The 11th edition of Strade Bianche takes place this weekend and will be a WorldTour race for the first time. 21 teams and 168 riders will line up at the start of the 175km-long race parcours which starts in Siena, and will finish in the iconic Piazza Il Campo, the heart of the Tuscan city, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
The race features 62 kilometres of dirt roads over 11 segments, the last of which (Le Tolfe) comes inside the final three kilometres, but that won’t be the last hurdle of the day, as the final kilometre kicks up to 18%, just 500 meters before the line, on the Via Santa Caterina, and can act as a launch pad for those who still have something left in the legs and want to go solo.
One of the eight riders to win Strade Bianche since its inception, Zdenek Stybar will once again headline Quick-Step Floors’ squad for the first World Tour race of March, where he’ll be joined by Gianluca Brambilla, whose breakthrough ride last year on the gravel roads of Tuscany saw him finish third.
Also making the team are Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels, Davide Martinelli, Maximiliano Richeze, Matteo Trentin – who showcased his good form last weekend, notching top 10 placings in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne – Petr Vakoc (fifth last season in the race) and Julien Vermote.
“Two new dirt climbs have been added to the parcours in the first part, but other than that, once we’ll go through the feed zone, the route will be quite similar to the one of last year”, said Directeur Sportif Davide Bramati.
“Strade Bianche remains that great race which riders and fans have become very fond of, a race in which we were always at the front in the past years, twice as winners, in 2014 and 2015, and with two riders on the podium at the previous edition. We are going there with a strong team, comprising many good riders, and we want to get a nice result against the star-studded field of this first World Tour edition.”