Sign up for our newsletter


Strade Bianche 2021: Route, riders and all you need to know

Cyclist magazine
5 Mar 2021

Key information about the 2021 Strade Bianche women's and men's races, which will take place on Saturday 6th March 2021

How long does it take for something to be considered ‘a classic’? Despite 2021 only being the race's 15th edition, Strade Bianche has quickly become one of the most prestigious one-day races outside of the five Monuments, so much so that it was promoted to the WorldTour in 2017.

With its gravel roads and punchy climbs, Strade Bianche has suited the Classics men and women with many who hold ambitions at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix shining brightly at this Italian race. However, more traditional climbers like Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego have also fared well in the past.

The most successful rider at Strade Bianche is Fabian Cancellara with three victories in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The most recent champion is Wout van Aert who left Davide Formolo for dust 13 kilometres before the finish line atop the final climb in Siena.

Strade Bianche also runs a women's race on the same day and like the men's event, this has fast become one of the most important days in the calendar.

The first women's Strade Bianche was held in 2015 and was won by Megan Guarnier with Britain’s Lizzie Deignan taking victory in 2016. In 2019, Annemiek van Vleuten dominated proceedings and won solo in Siena. Last year things were only slightly closer, with the Dutchwoman dropping Margarita Victoria García a hundred metres from the line.

Strade Bianche 2021: Key information

Date: Saturday 6th March 2021   
Start: Siena   
Finish: Siena  
Distance: Men's – 184km; Women's – 136km  
Gravel Sections: Men's – 11; Women's – 8  
UK television coverage: Eurosport, GCN  

Back to its normal spot

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year's Strade Bianche was moved to 1st August. Leaving riders to race through baking hot conditions, this year it returns to its normal early March spot.

Taking place on Saturday 6th March, it’s the third major one-day race of the season, coming the weekend after the season-opening double of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Strade Bianche 2021: How to watch

For a full lowdown on how to watch live coverage of the men's and women's Strade Bianche, visit our guide here.

Strade Bianche 2021: Routes

Strade Bianche 2021 men's race preview

Now well settled into its route, the men's 2021 Strade Bianche will be 184km long tackling 11 sections of the 'strade bianche' (white roads) through the rolling hills of Tuscany on its out and back loop from Siena.

The 11 sections of gravel road constitute 60.6km of the race with sections lasting from as little as 800m up to the more challenging distances of 11.5km and 11.9km.

These two lengthy segments bookend an 8km and 9.5km section helping make the middle part of the race the most challenging and exciting.

The 11.5km section of gravel, Monte Sante Marie, is usually deemed the most difficult section not only for that fact it takes the peloton on the unstable gravelled road but that it is also predominantly uphill.

The gravel is not the only challenge for the peloton with a steep climb back into Piazza del Campo, Siena finishing the race. This climb tackles double-figured gradients and has been the deciding factor in who has won the race on many occasions.

Strade Bianche 2021 route and profile – men's

Strade Bianche 2021 women's race preview

The 2021 Strade Bianche women's race tackles eight sections of gravel roads distancing 31.6km over the 136km route, which also starts and finishes in Siena.

While the women's peloton will not tackle the two 11km sections of gravel, it will take on the 9.5km uphill section of San Martino in Grania which will be the toughest part of the course. They will also have to tackle the same uphill finish into Siena.

Strade Bianche 2021 route and profile – women's

Confirmed riders and favourites

Men's race 

With its start list still filling up, the 2021 edition of the men’s Strade Bianche looks like it’ll make for fascinating racing. Jumbo-Visma will support last year’s winner Wout van Aert, while his long-time rival Mathieu van der Poel will also be in attendance.

Ineos Grenadiers currently only have two riders down, the intriguing pairing of Egan Bernal and Tom Pidcock. A classic that suits the climbers, UAE Team Emirates will also be backing Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar in what will be his first serious outing of the season besides the UAE Tour.

Women's race

As of early February, there are only six women racers confirmed. But seeing they include Movistar’s Annemiek van Vleuten and the Trek-Segafredo duo of Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini they could probably put on quite a good show between themselves, having collectively won four of the six previous editions. 

Strade Bianche 2021: Men's teams 

WorldTour teams

Astana-Premier Tech  
Bahrain Victorious  
EF Education-Nippo  
Ineos Grenadiers  
Intermarché-Wanty Gobert Matériaux  
Israel Start-Up Nation  
Lotto Soudal  
Qhubeka Assos  
Team BikeExchange  
Team DSM  
UAE Team Emirates

ProTeam wildcards

Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec  
Vini Zabù  

Strade Bianche 2021: Women's teams

A.R. Monex  
Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano  
Born To Win G20 Ambedo  
FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitane Futuroscope  
Jumbo-Visma Women  
Liv Racing  
Lotto-Soudal Ladies  
Parkhotel Valkenburg  
Servetto-Makhymo-Beltrami TSA  
Team BikeExchange  
Team DSM  
Team SD Worx  
Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  
Valcar - Travel & Service

Strade Bianche men's previous winners

2020: Wout van Aert (BEL) Team Jumbo–Visma
2019: Julain Alaphilippe (FRA) Deceuninck-QuickStep
2018: Tiesj Benoot (BEL) Lotto-Soudal
2017: Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Team Sky
2016: Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Trek-Segafredo
2015: Zdenek Stybar (CZE) Etixx Quick-Step
2014: Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step
2013: Moreno Moser (ITA) Cannondale Pro Cycling
2012: Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Radioshack-Nissan
2011: Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega-Pharma Lotto
2010: Maxim Iglinsky (KAZ) Astana
2009: Thomas Lovkvist (SWE) Team Colombia-HTC
2008: Fabian Cancellara (SUI) CSC ProTeam
2007: Alexandr Kolobnev (RUS) CSC ProTeam

Strade Bianche women's previous winners

2020: Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) Mitchelton–Scott
2019: Annemiek van Vleuten (NED) Mitchelton-Scott
2018: Anna van der Breggen (NED) Boels-Dolmans
2017: Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) Wiggle-High5
2016: Lizzie Deignan (GBR) Boels-Dolmans
2015: Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels-Dolmans

Check out Strade Bianche 2020 gallery: a scorching return for WorldTour racing 

Read more about: