Strade Bianche: A Classic

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.

Photo: Luca Bettini

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?

13 thoughts on “Strade Bianche: A Classic

  1. I always get the Van – guys confused, Aert, Avermaet, Der Poel , so I’ll go for Pogacar instead. I’m not sure it’s his kind of race but he certainly surprises. But maybe Michal Kwiatkowsky will match Cancelleras 3 wins.

    • Thanks to you, I understand the ‘van vs Van’ issue!

      Yes, that was just about exactly what you’d want to happen in a race, wasn’t it? I’m still in shock by what we just witnessed, to be honest.

      • Quite unbelievable top group of 7: 2 Grand Tour winners, 1 inbetweener World Champion, and 3 crossers. (I don’t know Gogl!) In which other race does that ever happen? And MvdP showed he not only is the strongest, he’s also more explosive than Alaphilippe. Will it be THE year of MvdP? (After already unbelievable accomplishments. It’s unreal how good he is on anything with two wheels…)

        • Amazing, isn’t it? I’ve seen Gogl (you can’t forget that name!) up there in a few races now, so he’s possibly one to watch for. No big wins, though.

          I don’t know if this will be Mathieu’s year, but I won’t be betting against him, that’s for sure! I could definitely see him winning MSR if he can attack like he did yesterday.

          It’s just too bad he’s not Belgian, eh? 😉

        • Well, Matthieu lives in Belgium and speaks local Flemish (rather than Hollands) — both are Dutch but the differentiating accents are even stronger than British and American “English”

        • That’s interesting. Of course I can’t tell the difference at all…although I can catch a Walloon accent in French from time to time 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s