This week we have the white roads of the Strade Bianche, the start of Paris Nice, and the indoor Track World Championships.
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Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show - this week we hit the beautiful white gravel roads in the rolling hills of Tuscany for the men’s and women’s Strade Bianche, we head a bit further north to France for a cold start to Paris-Nice, further north still for the Belgian semi classics Le Samyn and Dwars Door West Vlaanderen, and then even further north for the UCI Track World Championships.
What do A World Road Champion, a world Cyclo Cross champion, the world time trial champion, an Olympic champion, and a Grand Tour winner all have in common? They all start Strade Bianche with the aim of winning.
It’s one of the many characteristics that have made this race so popular, so quickly, amongst riders and fans alike - after all, it’s easy to forget that this is just the 12th running of the event. And what an edition this was, the beast from the east brought snow and freezing temperatures to Tuscany, but with the mud instead of the dust on the white gravel roads, we were gifted some of the most iconic images that the sport has seen in a long time.
In the men’s race, live pictures began as a select group prized itself away from the front of the field, including double winner Michal Kwiatkowski and Alejandro Valverde. At least that was our best guess, it was quite hard to recognise anybody with the mud covered jerseys and faces.
One man who had to bridge across to the front group was Tour de France runner up Romain Bardet, and the Frenchman wasted no time sitting in the wheels before he was off again, attacking off the front of the race. And who would join him? None other than World Cyclo Cross Champion Wout Van Aert. In many respects, it was a case of two worlds colliding. One man who specialises in an hour of intense off road racing, with another who specialises in long mountain climbs and consistency over three weeks of racing.
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Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto / http://www.bettiniphoto.net/
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