The idea of Wout Van Aert, with his three consecutive cyclocross world championship titles, lining up against Peter Sagan and his historic trio of road world championships was too much for Strade Bianche organizers to resist this year.
With expected bad weather, the course could suit technically strong riders like Sagan, Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet or Wout Van Aert. Alejandro Valverde, Michal Kwiatkowski, Philippe Gilbert and Vincenzo Nibali could be in the mix as well.
“I was perhaps more nervous for the press conference than for the race, which is actually stupid because as a cyclo-cross rider I also get a lot of attention and I have also given a lot of press conferences”, said Van Aert at the pre-race Strade Bianche press conference.
“I think this part of season is a big challenge and it’s a big experience to ride the Classics. I did all ‘cross season so difficult to be at my best level in every race but I accept the challenge and I want to learn a lot this spring,” he said.
“I think the Strade Bianche dirt roads suit me because of riding cyclo-cross but you still need to pedal hard, it’s still cycling despite what advantage I have. I think the weather will make it a special edition.”
“It’s the first time that I do the spring Classics, so it’s a dream come true to compete in this race. I’m happy to be at start of Strade Bianche and I’m looking forward do my best,”.
“My first road race last weekend went pretty well and so I hope to perform tomorrow. Let’s see what happens. I think racing is about who handles the conditions the best. We’ll have some special conditions and good technique on the bike will not be enough to get a result, you need to be in great shape too.”
“Winning will be super weird, it would come out of nowhere. I’ll try and if I can ride the finale, I’ll try my best,” he said.