The eighth edition of Strade Bianche sees the race move to a new start and will include two more sectors of “white roads”, organiser RCS has announced.
The 2014 race remains around Siena but it will begin in San Gimignano, which is nearly 50 kilometres west of the race’s previous start in Gaiole in Chianti. The move makes the race nine kilometres longer than last year’s edition.
A total of 10 sections of white roads will be tackled by the peloton. While the number of kilometres raced over the Strade Bianchi has been reduced, from 57.2 to 45.4, four of the sectors come in quick succession.
The peloton will enter the second section along the route at kilometre 48 and leave section five at kilometre 84. RCS technical director Mauro Vegni believes that this run of gravel sections will make the race more of a challenge.
"The Strade Bianche is a jewel in the international cycling scene. This year the route is technically more difficult than in the past, given the greater number of sections of earthworks at the start.”
There are some changes to the second half of the route too, with the race avoiding Buonconvento. The sections of Monte Sante Marie makes the cut from last year route. It is the only one with a five star difficulty rating and could easily scupper someone’s chances of victory.
Le Tolfe is the 10th and final section of the day. The three star piece of road is challenging but short, at 1.1km. It begins with a steep descent, before rearing up again and reaching 18% gradients on the small climb. Once they exit Le Tolfe, the riders will have 12km to go to the line.
The finish towards the Piazza del Campo in Siena remains the same. With gradients up to 16% in the final two kilometres before the line, it is not a straightforward finish. Few races have ended with more than once rider sprinting for glory.
Strade Bianche began in 2007 as the Eroica, inspired by the gran fondo of the same name. The race saw its first Italian winner last season, when Moreno Moser led home his teammate Peter Sagan. It continues to gain popularity with the Classics riders and the addition of Roma Maxima the following day has added to its appeal.
Morser’s Cannondale team is one of the 18 to be invited back this year. There are a total of 11 WorldTour teams taking part, including two-time winner Fabian Cancellara’s Trek Factory Racing.