On Saturday the Italian one-day classic the Montepaschi Strade Bianche, formerly called the Montepaschi Eroica, runs for the 4th consecutive year. Famed for it’s 55km of dusty white marble roads (Strade Bianche) the 190km race into Siena features an undulating course with the Via Santa Caterina and it’s 16% climb at the 500m mark just before the finish.
Previous winners of the race are Alexandr Kolobnev in ’07, Fabian Cancellara in ’08 and Thomas Lövkvist last year. I found TV coverage on RAI 3 at 16:25 for an hour…Giancarlo’s @ 7:25am PST for espresso?
Watch a short Garmin-Slipstream documentary after the jump (13m:50s)
The race dropped the name Eroica (Italian for Heroic) seemingly due to similarities with the October period specific cyclo-touristic ride L’Eroica which sets out to preserve the ever-threatened dusty white roads, of the races of yesteryear. However, some pros even get into the fun of things and the casual nature as one Gilberto Simoni has ridden in the October event.
Riders participating this year in the pro event in March include defending champ and Team Sky rider Lövkvist, a slew of Saxo Bank riders: Schleck, Cancellara, Breschel and O’Grady. BMC are betting with Ballan and Evans with Mauro Santambrogio joining in for some trouble making. Fillippo Pozzato will have Kim Kirchen with him and will be joining other Italians such as Gavazzi, both Masciarellis, Ginanni, Garzelli, Bertolini and Bertagnolli.
*You really should watch this in fullscreen*