Cancellara, Sagan and Evans favourites to win on the dirt roads
The Strade Bianche race began under blue skies in the village of Giaole in Chianti, with all 111 riders on the start list rolling out to face the 188km of racing, 57 of which are on the spectacular dirt roads.
The riders seemed happy to feel the warmth of the Tuscan sun on their faces after the cold in Belgium last weekend. However a strong wind was blowing and will be a factor in the race, when the riders ride across the hilltops.
Amongst the big-names in action are 2012 winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), Omloop Het Nieuwslbad winner Luca Paolini (Katusha), Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), Peter Sagan and Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Tom Slagter (Blanco Pro Cycling), Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), Alejandro Valverde and (Movistar).