For the past few years around this time of the season, a debate rears its head in the cycling press; should Strade Bianche be added to the exclusive list of cycling’s Monuments (Milan-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia)? There’s a case to be made for adding it because of its ‘white road’ particularity. It just looks monumental. Also, despite its young age (first run in 2007 – the 5 above are at least 100 years older), it’s one of the most prized races on the calendars for classics riders to do well in. Check out the field for tomorrow’s race and you’ll see the evidence of this pretty quickly.
The arguments against adding this newby to the list is that it’s not old enough, plus it’s too short. All the Monuments are between 250 km and around 300 km (MSR). Strade Bianche is about 180 km (130 km for the women’s version). This race is held in early March, though, and can have some pretty ‘monumental’ weather conditions. Even when it’s dry, the riders finish with a fine, white dusting on their faces, harking back to an earlier, ‘monumental’ era in cycling. It doesn’t hurt that this race is held in Tuscany, with its postcard helicopter shots, not to mention the finish in Sienna’s medieval Piazza del Campo, to my mind, the most impressive ending to a bike race on the calendar.
I’ve done the granfondo version of Strade Bianche (2017 and 2018) and I can tell you that the course is something special. Whether it deserves to be a Monument, I don’t know, but I will attest that I took a monumental beating in the 2017 version.
What I do know is that I’ll be in front of the computer tomorrow afternoon for some monumental fun. Who’s your pic?