The magic of Strade Bianche

03 Mar 2017

The magic of Strade Bianche

Strade Bianche is one of the season's most beautiful and unpredictable races. We preview the 2017 edition.

Taking its name from the famed white roads that make up its parcours, Strade Bianche (4 March) is a favourite among fans and riders alike.

This year also sees the race step up to the mantle of WorldTour event as part of an extended calendar. A day later the Gran Fondo will see the public tackle the same roads in their thousands on vintage bikes.
 
An instant classic - while this year sees only the 11th edition of the race, it already carries the prestige of a far older event. Formerly known as Monte Paschi Eroica, it's a race all Classics riders want on their palmares. Due to the tough, undulating and punchy course this is also a Classic, much like Milan-San Remo, that Grand Tour contenders can get in on the action.
Salvatore Puccio has been strong on Tuscan roads in recent years (photo: TDWSport)

Salvatore Puccio has been strong on Tuscan roads in recent years (photo: TDWSport)

The route

Beautiful Siena hosts the start and finish of this 175-kilometre spectacle. 62km of white gravel roads are spread across 11 sectors. Look out for sectors five and six. The former is the longest of the race, and with barely a kilometre of tarmac separating the two, the riders are faced with effectively 20 kilometres of gravel. The race could well be thinned out here.
 
Sector eight (the Monte Sante Marie) is the most famous of the race and spans 11.5km. The race will really be on at this point, with the sector also now holding the name of Fabian Cancellara in recognition of the Swiss rider's three wins in the event.
The route for 2017

The route for 2017

Team Sky at Strade
 
Back in 2010 Thomas Lofkvist was the runner up in the race during our first crack at Strade Bianche. After a three year break we returned in 2014 and have tackled the race every year since. Salvatore Puccio has repeatedly shown well, narrowly missing out on a top-10 finish to date. Lars Petter Nordhaug was ninth last year. 
 
From our 2017 squad Michal Kwiatkowski won the race in impressive fashion in 2014, while Diego Rosa came home an encouraging fifth a year later. Let's see what they can do this time!
Kwiato won big back in 2014

Kwiato won big back in 2014

Strade Bianche - 2016 highlights

Strade Bianche - 2016 highlights

Our race numbers will be:
171. Diego Rosa
172. Ian Boswell
173. Tao Geoghegan Hart
174. Michal Golas
175. Michal Kwiatkowski
176. Gianni Moscon
177. Salvatore Puccio
178. Owain Doull
 
If it rains...
 
With the weather forecast around Siena looking decidedly wet for Saturday we could be faced with the prospect of white gravel roads turning to brown slippery mud. Famously the Giro d'Italia visited these roads in 2010 and stage six to Montalcino turned into an iconic mudbath.
Dario Cioni and Richie Porte battled it out in the mud at the 2010 Giro (photo: TDWSport)

Dario Cioni and Richie Porte battled it out in the mud at the 2010 Giro (photo: TDWSport)

TV information
 
Viewers can tune in and watch the action from 1pm UK time on Eurosport 2.

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