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Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite routes confirmed

05/02/2021

The routes of Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite, set to be raced on Saturday 6 March, have been officially confirmed. The two races, as per recent tradition, will start from the Fortezza Medicea in Siena and end in the unique setting of Piazza del Campo in Siena, after 184km and 136km of riding respectively.

 

15th STRADE BIANCHE – 184km, 11 sectors and 63km on gravel roads (34.2% of the course). Race start at 11:40 CET, finish around 16:30 CET.

“Europe’s most southern northern classic”, part of the elite of world cycling since 2017, is now a key race on the UCI WorldTour calendar. The last winner to triumph in Piazza del Campo was Belgium’s Wout van Aert, who also won the 111th edition of Milano-Sanremo that same year – a feat matched only by Julian Alaphilippe in 2019, Michał Kwiatkowski in 2017 and Fabian Cancellara in 2008.

 

7th STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE – 136km, 8 sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads (23.1% of the course). Race start at 9:10 CET, finish around 13:15 CET.

Strade Bianche Women Elite is set to be one of the most spectacular of the year, a unique event on the global cycling scene thanks both to its special course character including Tuscany’s famous gravel roads, and to the high level of participants. The previous two editions were both won by Annemiek van Vleuten.

The winner of the 2020 edition of Strade Bianche Wout van Aert said: “That week in Italy with my victory in Strade Bianche and shortly after in Milano-Sanremo was the most special period of the year for me. It was a very intense time, after the restart of the season, and it was a unique experience to go from one success to another. After the Cyclocross World Championships I’ve taken a short break and since then I have started my preparations for the new season. In the beginning, my main focus will be on the one day races. I’m very much looking forward to my Italian block. Not only because of Strade Bianche, but this time also because of Tirreno-Adriatico.”

The Mayor of Siena Luigi De Mossi and the Councilor for Tourism Alberto Tirelli declared: “This is an event that this administration has believed in since its inauguration. Through a three-year agreement with RCS Sport, together we have enhanced the appeal of a race that represents a great opportunity to promote Siena and the territory at an international level. We are paying close attention to outdoor tourism – in particular to the world of cycling – and sporting initiatives like this are an exceptional promotional tool”.

Paolo Bellino, CEO and General Manager of RCS Sport, said: “Today’s announcement for Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite consolidates a route that has, over the years, made ‘Europe’s most southern northern classic’ a reference point among the great races on the international racing calendar. Over the course of several years, we have established a strong collaborative relationship with Siena’s local governing body that allows us to organize such a unique race, loved by riders and fans alike, that promotes the wonderful Sienese territory around the world.”

THE ROUTE OF STRADE BIANCHE

It’s a twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved sections of the route. There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, across 11 sectors, eight of which are shared with the Women Elite course.

Starting from the Stadium/Medicean Fortress area of Siena, the initial undulating kilometers are on asphalt before reaching the 2.1km-long gravel Sector 1 at km 18, which is perfectly straight and slightly downhill. After a few kilometers the riders then face Sector 2 (5.8km), the first real challenge with a short descent followed by a long climb with sections of over 10% gradient. The course then goes through Radi, where gravel Sector 3 starts (4.4km long; the second part of what was gravel Sector 1 in the race’s first edition) shortly followed by Sector 4 – named “La Piana” – and one of the race’s classic gravel sectors (5.5km in length, and featured in the course ever since the first edition) with no significant gradient, leading to Buonconvento.

A few kilometers later, the second climb of the day begins: the Montalcino (4km at 5%). Following Torrenieri the riders face Sectors 5 (11.9km) and 6 (8km) with only 1km of tarmac in between. Both are hard, hilly and very punchy, with many challenging bends, climbs and descents. After the second passage through Buonconvento, the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 7 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous ups and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again.

In Ponte del Garbo (Asciano) gravel Sector 8 begins. At 11.5km it’s the hardest of the race, mostly uphill and characterised by tough hills, the most important being those close to Monte Sante Marie, with steep gradients on both climbs and descents over short distances. After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m) before facing, after Monteaperti, Sector 9 – it’s only 800m long, but greets the riders with a double-digit gradient ramp before they rejoin the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and then a paved road through Pieve a Bozzone.

Next comes the penultimate section of gravel (Sector 10, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto, with gradients of up to 15%. After a few kilometers, the riders then face the last gravel section (Sector 11, 1.1km) which features a sequence of demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb (with a maximum gradient of 18%) that ends at the Tolfe. From there, only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

Final Kilometers

The demanding final kilometers, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descents and slight climbs. At 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda; here the gradient touches 9%.

With 900m to go to the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient then exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish, reaching its steepest gradient of 16% along Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right-hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% to the finish line itself, which is flat.

Annemiek van Vleuten won the 6th edition of Strade Bianche Women Elite ahead of Margarita Garcia Cañellas and Leah Thomas.

THE ROUTE OF STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE

A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills – most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are more than 31km of gravel roads across eight sectors (all shared with the Men’s course). Starting from the Stadium/Medicean Fortress area of Siena, the initial undulating kilometers take place on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km-long gravel Sector 1 at km 18, which is perfectly straight and slightly downhill.

After a few kilometers the riders then face Sector 2 (5.8km), the first real challenge with a short descent followed by a long climb with sections of over 10% gradient. The course then goes through Radi, where gravel Sector 3 starts (4.4km), shortly followed by Sector 4 – named “La Piana” – and one of the race’s classic gravel sectors (5.5km in length, and featured in the course ever since the first edition) with no significant gradient, leading to Buonconvento.

After the passage through Buonconvento the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 5 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous ups and downs to start with, and ends with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again. After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m) before riders face, after Monteaperti, Sector 6 – it’s only 800m long, but greets the riders with a double-digit gradient ramp before they rejoin the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and then a paved road through Pieve a Bozzone.

Next comes the penultimate gravel section (Sector 7, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto, with gradients of up to 15%. After a further few kilometers, the riders will face the last section of gravel (Sector 8, 1.1km) which features a sequence of demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb (with a maximum gradient of 18%) that ends at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

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