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Mitchelton-SCOTT ‘excited to race’ as classics racing returns at Strade Bianche

Wed 29 Jul 2020

Mitchelton-SCOTT return to WorldTour action with a strong and powerful classics squad ready to tackle the white roads of Strade Bianche.

Following the enforced break, riders will be thrust straight into classics racing with the Tuscany race coming as the first major event on the revised 2020 calendar. Australian Luke Durbridge will line-up in Siena alongside countryman Rob Stannard, with the pair looking to get back into the mix after the early season spring classics.

Kiwi duo Jack Bauer and Sam Bewley will add valuable experience to the squad, as will veteran American Brent Bookwalter, while young Italians Edoardo Affini and Alexander Konychev will look to impress on home roads.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Edoardo Affini - (ITA, 24)
Jack Bauer - (NZL, 35)
Sam Bewley - (NZL, 33)
Brent Bookwalter - (USA, 36)
Luke Durbridge - (AUS, 29)
Alexander Konychev - (ITA, 22)
Rob Stannard - (AUS, 21)

The Course
The 184km course in the Tuscany hills is littered with gravel roads and short, punchy climbs. The peloton will tackle 11 sectors of gravel roads in total, the first of which comes at 17.6km into the day.

Following the gravel sectors the bunch still have a number of hills to deal with on the run back into Siena, before eventually hitting the steep final climb towards the finish line within the scenic Piazza del Campo.

History
Mitchelton-SCOTT have twice finished sixth at Strade Bianche, once with former rider Robert Power in 2018 and the other with Durbridge in 2017.

Luke Durbridge:
“Training has been going really well, it’s been super-hot in Girona and in Andorra, it’s been really nice weather to train in. This year has definitely been a strange one and I don’t think we’ve ever had a classic in July, so I think it’s going to be a hot and dusty Strade Bianche compared to what you’d normally get in March.”

“But nevertheless I think we’re all excited to start racing again, it’s been so long and such a strange year, we’re all looking to get out there and getting into it. I expect there will be a lot of nervous energy, a lot of guys with some built-up energy from the lockdown that might cause a bit of anxiety in the bunch, but I’m excited.”

“We’ve got a great team and it’s a race I personally love, I think it’s a fantastic race. It’s not a cobbled classic but it’s very similar when it comes to racing on the gravel roads and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Gene Bates (Sports Director):
“First of all, the team are really excited to be racing again. We go into the race with quite an open team, we don’t one absolute clear leader. Luke Durbridge has gone well here in the past, as has Brent Bookwalter and certainly Jack Bauer is more than capable.”

“Across the board I think the whole team is coming in in good shape and particularly because we haven’t seen anyone race for a long time, we’ll go into the race with a little bit more of an open plan than we would have had it been a normal build-up.”

“I think the race will be different for a number of reasons, one of them is that it’s no longer a ‘spring classic’, it’s the middle of the summer and on a course such as this one, that’s very different. The forecast is for 37-38 degrees on the day and on a classics style course that will be very demanding. Given the terrain I imagine there will be more dust than ever, so that’s something else we are going to have to factor in.”

Race Details:
Saturday, 1st August: Siena – Siena, 184km

Photos courtesy of Chris Auld.

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