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Don’t miss today Strade Bianche EOLO: the first WorldTour event since the season’s restart

01/08/2020

Van Vleuten and Alaphilippe look to defend their titles

The stage is set in Siena for the restart of the men’s and women’s UCI WorldTour calendar as we await the Strade Bianche Women Elite EOLO and the Strade Bianche EOLO, both taking place on Saturday 1 August.

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Cycling’s biggest names have assembled in Siena with the promise of exciting battles from start to finish.

Amongst those riding will be last year’s winners Annemiek van Vleuten, a strong contender having recently taken three victories in succession (Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria, Clasica Femenina Navarra e Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa), and Julian Alaphilippe.

In the women’s race, all eyes will be on Katarzyna Niewiadoma (third place finisher in 2019), 2017 winner Elisa Longo Borghini, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Anna van der Breggen and Marianne Vos amongst others.

The starting list of the men’s race also features 2018’s winner Tiesj Benoot, Michał Kwiatkowski, winner of the race in 2017 and 2014, Philippe Gilbert (2011 edition winner) and Zdeněk Štybar (2015 edition winner). Oliver Naesen, Cyclocross World Champion Mathieu van der Poel, three-time Road World Champion Peter Sagan, Olympic Champion Greg Van Avermaet, former Cyclocross World Champion and two-time podium finisher in Siena Wout van Aert, Alberto Bettiol, Tadej Pogačar, Jakob Fuglsang (second last year) and Vincenzo Nibali are also set to compete, to name just a few.

14th STRADE BIANCHE – 184km, 11 sectors and 63km on gravel roads (34.2% of the course)

It’s a twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. 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 kilometres 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 kilometres 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 kilometres later, the second climb of the day starts: 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, very punchy and with many challenging bends, climbs and descents.

After the second passage through Buonconvento the riders will reach the feed station, positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. Soon 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 up 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 up to 15%. After a few kilometres the riders then face the last gravel section (Sector 11, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb (with a maximum gradient of 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

Final Kilometres

The demanding final kilometres, 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. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda; here the gradient touches 9%.

900m from 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 line, 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% and the finish line itself, which is flat.

6th STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE – 136km, 8 sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads (23.1% of the course)

A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills – most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly more than 30km 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 kilometres are on Tarmac before reaching the 2.1km-long gravel Sector 1 at km 18, which is perfectly straight and slightly downhill.

After a few kilometres 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 riders will reach the feed station, positioned in the Ponte d’Arbia area. Soon 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 up and downs in the first part, ending up 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 up to 15%. After a further few kilometres the riders will face the last section of gravel (Sector 8, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb (with a maximum gradient of 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

The final kilometres are the same as the men’s course.

 

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