With Trek Italia sponsoring the following day’s Gran Fondo Strade Bianche, Cancellara and his Trek-Segafredo teammates are also set to ride with the expected thousand participants of the sportive event.
Cancellara won the Strade Bianche race in 2008 and 2012. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) won the 2015 race after beating Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) into the final corner before the finish in central Siena. Cancellara was only 19th then but is looking for a third win this year.
"On March 5 I’ll try to win Strade Bianche for a third time and then on March 6th I’ll be with Trek Italia at the start of the Gran Fondo and I’ll try to ride will you. Train hard because I’ll be there…" Cancellara joked in a press release from race organiser RCS Sport confirming his presence.
"The Strade Bianche weekend is one of my favourite weekends in the spring. It’s one of the races I really look forward to. I think it’s great that amateur riders can enjoy the same experience as the pros because the scenery is just stunning. Trek Italy is committed to the Gran Fondo and this year we will also take the start of the Grand Fondo, which will be quite special for us."
The WorldTour teams in this year's race are: AG2R-La Mondiale, Astana Pro Team, BMC Racing, Etixx-QuickStep, Lampre-Merida, Lotto Soudal, Movistar Team, Orica-GreenEdge, LottoNL-Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff, andTrek-Segafredo.
Also amongst the 18 teams invited are Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, Bardiani CSF, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, Nippo-Vini Fantini, Southeast, and Team Novo Nordisk.
Inaugural event in the new women’s WorldTour
This year’s Strade Bianche weekend will see the second edition of the women’s race on the Saturday morning, with the tough 121km route - with seven sectors of dirt roads - the first race in the inaugural women’s WorldTour series created by the UCI.
The men’s race is over 176km and includes nine sectors of dirt roads. Both races start and finish in Siena, with the finish in the stunning Piazza del Campo that also hosts the historic Palio horse race.
Sunday’s Gran Fondo Strade Bianche offers two routes over 124km and 87km. The long route is virtually the same as the women’s race, with a mix of short climbs and descents through the Chianti vineyards south of Siena. The dirt road sectors include both climbs and descents with views across southern Tuscany.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage from Strade Bianche, with a race report, photo gallery and exclusive interviews.