Team Sky are ready to take on the unique challenge of Strade Bianche, with an exciting squad set to line up in Tuscany.
The team return with the defending champion in the line up following a rousing solo victory from Michal Kwiatkowski in 2017. The Pole is back again this year in a bid to win the WorldTour event (March 3) for a record-equalling third time.
Team Sky have a number of cards to play on the famed sectors of gravel road, with the race day forecast looking set to make the weather a big factor on the ride to Siena.
Three Italians will ride on home soil, with Gianni Moscon and Salvatore Puccio both impressing at the race in the past. Leonardo Basso continues his debut pro season in a support role.
Fresh from a strong Classics Opening Weekend in Belgium, Lukasz Wisniowski will hope to continue his momentum, with Michal Golas also on hand to back up compatriot Kwiatkowski. Owain Doull completes the seven-man team for his second start at the race.
It’s definitely a race where you need to be a bit lucky.
Following the team’s recon of the course, Sport Director Dario Cioni talked us through the squad selection and the conditions expected on race day.
He said: “We have a really good team here with a lot of strong guys coming off some good results. Kwiato won the race last year and starting with the number one on your back is always nice. He’s here to try to repeat that win. Together with Kwiato we also have Gianni, and you could consider this the first race towards the Classics for him. Lukasz had a really good weekend in Belgium, and with Salva, Golas and Owain we have some great support. Leonardo will also be getting his first experience of Strade Bianche.
“We did a recon of the course and there was a bit of snow around. It should be warmer over the weekend but it is very likely to be wet. It’s definitely a race where you need to be a bit lucky. It’s good to have a couple of really strong riders and cards to play. Kwiato and Gianni are contenders for the win and they have some really strong back up. It will be an exciting race.”