Italian team's young stars ready for Tuscan gravel roads
Having won Thursday's G.P. Camaiore from a 12-man lead group, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) seems to be fully recovered from the bout of bronchitis which forced him to drop out of the Tour of Oman after four stages. The 23-year-old Slovakian, who's already won three races this season with two stage wins in Oman prior to victory in Italy at the G.P. Camaiore, now sets his sites on Saturday's Strade Bianche and its 188km of Tuscan hills and iconic white gravel roads.
Sagan made his Strade Bianche debut in 2012 and finished an unassuming 26th place amongst the gruppetto which crossed the line 7:50 in arrears of Fabian Cancellara, winner for the second time in his career. The Slovakian road champion, however, is keen to add the Italian one-day classic to his ever growing palmares.
"The Strade Bianche has attracted me since the first time I raced," said Sagan. "The win in Camaiore now gives me a big boost of confidence to go after an important result this weekend. But I also know that a lot of champions target this race and there will be some tough competition.
"My approach is to not think too much and to see what will happen during the race."
The Cannondale team can look to another young star for Strade Bianche in 22-year-old Moreno Moser, who finished in the lead group at Camaiore and played a role in Sagan's victory. Moser, too, made his Strade Bianche debut in 2012 and finished in the same time as Sagan in 52nd place. The young Italian made quite a mark in 2012, his debut season at the WorldTour level in which he won two stages and the overall at the Tour of Poland, two one-day victories at Trofeo Laigueglia and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, plus a second place finish at the GP de Montreal.
"I have good memories of the Strade Bianche: its beauty and its difficulty," said Moser. "I'm looking forward to trying it again because I like this race and it intrigues me. I have one year of experience behind me and my only goal is to see how much I can improve. I can't and I don't want to guess about the final result. I only want to do my best and achieve the same."
"Sagan and Moser are two important riders," said Cannondale directeur sportif Mario Scirea. "And they have the possibility to do well. Both were strong at the GP of Camaiore but the Strade Bianche is a particular race. For sure we will try to be as competitive as we can."
Cannondale line-up for Strade Bianche: Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita), Kristijan Koren (Slo), Moreno Moser (Ita), Maciej Paterski (Po), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), Peter Sagan (Svk), Brian Vandborg (Den)
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