RCS Sport announced the men’s and women’s race routes for the 2016 Strade Bianche, an up-and-coming spring classic held in Tuscany, Italy on March 5. Both courses will start at Siena’s Medicean Fortress, featuring the region’s white gravel roads, and finish in Piazza del Campo, as is tradition. The 2016 event will be the 10th running of the men’s race and the second edition of the women’s race.
“This event is having more and more success in the international cycling panorama,” said RCS Sport’s director of cycling, Mauro Vegni. “This is demonstrated by the level of riders and media attending the races, year after year.” This year’s Strade Bianche champions were Czech Zdenek Stybar and American Megan Guarnier.
Men’s route: 176km, nine gravel sectors (52.8km)
The first undulating kilometers are on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km gravel sector at kilometer 11, which is straight and slightly uphill. The first hill of the day follows — the Passo del Rospatoio (paved, roughly 5km at 5 percent). One of the race’s classic gravel sectors (5.5km) comes next, after Murlo. The Montalcino climb is next, the second of the day (4km at 5 percent). After Torrenieri, the riders will face gravel sectors three (11.9km) and four (8km) with only 1km of tarmac in between. Both are hard, hilly, very punchy and with many bends, climbs, and descents.
After the Ponte d’Arbia feed station, the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of the San Martino in Grania sector (9.5km), a long stretch of gravel with continuous ups and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb. In Ponte del Garbo (Asciano), the sixth gravel sector begins. At 11.5km mostly uphill, it’s the hardest of the race. After a short, 300m section of flat gravel, the peloton will face the seventh sector, which is only 800m, but has a double-digit gradient ramp before returning to tarmac in Vico d’Arbia. Next comes the penultimate sector (2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto with gradients up to 15 percent. Finally, the route serves up one last sector (1.1km), which features a sequence of a demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb that hits a maximum grade of 18 percent, ending at the Tolfe. Then, only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.
Women’s route: 121km, seven gravel sectors (22.4km)
The first Women’s WorldTour race of the season will start off on the same route as the men before cutting over to the San Martino in Grania (9.5km) sector at the first passage through Buonconvento, where the Ponte d’Arbia feed station is located. After passing through Guistrigona, a short 1km gravel sector joins back to the classic men’s course with its demanding finale.
The next sector is a short, 300m section of flat gravel, followed by another relatively short stretch of gravel — only 800m — but this fifth sector has a double-digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia. Next comes the penultimate sector (2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto with gradients up to 15 percent. Finally, the route has one last sector (1.1km), a sequence of a demanding descents followed by a very punchy climb that hits a max grade of 18 percent. From there, only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.