Tuscany’s white gravel roads take centre stage on Saturday (March 4) for the 11th Strade Bianche, a race fast becoming an integral part of the Classics season.
Since its first edition in 2007, the Siena race – which blends gravel sections with tough, short, steep climbs and an uphill finish – has grown rapidly in popularity and, for the first time this year, is now part of the UCI WorldTour.
And with 2016 champion and three-time winner Fabian Cancellara now retired, those white gravel roads are waiting to crown a new king in Siena this weekend.
A stellar startlist has been attracted to the race, which thanks to its varied parcours appeals to a broad spectrum of riders, from the rufty-tufty Classics specialists to those with a penchant for steep climbs.
So who will triumph on Tuscany’s chalky white roads this weekend? We’ve picked out six leading contenders…