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The special tech for Strade Bianche - Gallery

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Peter Sagan stayed wrapped up before the start

Peter Sagan stayed wrapped up before the start (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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This is an innovative way to list the sections of gravel roads

This is an innovative way to list the sections of gravel roads (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) did not seem convinced about racing in the rain

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) did not seem convinced about racing in the rain (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The chaos of a wet sign on

The chaos of a wet sign on (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Zdenek Stybar smiles as he chats to Michal Kwiatkowski

Zdenek Stybar smiles as he chats to Michal Kwiatkowski (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Greg van Avermaet (BMC) seemed happy to race in the rain

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) seemed happy to race in the rain (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Riders line up for the start in the pouring rain

Riders line up for the start in the pouring rain (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Marcus Burghardt wore these snug rubber overshoes

Marcus Burghardt wore these snug rubber overshoes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Peter Sagan stayed at the back of the peloton for the start

Peter Sagan stayed at the back of the peloton for the start (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The riders roll out as the rain pours

The riders roll out as the rain pours (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Ale' Cipollini riders show off their special Women's Day gloves

The Ale' Cipollini riders show off their special Women's Day gloves (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Pauline Ferrand-Prévot signs on

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot signs on (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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2017 Strade Bianche winner Elisa Longo Borghini

2017 Strade Bianche winner Elisa Longo Borghini (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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The women prepare to roll out

The women prepare to roll out (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Bernhard Eisel was wrapped up in a silver cape at the start

Bernhard Eisel was wrapped up in a silver cape at the start (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Former Strade Bianche winner Moreno Moser (Astana)

Former Strade Bianche winner Moreno Moser (Astana) (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is ready to race

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is ready to race (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) sign on

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) sign on (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)
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Taylor Phinney was upbeat for his season debut at Strade Bianche

Taylor Phinney was upbeat for his season debut at Strade Bianche (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Vincenzo Nibali wore this helmet cover

Vincenzo Nibali wore this helmet cover (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Many of the Canyon-SRAM team were on disc brakes

Many of the Canyon-SRAM team were on disc brakes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Shimano neutral service vehicles had these Pinarello bikes, some with disc brakes

The Shimano neutral service vehicles had these Pinarello bikes, some with disc brakes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert opted for a standard Stevens road bike with caliper brakes

Cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert opted for a standard Stevens road bike with caliper brakes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) has a special green Cervelo fitted with Chris King hubs

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) has a special green Cervelo fitted with Chris King hubs (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Bernhard Eisel has this negative angle stem to stay low

Bernhard Eisel has this negative angle stem to stay low (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Most of the Trek-Segafredo team opted for disc brakes

Most of the Trek-Segafredo team opted for disc brakes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Trek-Segafredo bikes have ShimanoDura-Ace disc brakes

The Trek-Segafredo bikes have ShimanoDura-Ace disc brakes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Rider rain bags were a vital piece of kit for Strade Bianche

Rider rain bags were a vital piece of kit for Strade Bianche (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Steven Kruijswijk rode a all-celeste Bianchi

Steven Kruijswijk rode a all-celeste Bianchi (Image credit: Jeff Jones in Kuurne, with additional reporting from Brecht Decaluwé)
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Quick-Step Floors opted for 26mm Specialized tyres

Quick-Step Floors opted for 26mm Specialized tyres (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Luke Durbridge's bike had these special Continental tyres

Luke Durbridge's bike had these special Continental tyres (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Luke Durbridge rode a Scott Foil

Luke Durbridge rode a Scott Foil (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Peter Sagan's gun metal Specialized Tarmac

Peter Sagan's gun metal Specialized Tarmac (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Team Sky Pinarello bikes were lined up in number order

The Team Sky Pinarello bikes were lined up in number order (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The BMC mechanics check the tyre pressure

The BMC mechanics check the tyre pressure (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Greg van Avermaet (BMC) was again on his special grey BMC bike

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) was again on his special grey BMC bike (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Movistar Canyon bikes

The Movistar Canyon bikes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The men set off for an epic day out at Strade Bianche

The men set off for an epic day out at Strade Bianche (Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)

Riders were greeted with grey skies and heavy rain at the start of Strade Bianche and yet many seemed to be relishing the conditions and a testing race in the mud. Riders were wrapped up in in jerseys, gilets, capes, leg warmers, helmet covers, gloves and overshoes but most opted to ride their standard road bikes fitted with low profile rims and wider tyres.

The team bus area was the usual chaos with late-comers forced to park on the kerb and quickly prepare the bikes. The team mechanics were focused on tyre pressure, using handheld electric or mechanical pumps to ensure each rider had the correct pressure front and back. Tyre choice was clearly important, with riders using 25mm, 26mm or even 28mm tyres.

Only a few riders in both the men's and women's races opted for disc brakes bikes, probably due to the risk of losing time if they are forced to wait for a bike change on the dirt roads when team cars are often blocked behind the lined out peloton. The Trek-Segafredo team were all on disc brakes, as they announced at the start of the season. Taylor Phinney also opted for disc for his season debut with EF Education Frist-Drapac but most other riders were on their usual bikes fitted with dual mount caliper brakes. Cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert opted for a standard Stevens road bike with caliper brakes.

Riders signed on together, with many coming to the podium early and then quickly returning to the warmth of team buses. Peter Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates were one of the last in the running order and the world champion turned up in a black rainbow jersey and cape. Sagan opted for his usual Specialized Tarmac fitted with Specialized 26mm tyres.

Click or swipe through the gallery above for a closer look at the bikes and gear for the 2018 Strade Bianche.