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Strade Bianche 2020 gallery: a scorching return for WorldTour racing

In-depth
3 Aug 2020
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The best photos from the 2020 men's Strade Bianche

Words Joe Robinson Photography Chris Auld

The 2020 men’s WorldTour season resumed after four months off with Strade Bianche on Saturday 1st August as bike racing returned to a world so removed from the world we knew before.

The semi-Classic through the rolling Tuscan countryside has quickly become one of the highlights on the racing calendar thanks to its use of the white ‘strade bianche’ gravel roads. It’s an attritional race that has seen a broad church of riders prosper, from Grand Tour contenders to one-day specialists.

This year’s edition, however, was truly unique. Not just because its field of riders were pinning on numbers after the longest period without bike racing since the Second World War but because this Classic that usually takes place in March was being run in the scorching heat of August.

Temperatures soared to 37 degrees as the dry gravel paths painted each rider in dust. By the finish, it looked as if there was a peloton of miners rather than cyclists.

As each and every rider struggled to cope with the heat and brutally hard racing, only 42 actually made it to the finish. Many favourites – Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe and Peter Sagan – succumbed to a catalogue of mechanicals and punctures. Others fell foul of crashes, like Vincenzo Nibali.

Eventually, it was cyclocross star Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma who took the victory, a just reward after two consecutive podiums at the race. He managed to skip away from the lead group 12km from the finish and solo to the win ahead of Davide Formolo of UAE-Team Emirates and Max Schachmann of Bora-Hansgrohe.

Here we showcase Chris Auld’s photos from a race that featured facemasks, fatigue and a noticeable lack of fans on the final Santa Caterina climb into Siena.