31 January 2018

Strade Bianche 2018 and its Gran Fondo: a new challenge is ready in Terre di Siena

On Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March the Strade Bianche and Gran Fondo Strade Bianche get the Italian cycling season officially underway. Starting on the Saturday with the men’s and then the women’s UCI WorldTour pro races, with 24 teams announced for the women’s, followed on the Sunday by the sportive Gran Fondo Strade Bianche race.

Siena institutions and RCS Sport / RCS Active Team have worked tirelessly to ensure that this first great weekend of Italian cycling goes ahead in its traditional racing calendar slot despite the weekend’s clash with the Italian general election. Thanks to a huge collective effort, on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March, the men and women of “Europe’s most Southern Northern Classic” and its Gran Fondo – a record edition with 5,000 starters – will be held on the Terre di Siena. All the races, as per last year, will each start from the Medici Fortress and end amidst the unique scenery of Piazza del Campo.

12th STRADE BIANCHE NAMEDSPORT – 184km, 11 sectors and 63km on gravel roads (34.2% of the course)

The men’s race, which was officially elevated to the top tier of elite of professional racing last year, is now a key race of the UCI WorldTour calendar. Last year’s winner Michał Kwiatkowski arrived solo in Piazza del Campo before, going on to win Milano-Sanremo two weeks later.

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Stats:

  • A race for northern athletes – all the Strade Bianche winners were born north of Tuscany, the Italian Region where the race is held
  • No consecutive victories – in the previous 11 editions no one was able two win two years in a row. The same country hasn’t won two years in a row too
  • 30 – Fabian Cancellara is the only rider who was able to win Strade Bianche after his 30th birthday, in 2012 and 2016

4th STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE NAMEDSPORT – 136km, 8 sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads (23.1% of the course)

2017 sees the third edition of the women’s race which, for the second year, is again part of the UCI WorldTour calendar.

The inaugural 2015 race was won by the American Megan Guarnier while the 2016 edition was won by the then Road World Champion Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead), finishing solo in Piazza del Campo. Elisa Longo Borghini flew the Italian flag under the Torre del Mangia, to win the the 2017 edition – the first time the race was part of the UCI Women WorldTour calendar. Now in its 4th edition, the Strade Bianche Women Elite is a firmly established classic race where all the best riders in the world challenge each other to take the prestigious victory.

Today, the 24 starting teamseach made up of 6 riders – who will participate in the 2018 edition were announced: ALÉ CIPOLLINI, AROMITALIA VAIANO, ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM, BEPINK, BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM, BTC CITY LJUBLJANA, CANYON // SRAM RACING, CERVELO – BIGLA PRO CYCLING TEAM, CYLANCE PRO CYCLING, EUROTARGET – BIANCHI – VITASANA, FDJ NOUVELLE – AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE, HITEC PRODUCTS – BIRK SPORT, LOTTO SOUDAL LADIES, MITCHELTON SCOTT, MOVISTAR TEAM WOMEN,  S.C. MICHELA FANINI, SERVETTO – STRADALLI CYCLE – ALURECYCLING, TEAM SUNWEB, TEAM VIRTU CYCLING, TOP GIRLS FASSA BORTOLO, TREK – DROPS, VALCAR PBM, WAOWDEALS PRO CYCLING TEAM, WIGGLE HIGH5.

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Stats:

  • Elisa Longo Borghini – the best Italian in each of the three previous editions of the race (3rd in 2015, 4th in 2016, winner in 2017)
  • Lizzie Deignan – always on the podium (2nd in 2015, winner in 2016 and 3rd in 2017)
  • Katarzyna Niewiadoma – 2nd in the last two editions, 2016 and 2017

GRAN FONDO STRADE BIANCHE BY TREK – “Long course” of 139km, eight gravel road sectors and 31.4km on “Strade Bianche” (22.5% of the course); “Short Course” of 86.6km, six gravel road sectors and 21.6km on “Strade Bianche” (24.9% of the course)

After the great success of the 2016 edition – where over 2,000 sportive riders participated at the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche by Trek – and of 2017 with 3,500 cyclists signed up to participate, 2018 edition marked a new record with over 5,000 sportive riders challenging themselves on the gravel roads around Siena. The course will be identical to that of the Strade Bianche Women Elite (the extra 3km are what the pro’s ride ride to hit km 0 in the race). All these numbers show how this event is growing thanks to its incredible appeal, raced in the unique scenery of Siena and the Crete Senesi. Entries are still open on www.gfstradebianche.it. The official jersey, made by Sportful, has also been unveiled at today’s official presentation.

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Stats:

  • 611 – the number of non-Italian riders registered so far
  • First 3 provinces in Italy – are Milan, Rome and Florence – with Siena 4th; people are coming from all over Italy to ride the Strade Bianche
  • 83% – the riders coming from outside Tuscany

As noted by the Municipality of Siena: “The Strade Bianche is one of the most important professional cycling competitions worldwide today. It is also one of the most important events for the territory of Siena, from a sporting point of view as well as considering the international outreach and media coverage due to the level of the participants. The Municipal Administration will continue supporting the organization and promotion of the Strade Bianche, the Women Elite race and the Gran Fondo, in the certainty that the races will continue to grow further in terms of relevance and visibility, thanks to the collaboration of all the institutions involved. All of this is clearly demonstrated by the extra effort put by all the local institutions and the organisers to make the event possible this year, despite the fact that  Sunday 4 March is the date of the Italian general election.”