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Leader Van Aert defends title in Strade Bianche

Leader Van Aert defends title in Strade Bianche

Wout van Aert will defend his title in the Strade Bianche this Saturday. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma won this classic for the first time last summer after attacking on the final stretch of gravel. A few days later, almost the same team will ride the Tirreno-Adriatico.

Strade Bianche

This year the Strade Bianche will be held for the fifteenth time. The winding and undulating route of 184 kilometres course on the iconic ‘white roads’ has several short climbs and eleven gravel sections. These strips mean that more than a third of the race is run on dirt roads. The finish will be on the Piazza del Campo in the old center of Siena after a short stretch of sixteen percent.

"I think this is one of the strongest fields we will see in the coming year."

Wout van Aert

Team Jumbo-Visma will start with Van Aert as the absolute leader. The Belgian is looking forward to the start of his road season. “The Strade Bianche is one of the nicer races of the year in beautiful surroundings. During the altitude training camp in Tenerife I made good progress and that gives me a good feeling. Now it’s about focusing on Saturday, because with this strong field it is wise to keep an eye on several guys.”

Van Aert is supported by Robert Gesink, Chris Harper, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Paul Martens, Tobias Foss and Timo Roosen.

Sports director Arthur van Dongen: “The team has to protect Wout the whole day. He will lead the team together with Robert.” The gravel roads will split the peloton. “It will be a tough race. The course is tricky and there will be a lot of attacks. We do not want to be distracted by this and we have to try to maintain control of the race.”

Tirreno-Adriatico

Some days later, Team Jumbo-Visma will start during the Tirreno-Adriatico with almost the same line-up as during the Strade Bianche. Only Edoardo Affini will swap places with Chris Harper. Wout van Aert is again the leader.

The race consists of seven stages: an individual time trial, two flat sprint stages, three hilly stages and one real mountain stage. This mountain stage, the fourth stage, has a final climb of fourteen kilometeres at seven percent to Prati di Tivo.

“Our goal is to win this tour with Wout. But the course also offers opportunities to win one or more stages with him. Not only because Wout is a strong all-rounder, but also because at each finish there are many bonification seconds to be won in addition to the stage win.”

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Team Strade Bianche

Wout van Aert

Robert Gesink

Tobias Foss

Chris Harper

Nathan Van Hooydonck

Paul Martens

Timo Roosen

Team Tirreno-Adriatico

Wout van Aert

Tobias Foss

Robert Gesink

Nathan Van Hooydonck

Edoardo Affini

Paul Martens

Timo Roosen

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