The eyes of the cycling world will turn to Italy in the coming two weeks with a series of high-profile events in the build-up to the first monument of the season, Milan-San Remo.
The action gets underway on Saturday with the evocative Strade Bianche, which brings the peloton over the dirt roads of Tuscany to a stirring finish in Siena’s Piazza dal Campo. Though just six years old, Strade Bianche is already becoming something of a classic, with a high-quality field on hand to try and wrest the title from Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard).
Cyclingnews will report live from Strade Bianche and you can read a preview of the race here.
The following day sees the return of the Giro del Lazio, resurrected by RCS Sport under the new title of Roma Maxima. Starting and finishing in Rome’s Forum, in the shadow of the Coliseum, few races are blessed with such a spectacular setting.
On March 6, the attention shifts to the stage racers, including Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, who all line up at Tirreno-Adriatico, before Milan-San Remo opens the classics season in earnest on March 17.
To whet appetites for the season ahead, RCS Sport have put together the following video, capturing the essence of their events, which of course also include the Giro d’Italia (May 4-26) and Il Lombardia (October 6.)