For the Strade Bianche, we gathered our Sporza jury of cycling connoisseurs again to hand out stars. Who do they expect the most from?
3 stars: 2 riders who have not yet won the Strade
Mathieu van der Poel is at the start of the Strade Bianche for the first time, but that does not alter the fact that he is immediately bombarded as a top favorite. Only Michel Wuyts and Ruben Van Gucht do not give 3 but 2 stars to the Dutchman.
Besides Van der Poel, we find a usual suspect with Greg Van Avermaet, even though he was unable to win the race in his previous 9 entries. 10th good time for Van Avermaet?
2 stars: last 2 winners and Van Aert
In the men with 2 stars we find with Julian Alaphilippe and Tiesj Benoot the last 2 names on the honors list. Benoot won 2 years ago in completely different circumstances than today, but he has already proved in the past that he can show very well with few competition kilometers in the legs.
Wout van Aert also deserves his place in this trio in recent years based on his achievements. In the editions of Alaphilippe and Benoot he always became 3rd and now he says he feels “better than ever”.
1 star: the climber types
In the collection of riders with 1 star behind their name, we mainly find climbers who are also good at one-day work. Like Jakob Fuglsang, the number 2 of last year who would later win Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
With Kwiatkowski we find a 3rd ex-winner. The Pool won in both 2014 and 2017. Pogacar, Schachmann and Teuns have a lot less experience in the Strade. For Teuns it is even his debut in the game.