Strade Bianche to go ahead despite new Italian Lockdown
The one-day Italian classic is set to go ahead despite Siena, where the race is held, becoming a red zone. Peter Sagan will miss this year's race due to a positive COVID19 test
Italian officials have introduced measures to control what is now the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe.
There are strict quarantine restrictions in two northern "hotspot" regions close to Milan and Venice, in the Lombardy and Veneto regions.
This year’s edition serves as a reminder that Europe is not out of the woods just yet with regards to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus cases are increasing once more in Italy, with residents not allowed outside unless they have work or for medical reasons, with school closed, as well as non-essential shops.
Both the men’s and women’s editions of Strade Bianche are scheduled for this coming Saturday, March 6, and will go ahead as planned, unless the local authorities change their mind in the coming days.
Peter Sagan will not ride Strade Bianche on Saturday, preferring to delay his season debut until next week’s Tirreno-Adriatico.
The former three-time world champion, his brother Juraj and Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Erik Baška tested positive for COVID-19 in early February during a privately organised training camp in Gran Canaria.
They were obliged to quarantine for ten days under Spanish COVID-19 regulations, with the riders only allowed to do some core work while obliged to stay indoors. Sagan stayed in Gran Canaria to reboot his training but he and Bora-Hansgrohe realised there was little sense in starting his season on the dirt roads and steep climbs of Strade Bianche.
“Peter is on the way to recovery. He will not be taking part in Strade Bianche, with his season commencement planned for Tirreno-Adriatico, as long as his recovery remains on track over the coming days,” the Bora-Hansgrohe team told Cyclingnews. Emanuel Buchmann is now expected to lead Bora-Hansgrohe at Strade Bianche.
The men’s start lists for the race are still not certain but the usual big names are expected, including defending champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) as well as several exciting debutants including British rider, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers).
In the shorter women’s race, it is expected that the usual big names of Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx), Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram), Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo-Borghini (both Trek-Segafredo) will be on the start line in Siena.
Strade Bianche 2021 start list (men)
All 19 WorldTour teams are eligible to race, and six Wildcard teams have also been invited to complete the 184km in 2020.
VAN AVERMAET Greg
VAN HOECKE Gijs
Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux
Deceuninck – Quick-Step
Israel Start-Up Nation
VAN AERT Wout
VAN HOOYDONCK Nathan
VAN MOER Brent
SKJELMOSE JENSEN Mattias
VAN DER POEL Mathieu
Strade Bianche 2021 start list (women)
The 23 women’s teams taking on the 136km elite women’s course:
VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek
Team SD Worx
VAN DER BREGGEN Anna
Team Jumbo-Visma women team