Both races set off from Siena and follow a circuitous route, in an anti-clockwise direction, heading south towards Buonconvento at which point the routes diverge. Once the riders reach the most southerly points of the day, they change direction and head back north towards Siena.
While the route for the women’s race looks like this which is, essentially, the same as the men’s but without the loop south of Buonconvento . . .
Ciao, buongiorno and welcome to our live rolling blog from the 15th edition of Strade Bianche — and seventh for the women — which is only the second one-day race in the WorldTour calendar, while for the women it is their curtain-raising event.
As you are here, you probably already know a little bit about cycling and the history of Strade Bianche which for me is the most beautiful one-day race in the calendar. However, for those unfamiliar with this Italian race let us fill in a few gaps.
Strade Bianche is a unique race in the professional calendar that has earned a place in the hearts of cycling fans despite its relatively short existence. While amateurs are often found aping their heroes, the first Italian race of the WorldTour season in fact reverses the paradigm.
Taking its lead from the huge popularity of Eroica, the non-competitive amateur event that traverses the chalky white roads of Tuscany and requires riders to complete the event on retro steel bicycles, RCS Sport, organisers of the Giro d’Italia, launched Strade Bianche in 2007 — then called Monte Paschi Eroica — when Alexandr Kolobnev prevailed.
Swiss classics specialist Fabian Cancellara won the first of the three Strade Bianche titles he claimed — he remains the most successful rider on the white roads — the following year in 2008. Unsurprisingly, the race has become a particular favourite with the classics riders, particularly since its move to the earlier part of the calendar from its original October slot — other than last year’s event that was switched to August as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Previous winners include Philippe Gilbert, Michal Kwiatkowski, Zdenek Stybar, Julian Alaphilippe and Wout van Aert, while Moreno Moser remains the sole Italian to have won the race.
The men’s race gets under way at 10.45am (GMT), while the women’s race started at 8.17am and they are, as I type, now into the second half of the race, around 65km from the finish. By the way, the men;s race 184 kilometres long, the women’s 136km.
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