HomeCyclingSTRADE BIANCHE'24 Preview: Who Will Conquer the White Roads?

STRADE BIANCHE’24 Preview: Who Will Conquer the White Roads?

Race Preview: The Strade Bianche is a glance again into Italian cycle racing historical past, the white roads, the sterrato, with its mud on a dry day or clogging mud within the rain, add some steep climbs and you’ve got an ideal day in Tuscany. The end, and reduction of the ache and discomfort, is within the marvellous setting of the Piazza del Campo. Who will put his identify on the checklist of Strade Bianche winners for 2024?

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Final yr’s winner – Tom Pidcock

Strade Bianche Historical past
The Tuscan area of the Strade Bianche is probably some of the lovely elements of the Italian countryside, so L’Eroica Strade Bianche (Heroic race of the white roads) was created in 1997 on the white gravel roads round Siena as a granfondo for classic bikes solely. The idea was to recreate biking’s so-called “heroic period” from the primary half of the twentieth century, when most bike races have been ridden on dust or unpaved (gravel) roads. In 2007 knowledgeable race was organised on the identical route, nevertheless it was held within the Autumn (October ninth). The highest riders weren’t so excited by racing on tough roads in Italy on the finish of a tricky season. Alexandr Kolobnev gained that first version. The race caught the eye of the riders and the tifosi due to its distinctive character. After the primary Strade Bianche in 2007, it was determined to alter to the spring, simply earlier than the beginning of Tirreno-Adriatico. This turned out to be a hit, Strade Bianche grew to become the primary primary aim within the spring for a lot of riders. The race shortly gained status, which may be seen on the honours checklist. The primary spring version in 2008 was gained by Swiss powerhouse Fabian Cancellara. Spartacus returned to win two extra instances, in 2012 and in his last yr 2016.

Strade Bianche 2028
Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and Gianluca Brambilla with 300 metres to go

In 2009, organisers modified the identify to Strade Bianche – Eroica Toscana and in 2010 to Strade Bianche. The race was additionally lengthened by 9 kilometres and another gravel sector was added, so there have been 57 kilometres of white roads. In 2014, the beginning of the race was moved to San Gimignano. In 2015, its identify formally modified to Strade Bianche – Eroica Professional after the creation of a ladies’s model, and UCI upgraded the occasion to a 1.HC race within the EuropeTour, the best potential score for a non-WorldTour one-day race. Since 2016, Siena has hosted the beginning and end of the Strade Bianche. In 2017, the Strade Bianche was included within the UCI WorldTour. Now the Tuscan race is longer for 2024 and is heading in the direction of Monument standing.

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Strade Bianche 2007 – Alexandr Kolobnev

Il Percorso
Strade Bianche is more durable this yr as the gap is now over 200 kilometres for the primary time. The previous six editions have been raced over 184 kilometres, the riders now need to cowl 215 kilometres. 4 new gravel sections have been added to the route and there’s now fifteen sectors of the white roads. There are actually 71.5 kilometres of gravel, up from 63.

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Will or not it’s mud or mud in 2024?

The beginning and the end are nonetheless in Siena. The primary 9 gravel sections of the race are the identical as final yr. The primary of those, Vidritta, comes after 21 kilometres. Some sections are quick, the shortest being solely 600 metres and two sections of over 11 kilometres. A few of gravel roads are nearly flat, whereas others are steep and punishingly lengthy. Up to now, the primary actual choice within the race got here on the 11.9 kilometre part of Lucignano d’Asso, which instantly goes onto the 8 kilometre Ponte d’Arbia. This yr there are nonetheless 120 kilometres to go to the end, so perhaps too early, however lately, races open up a lot earlier than earlier than. Simply have a look at the opening weekend in Belgium.

Strade Bianche 2024
Strade Bianche 2024 map

The sectors of San Martino in Grania and Monte Sante Marie are each lengthy and uphill, they each get 5 stars, the toughest issue. After the 11.5 kilometres of Monte Sante Marie, additionally named after Fabian Cancellara, then there are greater than 20 kilometres of correct street. The longest stretches of sterrato have now been ridden, however the race doesn’t get any simpler. At 55 kilometres from the end there’s the Monteaperti part of 600 metres. That is adopted by the Strade di Colle Pinzuto (2.4km) and Le Tolfe (1.1km). Final yr the race went to Siena after this final sector, however this yr there’s an additional circuit, which begins nearly instantly after Le Tolfe with the unknown Strada del Castagno (1.3km). Fourteen kilometres later comes the brand new Montechiaro part at 3.3 kilometres.

