02 March 2018

The Champions’ Prelude in Piazza del Campo, Siena

The press conference on the eve of the Strade Bianche NamedSport and the Strade Bianche Women Elite NamedSport, both UCI WorldTour Calendar races, featured the UCI Road World Champion, Peter Sagan, UCI Cyclocross World Champion, Wout Van Aert and last year’s winners, Michał Kwiatkowski and Elisa Longo Borghini, speaking in the breathtaking Palazzo Sansedoni – Fondazione Monte dei Paschi (the headquarters of the race), in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

 

Michał Kwiatkowski: “I’m really happy to be here as the winner of last year. There’s a little pressure for that reason but I’ve had a great winter in preparation and also done two stage races. I had some wonderful racing in the Algarve and a wonderful period over the last two weeks coming in to Strade Bianche. I have to be happy – even with weather. The conditions will make this edition unique. It’ll be a great race!
 

Elisa Longo Borghini: “I’m happy to be here because I won last year so it’s an honour to race on these roads again. I’m not at my best yet but it’d be nice to win another RCS organized race. For sure, the weather will be a factor: the temperatures will be low for our 9am start and there are a lot of strong teams here.

 

Peter Sagan: “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow but I don’t think the weather will be good. I’ve been training at altitude, so right now it’s difficult to understand how I’m going – I’ll probably need a few races, and I hope I don’t get ill like last year. The race strategy is difficult to work out so you have to decide during the race as the weather conditions are the same for everyone. There are about 200 riders and so 2000 different stories to be told during the race.

 

Wout Van Aert: “I’m happy to be at start of the Strade Bianche. It’s the first time I’ve done the spring Classics, so it’s a real dream come true to compete in this race. My first road race last weekend [Omloop Het Nieuwsblad] went pretty well and so I hope to perform tomorrow. I’m sitting between two great riders here [Peter Sagan and Michal Kwiatkowski] I’d never met until five minutes ago. It’s a big challenge to race them, although it’ll also be difficult after having completed the whole cyclo-cross season. The dirt roads of the Strade Bianche suit me well but I’ll still have to pedal hard. Winning will be super weird – it’d come out of nowhere. I’ll try and if I can contest the finale, I’ll give my best.