So my blogs are going to look a little bit different this year. Now I’m not racing myself we thought it would be cool for me to write from a different perspective and do some pre race previews.
The first UCI Women’s World Tour race of 2019 is the prestigious Strade Bianche- the white roads classic! This is the women’s 5th year of having this race in the calendar & is one of my personal favourites. The race is 136 kilometres long, racing from Siena to Siena with 30 kilometres on gravel roads.
The finale is at the illustrious Piazza del Campo after a short and steep climb which has always been the deciding factor of the race. The race requires strength, race craft & the ability to ride over gravel on all terrains. The winner of this race is always a worthy one & in fine form for the beginning of the season!
Last years winner was Anna Van Der Breggen who went on to win multiple races topping her season off with winning the ultimate World road race championships. 2nd was Kasia Niewiadoma & 3rd Elisa Longo Borghini. The race is generally most critical before each gravel section with riders wanting to be in the best position possible to allow themselves to avoid crashes and make sure they are in contention to follow any attacks.
I also believe you have to have luck on your side in a race like Strade with so many gravel sections, puncturing or a crash is more likely so will always make for a super exciting race.
I spoke to Annemiek van Vleuten who said –
“Last year was first of all a big battle against the extreme weather. And the race has a beautiful but really hard final which I really like. The race has some steep climbing, of course the off-road sections and sometimes also a lot of wind and rain so I guess you have to be able to handle this.”
Anna started the 2019 season with MTB racing which lends itself perfectly to this race. There are so many different places to attack with multiple climbs, gravel sections and twisty roads, I cannot wait to see how it pans out this year.
It’s hard for me to predict a winner of the race, with it being the first women’s world tour race of the season but what I can guarantee is that the winner will be hugely deserving.
I’m going to put my neck on the line and go for the top 3 being:
1. Anna Van Der Breggen
2. Amanda Spratt
3. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
Make sure you follow @voxwomen on twitter as they will be bringing the race coverage to you, watch this prestigious race unfold. Tweet your predictions of who you think the top 3 will be, by tagging them @voxwomen.
Good luck to all riders racing on Saturday, Dani!