In the dust of the Strade Bianche

photo: Cor Vos

One of the fascinating one-day classics comes out of Tuscany on the unpaved roads and short steep climbs called Strade Bianche. Riders toil over narrow, twisting gravel paths over scenic Tuscan hills. To cycling fans, hits as a romantic spot as a modern classic. For the riders; 176 kilometres of medieval characteristics including 52.8 kilometres of white strada. A demanding course as they ride up the nasty climbs and descents - trying not to fall. The longest section is 12 kilometres and the steepest section at 18% is 1.1 kilometres. Entering the ancient city of Siena, an 'welcoming' 16% sector awaits the riders before the finish on the famous square,  Il Campo. Last year's winner, Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet (2nd) and Alejandro Valverde (3rd) are once again front runners.

My podium..

Peter Sagan, proving to be on form, should be able to take care of the climbs and has the handling skills to negotiate the white roads to win his first classic of the season. The up and coming Tiesj Benoot (2nd) and Omloop winner, Greg Van Avermaet (3rd).

2016 Strade Bianche: March 5, First edition: 2007, 176km, out and back to Siena, 52.8km of white gravel roads

Start List.

Before the finish on Il Campo, there's a 16% sector to climb...