Tomorrow is the day: the Strade Bianche kicks off the cycling year. Commentator Renaat Schotte looks ahead with us at the first classic of the redesigned season. “Race will cause scatter.”
Miners in the pack
On Saturday the Strade will be ridden in unprecedented circumstances. The weather is getting tropical and the gravel paths are bone dry.
“The Strade will probably be classic with an early escape. The riders have to take into account the heat, so they should not immediately shoot their powder.”
“Riders can prepare themselves perfectly for the heat, if they hydrate well. Most riders also have experience with that. A heat rider like Greg Van Avermaet will be happy to ride in an oven all day.”
“However, the dust conditions will be disproportionate. Because who is used to cycling in dust clouds? I don’t know if there are miners in the pack.”
“I am thinking, for example, of riders who wear lenses. It is a stupid detail, but a dust on your lenses can make you have to get off, because you do not see anything.”
“In addition, we have a very special story. We are immediately presented with a top match and nobody in the peloton has a preparatory race in the legs. Everyone comes up with the same information:” We have trained and what is the result now? “”
We are immediately presented with a top match, while nobody has a race in the legs.
An Olympic champion in top form
“If we can believe Van Avermaet’s Strava story, he has climbed about every mountain in the Alps. So we are going to deal with an Olympic champion in absolute top form. Wout van Aert also said that he climbs better than ever. “
On Saturday there are many Belgians on the list of favorites, but Renaat Schotte also sees a contender in Alberto Bettiol.
“He won the Tour of Flanders so beautifully last year. He is a child of the region. He may have set his sights on the first Italian races as a local hero.”
Mathieu van der Poel is also a logical candidate for the overall victory. “He is a rider who does not need a lot of competition to be there right away. We will have to look especially at that kind of drivers, because there are many who need some competition.”
“Outgoing winner Julian Alaphilippe they also have to drive off. He has that punch in the end, because that last climb is often overlooked. We all remember the iconic cramps that Van Aert got there.”
Course as scattering
There is a fear that the redesigned cycling year will also fall into the water. “I am realistic and I watch it from day to day. I have a very busy schedule to fill in that fall, but I also take into account that everything will go away. That is life as it is now.”
“But the race will mainly cause distraction. Like sports in general. We have to focus on that.”
“The riders have spontaneously set new goals after the announcement of the new calendar and now want to show themselves.”
“There will be drivers who will override anyway. We can have special scenarios or a wait and see course. It is difficult to say.”
I keep in mind that everything drops out. That is life as it is now.