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The Strade di Colle Pinzuto and Le Tolfe make their second look earlier than the end. These climbs are steep and can present any weak spot. After the final part of Le Tolfe, there are 10 kilometre of undulating roads to Siena. The end is within the well-known Piazza del Campo, the setting for the Palio horse race, however earlier than that’s the Contrada dell’Oca. The riders move underneath the Thirteenth-century Porta di Fontebranda and begin to climb on the large flagstones of the By way of Santa Caterina. This street may be very steep, with a most gradient of 16%. From the highest there’s nonetheless half a kilometre to the end. The final bend is on the border between the districts of Civetta (owl), Leocorno (unicorn) and Torre (tower). Whoever will get by means of this primary usually wins the race.

Strade Bianche 2024
Strade Bianche 2024 profile

The White Street Sections:
Settore Sterrato 1: Vidritta (2.1km) *
Settore Sterrato 2: Bagnaia (5.8km) ***
Settore Sterrato 3: Radi (4.4km) **
Settore Sterrato 4: La Piana (6.4km) **
Settore Sterrato 5: Lucignano d’Asso (11.9km) ****
Settore Sterrato 6: Pieve a Santi (8km) ****
Settore Sterrato 7: San Martino in Grania (9.5km) *****
Settore Sterrato 8: Monte Sante Marie (11.5km) *****
Settore Sterrato 9: Monteaperti (0.6km) **
Settore Sterrato 10: Colle Pinzuto (2.4km) ****
Settore Sterrato 11: Le Tolfe (1.1km) ****
Settore Sterrato 12: Strada del Castagno (1.3km) ***
Settore Sterrato 13: Montechiaro (3.3km) **
Settore Sterrato 14: Colle Pinzuto (2.4km) ****
Settore Sterrato 15: Le Tolfe (1.1km) ****
Complete: 71.5 kilometres.

The Final Winners Strade Bianche:
2023: Tom Pidcock (GB)
2022: Tadej Pogačar (Slo)
2021: Mathieu van der Poel (Ned)
2020: Wout van Aert (Bel)
2019: Julian Alaphilippe (Fra)
2018: Tiesj Benoot (Bel)
2017: Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol)
2016: Fabian Cancellara (Sui)
2015: Zdeněk Štybar (CZ)
2014: Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol).

Piazzo del Campo
Everybody seems to be ahead to ending within the Plazzo del Campo

So Who’s Going to Win in 2024? (Closing begin line-up may change earlier than Saturday)
Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, winners in 2020 and 2021, is not going to be in Siena on Saturday. The Belgian is on an altitude coaching camp after his Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne win and the Dutch World street champion doesn’t begins his 2024 season till Milano-Sanremo. Tadej Pogačar and Tom Pidcock, the final two winners of the Strade Bianche might be there.

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First race of 2024 – first win for Tadej Pogačar?

Tadej Pogačar begins his season in Strade Bianche, however he’s nonetheless the highest favorite. You’ll be able to wager that Pogačar gained’t flip up only for the experience. The Slovenian has gained his first race of the yr over the previous 4 years. In 2023 he gained the Traditional Jaén Paraiso Inside, which additionally has gravel. He gained after a protracted solo experience, very similar to he did a yr earlier within the 2022 Strade Bianche. Usually UAE Crew Emirates rides for Pogačar, however this yr he has riders who may win for themselves. Tim Wellens is all the time ‘up there’ within the Strade Bianche and was third in 2017. His kind is nice, as we noticed the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on the Muur van Geraardsbergen, then the following day he was 2nd in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Kuurne 2024
Tim Wellens is a person on kind

Marc Hirschi gained the Faun Drôme Traditional final Sunday and is wanting fitter than regular. In January, neo-pro Isaac Del Toro gained a stage of the Tour Down Beneath and completed third total after which within the Volta ao Algarve he was 4th within the time trial. Juan Ayuso can also be on the start-line as he’s on the provisional entry checklist, however not on the newest UAE Crew Emirates choice checklist.

Faun Drome 2024
Marc Hirschi gained in France on the weekend

Tom Pidcock gained final yr’s Strade Bianche solo, in an identical fashion to Pogačar in 2022. The British rider attacked greater than 50 kilometres from the end after which made a niche on a gravel descent. On the technical descents, Pidcock can use his cyclo-cross and mountain bike expertise to distance his rivals. The one query being Pidcock’s current kind. Within the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad he was in bother earlier than and on the Muur van Geraardsbergen, however he had been off the entrance for a very long time and completed eighth. He was additionally sixth total within the Volta ao Algarve, with a third place on stage 5.

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Double Strade win for Tom Pidcock?

