The 2020 season had started very well for the Astana Women’s Team with the victories and the excellent performances between Australia and Spain, then when the team was preparing to compete in the Strade Bianche the activity stopped for the Covid-19 pandemic. Now more than five months have passed since the last UCI race, but finally the team is ready to start again and it will do again with the spectacular classic of the gravel roads that will be held on Saturday August 1st in Siena: with its 136 total kilometers, the 8 sectors and the 31.6 kilometers of “white road” and the countless short but steep climbs, the Strade Bianche will not be the ideal race to return in the bunch after such a long inactivity, but at this moment the most important thing is to start again.
Due to the difficult international situation related to travels between countries, and to the rigid health protocols of the team and the UCI, the Astana Women’s Team will be able to be at the start of the Strade Bianche with just four athletes. The roster for the race will be made up of the Italian cyclists Katia Ragusa and Francesca Pattaro, and the two Ukrainians Olga Shekel and Maryna Ivaniuk: the one with the most experience in this particular race is Ragusa, which already has four participations despite her young age.
This is the comment of the sports director Aldo Piccolo: «Initially we had great goals for the Strade Bianche, because after second place in the Cadel Evans Road Race we dreamed of taking the leader’s jersey of the Women’s World Tour with Arlenis Sierra: unfortunately it won’t be like that, but we are still very happy to be able to start competing again. Considering all the problems and the lockdowns the riders trained well, but in this situation we cannot set ourselves any result objectives: it is a race that we will face as always aiming to do our best, but without pressure and with the awareness that not having many references there may be interesting surprises».