Zomegnan pleased with Strade Bianche popularity
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Zomegnan pleased with Strade Bianche popularity

by Samuel Morrison at 5:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics

A sunny spring day, though crisp, allowed fans to relax in Siena's Piazza del Campo and watch cycling's emerging classic: Strade Bianche. Only in its fourth year, the Italian one-day race, organised by RCS Sport, has produced great racing thanks to its backdrop over rolling, white gravel roads and a finish in the famous piazza.

"All the ingredients are here for a great show," race director Angelo Zomegnan told Tuttobiciweb. "The race is only in its fourth edition but it has reached an important level. The fans came out in even larger numbers with respect to the past years and there are top-level participants. The route has confirmed itself to be selective and fascinating, without forgetting the backdrop of a beautiful countryside."

RCS Sport, organiser of the Giro d'Italia, found inspiration from races like Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen as well as the long running Eroica cyclo-tourist event held on the same strade bianche ('white roads'). This year's edition took in eight sectors of gravel, or 57.2 kilometres of the total 190 kilometres.

Alexandr Kolobnev won the first edition in the fall of 2007, but in 2008 RCS bumped the race up to a springtime date, prior to the big one-day races in northern Europe. Fabian Cancellara won in 2008, Thomas Löfkvist 2009 and yesterday, Maxim Iglinsky (Astana).

"Strade Bianche is a young event that enters into the collective imagination of cycling fans. The riders want to participate, the World champion, Cadel Evans confirmed to me immediately after the race that pleased with the course and wants to return to win it in 2011."

Iglinsky won his race ahead of some of cycling's top names: Löfkvist, Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Cancellara (Saxo Bank).

"We had a lot of champions here, minus [Alessandro] Ballan and [Alexander] Vinokourov who were out sick. They all understood the spirit of the race and honoured the fans, fighting to the finish even if they were without a chance to win. No other race in the world can boast an arrival like Piazza del Campo."

The piazza, dating back to 1300, is the site of the twice-yearly horse race, 'Palio'.


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