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Friday Open Thread AND Strade Bianche Poll

It's Friday night, eve of the Strade Bianche. Starting tomorrow we are entering probably the most intense period of racing of the season. So draw a deep breath.... and take our poll.

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Strade Bianche is the start shot and then we're off. Paris-Nice and Tirreno run side by side and there's even a little sideshow over in Langkawi. The lower tier classics dudes are keeping themselves entertained with Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen so pretty much everyone who owns a bike is racing right now. Except of course for a surprising number of my FSA VDS  team who seem to be on some undeserved vacation already.

As if we had nothing else on our minds the UCI will be releasing their CIRC report on Monday and that shouldn't make the news in any way at all of course........ But that's then and this is now. Right now what we want to know is who will win in Siena tomorrow. I've put my 3€ on the Spanish balding matador, Valverde. Third last year behind the two bigs Kwiatkowski and Sagan. Sagan of course looks so obvious a winner but I wonder. Kwiat really pulled his pants down on that final climb up to the Piazza del Campo, could it be that finish isn't so hot for Sagan after all? I know he did well there to take second after Moser but then he'd had a free ride for a long time before that. For the race it would be great if the outcome wasn't as pre-destined as some of our most impressive Sagan-memories lead us to assume.

The word from Tuscany is that conditions have been pretty windy and that could have a real impact if it continues on Saturday. That would just add one level of intensity to a race that was already hard. The women who have reconned the course for their first ever stab at the Strade Bianche talk of a course that is brutal with endless hills and climbing. Add wind and...... well it will be great for us watching at home.

So, before we get the race under way, who do you think will win tomorrow? Let's hear your motivations in the comments tooespecially if you think it's someone from the pretty big "Someone else" here group. And have a great weekend everyone