29 July 2020

#DidYouKnowThat: History of Strade Bianche

Despite its young age, ‘Europe’s most Southern Northern Classic’ has quickly become one of the most important one-day races on the international scene for both men and women. There are a growing number of voices calling for Strade Bianche to become known as the sixth Classic Monument, including many of those who took part in a leading cycling website’s poll last year.

 

The race, organized since the first edition by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport, is characterized by its iconic multiple sectors of ‘white roads’ (‘strade bianche’), the dirt roads typical of the Tuscan countryside, which make it a unique race on the international scene.

 

The Strade Bianche combines, in its route, the peculiarities of the two most famous Northern Classics: that of Paris-Roubaix for the long, tiring stretches on ‘bad’ road surfaces (in the French race it is pavé, and in Tuscany, the “sterri”) and that of the Tour of Flanders, the numerous and very hard ‘walls’ (‘muri’): short stretches of road with a very steep slope. Because of this unique combination of characteristics, the riders most likely to win this race are those rouleurs who combine stamina with the ability to climb fast on the short punchy climbs.

 

The Swiss Fabian Cancellara, after winning the race for the third time in 2016, was the first rider to be honored with part of the Strade Bianche’s dirt road being named after him, the sector at Monte Sante Marie. Of the riders active today, only Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski has two victories and could join Cancellara in seeing a Strade Bianche sector take his name.