WorldTour racing returns this weekend with the first Classic of the new season, Strade Bianche.
The bookies have been sharing their predictions on who is likely to fight for the victory on Saturday, August 1 over the white roads of Tuscany.
Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe and Wout van Aert have all been tipped among the favourites to take the title in Siena, but who is the bookmakers’ favourite?
Sadly Oddschecker doesn’t list the odds for the women’s race, but Cycling Weekly dived into the men’s odds to see who is expected to compete for the win in the first WorldTour event of the new 2020 season.
Favourites to win Strade Bianche 2020
The number one favourite to take the win may not be a surprise, even if it is his first time in the race.
Mathieu van der Poel has the shortest odds off all the contenders at 43/10 as he takes on the iconic gravel paths.
The Dutch superstar was supposed to start his season at the Sibiu Tour in Romania, but his Alpecin-Fenix team pulled out on the eve of the race due to a spike of coronavirus cases.
Van der Poel will instead be joining the other favourites in riding Strade Bianche cold.
Next on the list is reigning champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), with odds of 5/1.
The Frenchman had a staggering 2019 season with multiple one-day victories including Milan-San Remo and a two-week spell in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.
But the bookies are expecting Alaphilippe to be pushed hard by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) once again.
The Dane was second in the 2019 edition, just two seconds behind Alaphilippe after a thrilling battle on the final rise into Siena.
Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is high among the favourites at 12/1, having won a stage and the overall at Paris-Nice right before the UCI suspended racing in March.
Zdenek Štybar (Quick-Step) is currently at 14/1, having finished in the top-10 every year since his victory in the race back in 2015.
The biggest surprise from the bookies is Wout van Aert, who finished second in Strade Bianche two years in a row.
But the Jumbo-Visma rider was out for much of 2019 after suffering a nasty leg wound during the time trial stage of the Tour de France.
After the injury, Van Aert came back to finish 11th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad earlier this year.
The bookies still only have Van Aert at 14/1.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is currently at 16/1, former winner Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos) is 18/1, while Greg Van Avermaet is 25/1.
Strade Bianche 2020 elite men’s (Winner – Oddschecker)
Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix, 43/10
Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, 5/1
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, 9/1
Max Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe), 12/1
Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, 14/1
Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, 14/1
Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Sunweb, 16/1
Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, 16/1
Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Ineos, 18/1
Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana, 20/1
All odds correct at time of publication