Van der Breggen and Guarnier lead Boels Dolmans at Strade Bianche

Anna van der Breggen and Megan Guarnier will lead the Boels Dolmans team at Women's WorldTour opener Strade Bianche on Saturday.

The team has had a lot of success at the race with Guarnier winning the 2015 edition and Lizzie Deignan winning the race in 2016, although she will not be competing this time around.

The 2018 Women's WorldTour includes 23 races, three more than last year. Van der Breggen took five victories last year and the overall title with 1,016 points, ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten on 989 points and Katarzyna Niewiadoma 856 points in third place.

Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) won the Strade Bianche last year and will line up as the defending champion.

Van der Breggen aims to have a strong spring Classics, but more importantly has her sights set on winning the world title in Austria in September. Strade Bianche marks the start of her road season, but she recently won the Cyprus Sunshine Cup mountain bike solo event. At the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, she won stage 2 and placed second in stages 1 and 3, using the race as preparation for the white gravel roads of Strade Bianche.

"I felt in great shape during the climbs, so I could take some advantage there for the technical bits during the descents," Van der Breggen said. "The last stage was a cross country race with a couple of difficult downhill sections. I didn't take too much risk, because I'll be at the start of the Strade Bianche next week."

Van der Breggen and Guarnier will line up with a strong team that includes world champion Chantal Blaak, Christine Majerus, Jip van den Bos and Karol-Ann Canuel.

"I am really looking forward to Strade Bianche," said Guarnier, who is returning to the peloton after recovering from a broken jaw sustained in a crash at the World Championships in Bergen.

This year, Strade Bianche is nine kilometres longer, at 136km, and will feature eight gravel road sectors. The race will start in Siena and finish at Siena's Piazza del Campo.

"It is a great race for me to have as my first race back, because it is a race I really love. I just want to get back into the rhythm of racing and have some fun in a race I love.

"Having a strong team like Boels-Dolmans at Strade will allow us to use many tactics," Guarnier said. "With this team, we can play to our strengths in many different scenarios."

Boels Dolmans for Strade Bianche: Megan Guarnier, Anna van der Breggen, Chantal Blaak, Christine Majerus, Karol-Ann Canuel and Jip van den Bos.

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