Strade Bianche

Discover race results from Siena Italy's Stade Bianche, alongside up to date rider and route news from Cycling Weekly.

Where: Siena, Italy

When: Saturday March 6 2021

Rank: UCI WorldTour/Women's WorldTour

Distance: 184km/136km

Here are the talking points from the 2020 Strade Bianche (Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Here are the talking points from the 2020 Strade Bianche (Photo by DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Every cycling fan knows and loves the cobbled Classics that decorate the calendar this time of year. But as Strade Bianche - which in 2020 will take place on Saturday August 1 - demonstrates, cobblestones aren’t the only troublesome road surface that can juice up a race.

Since its inception in 2007 the Strade Bianche has become famous for its dirt roads. These unpaved sectors are characterised by uneven road surfaces and gravel, that is difficult enough to ride over to cause splits, and give the Classic a unique feel to it.

The race achieved WorldTour status in 2017 and this continues. A women's race race introduced in 2015, and there's a sportive the following day, which attracts thousands of amateur riders.

The coronavirus pandemic meant that Strade Bianche was the first WorldTour race back in the summer of 2020, but it is back in it's usual March slot for 2021.

The men's route - which is 184km long - includes 11 gravel sectors, totalling around 63km over the course of the whole race. Most feature in the middle of the race, with sectors 5-8 lasting 11.9km, 8km, 9.5km and 11.5km respectively and all crammed in between 110km and 42km to the finish line.

It’s the last of these, in Ponta del Garbo, that’s the toughest, not just for its excessive length, but also for the fact that most of it is uphill. For Strade Bianche isn’t just a test of how well a rider can go over dirt roads - it’s also undulating throughout with plenty of steep gradients, including the uphill finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

As such, all sorts of different type of cyclist has a shot of winning here. On one hand Classics specialists like three-time winner Fabian Cancellara and 2020’s winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) have done well here.

The peloton takes on the gravel in the 2019 Strade Bianche (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

The peloton takes on the gravel in the 2019 Strade Bianche (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

But the hilly terrain brings also into contention climbers. The likes of of Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), for instance, can find joy in the unrelenting gradients over some of the parcours and frequently ride in hope of making a similar impact in front of the tifosi at the Strade Bianche as they might at Il Lombardia.

The traditional uphill finish in Siena favours puncheurs like Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and last year's winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), meaning it really is a race for a wide variety of rider.

The women's Strade Bianche covers 136km, with eight sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads - comprising 23 per cent of the course. The race was bolstered to UCI Women's WorldTour status in the competition's first year in 2016, and this has continued each year ever since.

Women's winners have included Annemiek van Vleuten (2019/20) Anna van der Breggen (2018), Elisa Longo Borghini (2017), Lizzie Deignan (2016) and Megan Guarnier (2016). The uphill finish into Siena favours a fast finisher who can climb with the best of them.

Strade Bianche: Recent winners

2020: Wout van Aert

2019: Julian Alaphilippe

2018: Tiesj Benoot

2017: Michał Kwiatkowski

2016: Fabian Cancellara

2015: Zdeněk Štybar

2014: Michał Kwiatkowski

2013: Moreno Moser

2012: Fabian Cancellara

2011: Philippe Gilbert

2010: Maxim Iglinsky

2009: Thomas Lövkvist

2008: Fabian Cancellara

2007: Alexandr Kolobnev

Women's Strade Bianche: recent winners

2020: Annemiek van Vleuten

2019: Annemiek van Vleuten

2018: Anna van der Breggen

2017: Elisa Longo Borghini

2016: Elizabeth Deignan

2015: Megan Guarnier

Key info: Start list | TV Guide

Previous editions: 2019 / 2019 W | 2018 |2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

External links: Official website | Official twitter feed