Strade Bianche has shown that the suit doesn’t make the man. Or a better way to put it: history doesn’t make the race. The popularity, the respect and the fascination that this event has arisen through fans, cyclists and insiders is a fact that cannot be disproved. Despite its little life – it has come to its twelfth edition – Strade Bianche is one of the most yearned classics of the season. Dirty roads, breathtaking landscapes, roads constantly going up and down and the finish line set in renowned Sienna’s Piazza del Campo – which dates back to the twelfth century – are the ingredients for a unique and well appreciated event. Since the race across the white gravel roads of Tuscany has been awarded of the World Tour title – last year – all of the World Teams have taken part and this year’s edition is no exception. The solid surface of Central-Italian dirt roads switched into brown mud and, moreover, it is predicted heavy rain for Saturday afternoon. Can be said that there is every reason to expect a great show.
Start time: 10.45 CET
Expected finish time: 15.14 – 15.44 CET
Official Hashtag: #StradeBianche
Strade Bianche 2018 Course Presentation
Siena > Siena (184 km)
The course starts in the Sienna Medicean Fortress and, shortly after the start, hits a section of basically flat roads leading to the first sector of dirt with 11 out to 184 kilometers done. The second untarmacked road, which leads from San Salvatore a Pilli to Ville di Corsano, is a tough one: the pretenders’ legs will be put to the test over 5,8 kilometers of dirt marked by 10% gradient slopes. The following two gravel tracks will presumably not affect the race, because both of the length and the profile, respectively quite short and flat. Almost six-kilometers of paved road climb leading to Montalcino – the only tarmacked ascent of the day – introduce the route to a couple of dirt sectors spaced out by a short sight of relief. Lucignano d’Asso (11,9 kms) and Pieve a Salti (8 kms) are in the power of lighting the fuse of the race.
Twelve kilometers of flat tarmacked roads between Buonconvento and Monteroni d’Arbia host the feed zone and welcome a phase of relative respite. With over 69 kilometers remaining the peloton hits in a row the dirt road of San Martino in Grania and the renowned track of Monte Sante Marie, which is likely to Strade Bianche as Aremberg Forest to Paris-Roubaix (Within limits of course). The harshness of the course is exacerbated by both uphill and downhill slopes’ steepness and in the past the race broke out here several times. When the eighth sector comes to the end the race is characterized by nervous paved roads. From 23 to 12 kilometers to the end three white gravel roads in a row: Monteaperti, Colle Pinzuto and Le Tolfe, spaced out by two brief tarmacked sectors. In the latter the maximum gradient is 18% and who wants to take the victory has a chance to attack succesfully.
On the way back to Sienna the race faces a series of up-and-down-hill, an feature that harshes the finale. With just over 2 kilometers remaining the road ascends with 9% gradient slopes. Shortly after the flame rouge, the Porta di Fontebranda welcomes the leaders to the last and decisive climb: 16% gradient cobblestoned-pavements of Santa Caterina street are presumably the stage on which the most talented actor of the day overtakes all of his rivals. The last hundreds meters that lead into Piazza del Campo are by narrow-cobbled streets and overtakes cannot be easily performed. On such a challenging path there’s a chance for surprises to arise along every meter of racing.
Strade Bianche 2018 White Gravel Roads:
1. Vidritta: from km 17,6 al to 19,7 – 2,1 km
2. Bagnaia: from km 25 to km 30,8 – 5,8 km
3. Radi: from km 36,9 al km 41,3 – 4,4 km
4. La Piana: from km 47,6 to km 53,1 – 5,5 km
5. Lucignano d’Asso: from km 76 to km 87,9 – 11,9 km
6. Pieve a Salti: from km 90,8 to km 98,8 – 8 km
7. San Martino in Grania: from km 111,5 to km 121 – 9,5 km
8. Monte Sante Marie: from km 130 to km 141,5 – 11,5 km
9. Monteaperti: from km 160,4 to km 161,2 – 0,8 km
10. Colle Pinzuto: from km 164,6 to km 167 – 2,4 km
11. Le Tolfe: from km 171 to km 172,1 – 1,1 km
Strade Bianche 2018 Planimetry
Strade Bianche 2018 Profile
Strade Bianche 2018 Finale