Sagan, Cancellara, Phinney and Nibali headline Strade Bianche

RCS Sport announce provisional starters for Italian classic

RCS Sport announced the 18 teams invited to the Strade Bianche over the weekend, and added to that each team's headlining riders that will take to the start line on March 5. Headliners include world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Taylor Phinney (BMC) and defending champion Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep).

The 176km race will start and finish in Siena, and includes nine sectors of white gravel roads totalling 52.8km, where the world-class field will race through for the top honour. Sagan will hope to improve on his second-place performance in 2014 while Cancellara will look for a third victory after winning the 2008 and 2012 editions.

BMC's Greg Van Avermaet, who placed second to Stybar last year, will also be in the running for a victory. BMC will also start Phinney, who is back from a longterm injury sustained in 2014. One can never count out Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who has placed third in the 2014 and 2015 editions, and has recently shown top form after winning Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol.

Tour of Oman winner Nibali will no doubt want a victory in his home race, while Team Sky’s Mikel Landa and Orica-GreenEdge’s Esteban Chaves will challenge the specialists over the sectors of dirt roads.

UCI WorldTour teams

Ag2R La Mondiale - JanBakelants, Christophe Riblon

Astana Pro Team - Vincenzo Nibali, Diego Rosa

BMC Racing Team - Greg Van Avermaet, Taylor Phinney

Etixx - QuickStep - Zdenek Štybar, Tony Martin

Lampre - Merida - Diego Ulissi, Sacha Modolo

Lotto Soudal - Maxime Monfort, Bart De Clercq

Movistar Team - Alejandro Valverde, Giovanni Visconti

Orica Greenedge - Esteban Chaves, Ruben Plaza

Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo – Robert Gesink, Enrico Battaglin

Team Sky – Mikel Landa, Wout Poels

Tinkoff - Peter Sagan, Daniele Bennati

Trek - Segafredo - Fabian Cancellara, Giacomo Nizzolo

UCI Professional Continental Teams

Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec - Mirko Selvaggi, Marco Bandiera

Bardiani CSF - Sonny Colbrelli, Francesco Bongiorno

CCC Sprandi Polkowice - Davide Rebellin, Maciej Paterski

Nippo - Vini Fantini - Damiano Cunego, Grega Bole

Southeast - Venezuela - Filippo Pozzato, Manuel Belletti

Team Novo Nordisk – Kevin De Mesmaeker, Andrea Peron

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