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"The best athletes will be at the start of the one-day races: the women’s race, now in its third edition, and the men’s race - part of the WorldTour calendar from 2017."

Photo: Sirotti

STRADE BIANCHE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
30.11.2016 @ 15:24 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

On 4 and 5 March, Siena and the Crete Senesi will host the the men’s pro race - promoted to the UCI WorldTour calendar - and the women’s race, which opens the season of the UCI Women's WorldTour. Sunday, the amateurs will ride the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche - which has already recorded 3,500 entries - over most of the route that the pro riders will have raced on the previous day. 


Siena, 30 November 2016 – "Europe's most Southern Northern Classic” is a slogan that has become well known worldwide, and the great cycling weekend in the beautiful landscape of Terre di Siena, on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March 2017, is becoming equally famous all over the world. The three events - organized by RCS Sport, RCS Active Team and La Gazzetta dello Sport in collaboration with the City of Siena - will each start from the Medici Fortress and end in the unique scenery of Piazza del Campo.

 

STRADE BIANCHE NAMEDSPORT - 175km, 11 sectors and 61.9km on gravel roads
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The men’s race officially enters into the elite of world professional cycling. Union Cycliste Internationale has ratified its importance by adding it to the WorldTour calendar, starting from the 2017 edition. On 5th March 2016, last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara achieved his third Strade Bianchi success, and with it, the honour of having one sector of the gravel roads, Sector 8 of Monte Sante Marie, dedicated to his name.

STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE NAMEDSPORT - 127km, 8 sectors and 30.5km on gravel roads
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2017 sees the third edition of the women’s race, for the second time part of the UCI WorldTour calendar. In 2016 victory went to the then Road World Champion Lizzie Armitstead Deignan, finishing solo in Piazza del Campo, while in 2015 the race was won by the American Megan Guarnier.

GRAN FONDO STRADE BIANCHE BY TREK - “long course” of 127km and 8 gravel road sectors; “short course” 74.5km and 6 gravel road sectors
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After the great success of the 2016 edition – where over 2,000 sportive riders participated at the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche by Trek – in 2017 already 3,500 cyclists have signed up to participate, showing how this event is growing thanks to its incredible appeal, raced in the unique scenery of Siena and of the Crete Senesi. Entries are still open on www.gfstradebianche.it. The official jersey, made by Sportful, is also unveiled at today’s official presentation.
 
QUOTES
As noted by the Municipality of Siena: “The Strade Bianche is today one of the most important professional cycling competitions worldwide. It is also one of the most important events for the territory of Siena, from a sporting point of view as well as considering the international outreach and media coverage due to the level of the participants. The Municipal Administration will continue supporting the organization and promotion of the Strade Bianche, the Women Elite race and the Gran Fondo, in the certainty that the races will continue to grow further in terms of relevance and visibility, thanks to the collaboration of all the institutions involved.”

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “This weekend in Terre di Siena is now a traditional event in the international cycling calendar. The good work done in recent years by the Municipal Administration and all the other institutions involved, has produced its fruits. This is demonstrated by the constant increase of numbers, media coverage and public presence. The best athletes will be at the start of the one-day races: the women’s race, now in its third edition, and the men’s race - part of the WorldTour calendar from 2017. We believe that the two races, together with the Gran Fondo the following day, all within this beautiful landscape, are distinctive and unique elements of this great cycling weekend. The goal is to continue growing, year after year, and to bring these races to the level of excellence they deserve.”

Andrea Trabuio, RCS Sport Mass Participation Event Manager, said: “The Gran Fondo Strade Bianche was a winning bet, it was won already in the moment we believed and invested in this Gran Fondo, with the support and collaboration of all the local administrations, in particular thanks to the Municipality of Siena. The Gran Fondo Strade Bianche is a unique event; people already love it. This is demonstrated by the more than 2,000 participants of the 2016 edition and the 3,500 who have already signed up for the 2017 edition. Amateur cyclists can witness the battle among great cycling champions and then, on the next day, they can ride on the same route. We are confident that this event can continue to grow further from 2017 and beyond.”

COURSES
MEN’S COURSE: The main differences with last year’s course are in the first kilometres, where the Bagnaia climb on gravel roads marks its return after the 2014 and 2015 editions. The course will then see a harder white roads sector in the first part and the cancellation of the paved Passo del Rospatoio climb.

A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly 62km of gravel roads, appearing in 11 sectors (eight of those shared with the Women Elite course).
 
Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometres are on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km gravel Sector 1 at km 11, which is perfectly straight and always slightly uphill.
 
After few kilometres the riders will face Sector 2 (4.7km), the course’s first real challenge with a short descent and a long climb with parts at over 10%.
 
The course will then go through Radi, where Sector 3 starts (4.4km, second part of the original Sector 1 of the first editions) and immediately after Sector 4, one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featured in the course since its first edition) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento.
 
After few kilometres the second climb of the day starts: the Montalcino (4km at 5%). After Torrenieri the riders will face Sectors 5 (11.9km) and 6 (8km) with only 1km of tarmac in between them. Both are hard, hilly, very punchy and with many bends, climbs and descents.
 
After the second passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be 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, which face 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 which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone. 
 
Next comes the penultimate sector (Sector 10, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with gradients up to 15%). After a few kilometres the riders will face the last sector (Sector 11, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 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 descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where 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 exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in 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 is flat.

WOMEN ELITE’S COURSE: A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly 30km of gravel roads, appearing in eight sectors (all shared with the Men’s course).
 
Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometres are on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km gravel Sector 1 at km 11, which is perfectly straight and always slightly uphill.
 
After few kilometres the riders will face Sector 2 (4.7km), first real challenge on the course with a short part on descent and a long climb with parts at over 10%.
 
The course will then go through Radi, where Sector 3 starts (4.4km, second part of the original Sector 1 of the first editions) and immediately after Sector 4, one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featuring in the course since its first edition) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento.
 
After the passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. 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 facing, after Monteaperti, Sector 6 which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone. 
 
Next comes the penultimate sector (Sector 7, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with inclination up to 15%). After a few kilometres the riders will face the last sector (Sector 8, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.
 
Final kilometres are the same as the men's course.

GRAN FONDO COURSES: The long course will be identical to the Women Elite’s route, while the short course will be 74.5km with six gravel roads sectors, for a total of 20.5km on Strade Bianche.

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