Organizers of Italy’s Strade Bianche have decided to go ahead with the traditional routes for men and women for the rescheduled 2020 edition, which will now run August 1.
On Wednesday race owner RCS Sport — which also organizes the Giro d’Italia — confirmed the routes: 184km for men and 136km for women.
Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport cycling director said, “Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite will mark the restart also for us at RCS Sport. Strade Bianche will in fact be the first race on our calendar, an interesting test for the rest of the season.”
“In addition to symbolizing the restart of cycling in Italy, these races also want to be a restart, not only from a sporting point of view but also from a tourist point of view, since cycling is closely connected to the promotion of the territory.”
The decision to follow the traditional route unchanged stands in contrast to route choices made by other one-day classics. In June, Belgian organizers Flanders Classics unveiled new race routes for 2020 that are shorter than the traditional distances. Flanders Classics shortened the total distances for the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs, and De Brabantse Pijl.
Strade Bianche marks one of the first major events to return to the schedule after the months-long racing shutdown due to COVID-19. Both the men’s and women’s pelotons will start and finish atop a 16 percent grade at the Piazza del Campo, in Sienna.
The men will race 11 sectors totaling 63km of gravel roads—about a third of the total route distance of 184 kilometers.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the 2019 edition of the men’s Strade-Bianchi.
The women’s event will depart just a few hours prior to the men’s start, and will take on eight sectors — all of which are covered by the men’s route — and 31.4km of the unpaved course, for slightly less than a quarter of the 134-kilometer distance.
Eight UCI Women’s WorldTour teams along with the top seven UCI Women’s Continental teams have been confirmed. Eight wildcard team invites for the women’s race have yet to be announced.
The 2019 Women’s Strade Bianche was won by world champion Annemiek van Vleuten.
Vegni commented that the Strade Bianche will follow all Italian health regulations as well as adhering to UCI recommendations to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are confident that these events will take place in the best way and always in compliance with the rules. We confirm the consolidated route of Strade Bianche that, for some years, has contributed to making ‘Europe’s most southern northern classic’ a point of reference among the great Classics on the international calendar,” Vegni said in a communication from RCS Sport.