Daniel Felipe Martínez gained two uphill finishes within the Volta ao Algarve and the Colombian makes his debut in Strade Bianche on Saturday. His gravel expertise are unknown, however he needs to be okay on the steep climbs. Martínez can experience the Italian hilly one-day races, as he has proven by successful the Coppa Sabatini and taking third in Giro della Toscana.

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Daniel Felipe Martínez can climb and has the shape

Matej Mohorič didn’t have any prime ends in the ‘Opening Weekend’, however he was amongst the motion in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. The Bahrain Victorious rider has completed within the top-10 twice: In 2023 he was sixth and in 2018 he completed eighth. Mohorič can also be the gravel World champion and is aware of methods to experience the white roads.

Matej Mohorič – No stranger to gravel

Quinn Simmons completed seventh within the 2022 Strade Bianche then in 2023 he was up there within the last, however completed in twelfth place. Strade Bianche is alleged to be his favorite race, together with the Amstel Gold Race, so he might be out for a consequence. Thus far this season, Simmons greatest consequence was fifteenth in Cadel Evans Nice Ocean Street Race, so perhaps he isn’t in his greatest form but.

Quinn Simmons
Does Quinn Simmons have the shape?

Attila Valter was 4th within the 2022 Strade Bianche and fifth in 2023. Final week he completed fifth within the UAE Tour and managed to race with the most effective climbers on the summit finishes. Visma | Lease a Bike may also have Christophe Laporte and Sepp Kuss on their roster. The European champion appeared good on the weekend with 4th and fifth place within the Omloop and Kuurne, however perhaps it is going to be the Vuelta winner, Kuss who may give the ‘Tremendous Crew’ a consequence. Together with his sixth place within the Traditional Jaén, the American ex-mountain biker confirmed his gravel legs.

Jaen 2024
Sepp Kuss on Spanish gravel in Jaén

EF Schooling-EasyPost has a robust line-up of Richard Carapaz, Neilson Powless, Alberto Bettiol and Ben Healy. Healy could possibly be their greatest man: Within the last stage of the Volta ao Algarve, he attacked with Wout van Aert and completed 4th total.

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Ben Healy could possibly be a shock

Groupama-FDJ additionally has a number of potential protagonists. Valentin Madouas was second in Strade Bianche 2023, however he had a greater early spring marketing campaign that yr. Thus far this season he has had a fifth place within the Vuelta a Murcia. The 21 year-old Frenchman, Romain Grégoire was eighth final yr and has been driving properly within the first races of 2024. Stefan Küng is an everyday prime finisher in Strade Bianche, however solely within the top-20. He might be within the finale to assist the crew.

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Valentin Madouas – Second in 2023

Lotto Dstny appears to be on a roll up to now this season. They convey Maxim van Gils, Lennert Van Eetvelt and Andreas Kron. Kron was tenth final yr in Siena, whereas Van Gils and Van Eetvelt are on kind: Van Eetvelt gained the UAE Tour, Van Gils gained the Ruta del Sol, though it was shortened to a 5 kilometre time trial. Van Gils is a classics-man with seventh within the Amstel Gold Race, eighth in Flèche Wallonne and eleventh in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on his palmarès.

Maxim van Gils may do it for Lotto Dstny

Soudal Fast-Step has former winner Julian Alaphilippe on their start-list. The Frenchman had dangerous luck (once more) within the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad final week, however appeared higher in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. He’s not the rider he was once, however nonetheless has the fireplace to win. Kasper Asgreen crashed within the Omloop along with Alaphilippe, however don’t overlook his third place within the 2022 Strade Bianche. Gianni Moscon was within the motion final weekend within the Omloop, however he’s additionally not fairly again to his outdated kind. He’s on a minimal wage from Patrick Lefevere, so he has motive to carry out properly.

Julian Alaphilippe may do with a bit of excellent luck

The Outsiders:
Always remember two-time winner Michał Kwiatkowski of INEOS Grenadiers, then there’s Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Magnus Cort (Uno-X Mobility), Andrea Bagioli (Lidl-Trek), Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech), Benoît Cosnefroy and Bastien Tronchon of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale. Strade Bianche isn’t as unpredictable as Paris-Roubaix, however it’s a race that something can occur.

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Can Pogačar repeat 2022?

Prime: Tadej Pogačar
Doable: Tom Pidcock, Attila Valter
Perhaps: Tim Wellens, Matej Mohorič, Sepp Kuss
Outdoors wager: Lennert Van Eetvelt, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Ben Healy, Romain Grégoire.

*** Keep PEZ for the ‘Race Report’ on Saturday and all of the information from Siena in EUROTRASH Monday.***

2023 Strade Bianche highlights

# Due to WielerFlits and ProCyclingStats for the information and figures. #

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