Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Strade Bianche
Former winners Philippe Gilbert and Zdenek Stybar will headline our squad for the 12th edition of the Italian one-day race.
Famous for its dirt roads, rolling hills, picturesque landscapes and one of the best finish venues in the sport, Strade Bianche has turned into an instant classic ever since its inception, despite being one of the newest races on the block. With a terrain mixing gravel sectors and undulating roads, the Italian race showed that it's open for the taking for both Classics specialists and climbers, going down every year as one of the finest and most spectacular events of the season.
The fourth World Tour stop of 2018, Strade Bianche will see the peloton set out on Saturday morning from Siena's Piazza della Liberta and head into the countryside for a 184km-long route that includes 11 gravel sectors – many of which have double-digit gradients – totaling 62 kilometers. After leaving all these sterrate behind, the riders will have to overcome one final hurdle, the steep climb leading to the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo, one of Europe's greatest medieval squares, renowned for hosting the Palio twice a year.
Philippe Gilbert, runner-up this week in a thrilling edition of Le Samyn, and Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar will lead the charge for Quick-Step Floors at Strade Bianche, where the two former winners will be joined by Eros Capecchi, Fernando Gaviria, Iljo Keisse, Maximilian Schachmann – who comes after two solid displays at last weekend's Classic Sud-Ardèche and Drôme Classic – and Pieter Serry.
A protagonist at the previous four editions, our squad will look to shape again the race and be in the mix for a resounding victory, as sports director Davide Bramati underlined: "We make no secret of the fact that we have several guys capable of winning on Saturday, but it won't be easy, because there's a star-studded field out there, with many strong riders all wanting the top prize. Unlike other years, the weather could play a bigger role this time, as we expect low temperatures and rain during the race, but we'll do our best to kick-start the month of March on the right foot."
Photo: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images