Strade Bianche - Eroica Pro

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Strade Bianche - Eroica Pro
Eroica Pro 2015 Logo.jpeg
Race details
Date Early March
Region Tuscany, Italy
Local name(s) Strade Bianche - Eroica Pro (Italian)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI Europe Tour 1.HC
Type Single-day
Organiser RCS Sport
Race director Mauro Vegni
First edition 2007 (2007)
Editions 9 (as of 2015)
First winner  Alexandr Kolobnev (RUS)
Most wins  Fabian Cancellara (SUI) (2 wins)
Most recent  Zdeněk Štybar (CZE)

The Strade Bianche - Eroica Pro, also known as Strade Bianche, is a road bicycle race in Tuscany, Central Italy, with a finish in Siena. It has been held annually since 2007, on the first or second Saturday of March. The name Strade Bianche (Italian for White Streets) stems from the historic white gravel roads that are a defining feature of the race. More than 50 km of the 200 km total are raced on dirt roads.

Despite its short history, the Strade Bianche has gained prestige fast.[1] The race is part of the UCI Europe Tour as a 1.HC event on the professional cycling calendar. It is organized by RCS Sport - La Gazzetta dello Sport, and is held the weekend before Tirreno–Adriatico as an early spring precursor to the cobbled classics in April.

Since 2015, a women's event, the Strade Bianche Donne, is held on the same day as the men's race. It is raced at half the distance of the men's race, containing 17 km of gravel roads spread over five sectors.[2]


Eroica 2008 Finish
Fabian Cancellara won the 2008 Eroica in a two-man sprint with Alessandro Ballan

Monte Paschi Eroica[edit]

The Eroica Strade Bianche ("Heroic race of the gravel roads") was created in 1997 as a granfondo, a recreational bike race for vintage bikes only, on the white gravel roads around Siena,[3] an event that continues to this day. In 2007, a professional race was spun off the event, inaugurally called Monte Paschi Eroica, won by Russian Alexandr Kolobnev. The race was held in October; it started in Gaiole in Chianti and finished in Siena. Monte Paschi, the world's oldest still-existing bank with its headquarters in Siena, served as the race's title sponsor for the first four years.

In 2008 it moved to early March on the calendar, closer to the heart of the European classics season.[4] Swiss Fabian Cancellara won the second edition. In 2009, organizers changed the name of the race to Strade Bianche - Eroica Toscana and in 2010 to Strade Bianche. The race was also lengthened 9 km (5.6 mi) and one more gravel sector was added, taking the total unsealed sections to 57 kilometres.[5] In 2014 the start of the race was moved to San Gimignano.[6]

Strade Bianche Eroica Pro[edit]

Although a young event, the race gained the status of an 'instant classic', garnering lots of media attention and soon becoming a desirable entry in classics riders’ palmares.[7] In 2015, its name changed to Strade Bianche - Eroica Pro after the creation of a women's version, and UCI upgraded the event to 1.HC, the highest rating for a non-World Tour single-day cycling event. Due to the nature of the race and its place on the calendar, the field is usually made up of riders taking part in Tirreno–Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

Among the winners of the first nine editions feature Fabian Cancellara, Philippe Gilbert and Michał Kwiatkowski on a very international prizelist. In 2013 Moreno Moser became only the first Italian winner of the Strade Bianche. Swiss classics specialist Cancellara is the only rider to have won the race two times.


Aerial view of Piazza del Campo in Siena, scene of the finish of the Strade Bianche


The race starts in San Gimignano and finishes in Siena, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The route consists of 197 kilometres over hilly terrain crossing the southern Tuscan province of Siena, including ten sectors of gravel roads, totaling 57.2 km (35.5 mi) of dirt road.[8][9] The finish is on Siena's illustrious Piazza del Campo, after a steep and narrow climb with a roughly paved surface leading into the heart of the medieval city.[10] In 2014 Michał Kwiatkowski distanced Peter Sagan on the final stretches.[11]

Gravel roads[edit]

The white gravel roads, characteristic of the Tuscan countryside, provide the unique character of the race. They are usually country lanes and farm tracks, called strade bianche or sterrati in Italian, twisting through the hills and vineyards of the Chianti region.[12] The longest and most arduous sectors are the ones in Lucignano d’Asso (9.5km) and Asciano (11km).[13] Some of the dirt roads are flat, other sections include steep climbs and winding descents, testing riders' climbing abilities and bike handling skills. Positioning and route knowledge often prove vital.

