saturday, we have a great team here with Michael Gogl also in great form so looking forward to working closely with him and trying to take home a good result for the team.

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step headed to Strade Bianche

Here's the team's announcement:

Saturday schedules the 15th edition of Strade Bianche, whose white roads caked in dust and dirt have made for some vintage racing in the years that have passed since the race was created. With 63 kilometers of gravel roads divided across 11 sectors and the breathtaking Tuscan countryside as background, the 184km-long World Tour event promises not to disappoint also this year, when it will once again test the riders’ tactical acumen, climbing abilities and handling skills.

In 2019, Julian Alaphilippe arrived victorious in the stunning Piazza del Campo, a feat that four years earlier had been achieved by his teammate Zdenek Stybar. Both will be in Siena this weekend at the start of the spectacular one-day race, where they will be joined by Strade Bianche first-timer João Almeida, Danish Champion Kasper Asgreen, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Davide Ballerini, Dries Devenyns and Pieter Serry.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe wins in 2019. Sirotti photo

“We love Strade Bianche, we won it several times in the past and we’re always glad when we’re at the start of this great race which has it all. The parcours, same like last year, is a hard one and there are many favourites, so it won’t be easy, but we’ll try to be again among the protagonists. The team is a strong one, we have more than one option and we hope to be there in the key moments of the race”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Davide Bramati.

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