Van der Poel: I expect an open battle at Strade Bianche

Mathieu van der Poel is one of the top favorites for Saturday’s Strade Bianche alongside Wout van Aert and world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

“I agree to a certain extent that people see me as one of the favorites, although I believe that the parcours fits slightly better to the real climbers,” Van der Poel said ahead of the race.

“On the other hand, Van Aert for example has already proven that also a Classics rider can win this race. But there will be a lot of strong contestants at the start. I expect an open battle.”

Van der Poel also made a point to clarify that he wasn’t feeling the need to “settle a score” after not achieving quite the results he’d hoped for last year.

“I don’t feel like I have unfinished business here after last year. My Italian program in general was a bit disappointing, but it’s not that I came back here to settle a score,” he said.

“I came here to perform well, and of course I hope to do better than in 2020.”

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