Profile. It is on the 4th of March that the peloton will take on what is one of the most unique and prestigious race in the calendar. It is Strade Bianche, which will take place on the Italian region of Tuscany and will include plenty gravel roads which make the race distinct from the majority of the calendar.
The big route we all know. Well maybe big isn’t the right word, after all of the big classics this is one of the shortest with a “mere” 184 Kilometers in length, but damn if these aren’t some of the most exciting of the whole year!
There are 61.9Km of gravel divided into 11 sectors, as short as 800 meters long and as big as 11.9Km in length, and they aren’t concentrated in any specific area of the route but rather spread evenly throughout the race, it’s one of attrition, where tactics, positioning and let’s admit, a tad bit of luck all have to be ticked off the box. The route starts off in some rolling roads and just a bit before the halfway point of the race the first major challenge comes.
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Lucignano d’Asso sector, the 5th and biggest of the race and finishes with 96Km to go, it’s a fairly hard sector that has a lot of room for crashes, punctures, splits, etc… Every sector (and well every Kilometer) is a chance for something to go wrong, and like in the cobbles it’s a matter of having the least possible energy spent unnecessary, this is where the real race starts!
Monte Sante Marie is perhaps the first crucial sector of the race, ending with just over 40 kilometers to go and featuring a whole kilometer at 10%. However the sheer size and diversity of gradients found throughout the sector makes it a brutal one that will inevitably explode the race.
Start Time: 11:45CET.
Finish Time: 16:30CET.
Colle Pinzuto finishes with 17Km to go and is one of the last pieces of brutal roads where gaps can be made out of power and not opportunity, it’s one that doesn’t include descents so it’s quite a brute.
Le Tolfe is the final sector of the race, it summits with 11Km to go and is a U shaped sector, you enter it full speed in a descent and then have a nasty ramp in the gravel, the last white road of the race and for sure at this race we can have the rider, or the group of riders who will fight for the win.
From there on there are 12 kilometers into the finish line. They will by no means be easy as the road keeps tilting either up or down, however it does give some opportunity to reconsolidate the race and possible form alliances ahead of the final ascent.
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If a group, it will all be decided in the narrow streets of Siena, Via Santa Caterina is one of the most iconic places in cycling and you’re sure to get some awesome images. The decisive ramp will go up to 16% in it's steepest section (700 meters, 9% average gradient) and the final corners into the heart of Siena will be a final opportunity to overtake other riders.