03.03.2022 World-Tour, News, Race news
THE CHARM OF STRADE BIANCHE
“The charm. That’s what makes this race so special,” says Soraya Paladin.
“It has everything. Beautiful scenery, rolling gravel roads, ending in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy in front of a passionate crowd. And to win you need to be everything: strong, brave, smart and lucky.”
Soraya will line up with CANYON//SRAM Racing teammates Alena Amialiusik, Elise Chabbey, Tiffany Cromwell, Kasia Niewiadoma and Pauliena Rooijakkers in Saturday’s Strade Bianche. The first edition of the women’s race on the gravel roads of Tuscany was in 2015. It quickly established itself as a favourite amongst riders and fans with the atmosphere around the race intensifying with each passing year. The prestige of a win at Strade Bianche is coming close to matching some of the best spring classics.
Charm and suffering entwined over 135km. The peloton races over eight sectors for a total of 31.6km of gravel with the tension building from sector five, San Martino in Grania, onwards. After this 9.5km sector, comes Vico d’Arbia, Colle Pinzuto and the final gravel climb, Le Tolfe. The last thriller is the 16% gradients of Via Santa Caterina before entering the heart of Siena to cross the finish line in Piazza del Campo.
Soraya explains, “This year I think there’ll be the first split after the longest sector. There are a lot of strong teams so I expect an aggressive race with a lot of attacks and a possibility for a breakaway to survive until the last sector. I hope that we will have the numbers in the final to play with and enter in Piazza del Campo with no regrets.”
After a solid start to her 2022 campaign in Setmana Valenciana, Soraya says she is feeling ready for the opening race of the Women’s World Tour.
“After Valencia, I had some recovery days rest before building up again. I’m feeling good and ready to suffer. We are a strong team and we will be ready to fight,” adds Soraya.
Strade Bianche is the first target race in 2022 for teammate Kasia Niewiadoma, who has finished on the podium in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“In 2014 I did L’Eroica where for the first time I rode on the strade bianche in Tuscany. I had so much fun there! I think this moment of exploring the roads developed my strong feelings for the area. I love how unconventional Strade Bianche is as a race. You need to have it all together on that day in order to win it: great shape, superb bike skills, an amazing team and lots of luck,” says Kasia.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Strade Bianche can be followed on Saturday 5 March on Twitter with #StradeBianche. The race starts at 09:10CET with live broadcasts from 11:30CET on GCN, Eurosport, Sporza, RTBF and L’Equipe.