On Saturday we swap out the cobblestones in Belgium with white gravel roads in Italy. Montepaschi Strade Bianche (former Eroica) is on the menu and I think that we for once will get an Italian winner. Let's take a look at the favorites:
|Gatto's stage win in the Giro last year.|
|Ballan on gravel roads.|
|Nibali in the rosa working for Basso|
on the muddy gravel roads in the Giro.
I could actually go on with Italian riders among the candidates to the win. Giovanni Visconti and Simone Ponzi come to mind, like Enrico Gasparotto and young Enrico Battaglin. If I should point out a few foreigners though I think I would go with Ryder Hesjedal who loves this race and the Spanish veteran Patxi Vila who is aiming big at Strade Bianche this season. Talking favorites it may be shameful to not mention Fabian Cancellara, but for Cancellara the goals are coming later in the season. I think Radioshack will try with youngster Tony Gallopin and sprinter Daniele Bennati.