Race organizers were inspired by the two most famous northern classics, uniting the peculiarities of the Tour of Flanders with its bergs (short stretches of steep hills), and Paris–Roubaix with its grueling cobblestone sections.[14] It has been called Italy's answer to Flanders' most iconic one-day races, as reflected by the promotional slogan of the 2015 edition: La Classica del Nord più a sud d'Europa (Europe's most southern Northern Classic).[14]


Rider Team
2007 Russia Kolobnev, AlexandrAlexandr Kolobnev (RUS) Team CSC
2008 Switzerland Cancellara, FabianFabian Cancellara (SUI) Team CSC
2009 Sweden Lovkvist, ThomasThomas Lövkvist (SWE) Team Columbia-High Road
2010 Kazakhstan Iglinsky, MaximMaxim Iglinsky (KAZ) Astana
2011 Belgium Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2012 Switzerland Cancellara, FabianFabian Cancellara (SUI) RadioShack-Nissan
2013 Italy Moser, MorenoMoreno Moser (ITA) Cannondale
2014 Poland Kwiatkowski, MichałMichał Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2015 Czech Republic Štybar, ZdeněkZdeněk Štybar (CZE) Etixx-Quick Step

Mulitiple winners[edit]

Wins Rider Editions
2  Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 2008 + 2012

Wins per Country[edit]

Wins Country
2   Switzerland
1  Belgium
 Czech Republic
Megan Guarnier, first winner of the Strade Bianche Donne

Strade Bianche for Women Elite[edit]

Main article: Strade Bianche Donne

Since 2015, a women's event, the Strade Bianche Donne, is organized on the same day as the men's race. The women's race is 103 km, featuring 17 km of gravel roads, with a start in San Geminiano and finish in Siena. [15] The inaugural edition was won by American cyclist Megan Guarnier.[16]


Rider Team
2015 United States Guarnier, MeganMegan Guarnier (USA) Boels-Dolmans


When a cyclist wins the race three times, one of the streches of dirt roads will be named after him.[14] This feat has not happened yet.


  1. ^ "Almost as Good as Homemade". The Service Course. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Farrand, Stephen (16 January 2015). "Women's Strade Bianche race route revealed". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  3. ^ 2nd Edition Monte Paschi Eroica at the Daily Peloton - Pro Cycling News Retrieved on 2008-03-24.
  4. ^ Second Edition of Monte Paschi Eroica - Eroica's status grows with new springtime date Retrieved on 2008-03-24.
  5. ^ 3rd Montepaschi Strade Bianche - Eroica Toscana - 1.1 Retrieved on 2010-03-07.
  6. ^ Farrand, Stephen. "Strade Bianche Preview: Sagan, Cancellara, Wiggins and Valverde to clash on the dirt roads of Tuscany". CyclingNews. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Almost as Good as Homemade". The Service Course. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Strade Bianche Website Retrieved on 2014-06-30
  9. ^ Puddicombe, Stephen. "Strade Bianche 2015 preview". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Brown, Gregor. "Preview: Strade Bianche promises to be a strongman’s race". Velo News. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Benson, Daniel. "Kwiatkowski wins Strade Bianche". CyclingNews. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Hunter, David. "Strade Bianche 2015 Preview". Ciclismo Internacional. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  13. ^ Farrand, Stephen. "Strade Bianche Preview: Cancellara faces Sagan, Nibali, Stybar and Valverde". CyclingNews. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Aiesi, Samuele. "Strade Bianche: storia, curiosità, statistiche e pronostici". Fantagazzetta. Redazione Scommesse Fantagazzetta. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  15. ^ Frattini, Kirsten. "Inaugural women’s Strade Bianche to include five gravel sectors". CyclingNews. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  16. ^ "Guarnier wins Strade Bianche 2015". CyclingNews. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 

External links[edit]