Starting from the Medici Fortress of Siena the women tackle the first gravel sector at kilometre 17.6. It’s 2.1 kilometres and perfectly straight. The day’s first climb coincides with the second sector, 5.8 kilometres in length and with the first double digit ramps of the day. Two sectors with no significant gradients run to Buonconvento, where the women reach 13 kilometres on smooth and flat asphalt.
The next gravel sector appears halfway through Strade Bianche Donne. At 9.5 kilometres, sector 5 is the longest gravel path of the race. Continuous up and downs in the first part make way for a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again.
Now we enter the quiet for the storm – that is, in theory. For 34 kilometres the race stays on paved roads. Then a 800 metres gravel sector coincides with double digit gradients. Almost without delay the riders tackle the penultimate gravel road. Sector 7 is 2.4 kilometres and climbs up the Strade di Colle Pinzuto with gradients of up to 15%. The hardest ramps appear early on, although the dust sector continues to climb gradually until the end.
At a little over 1 kilometre, the last gravel sector opens with a demanding descent to continue onto a very punchy climb with a steepest stretch at 18%. When reaching the tarmac again in the village Le Tolfe there are 12 kilometres left to race.
Twisting and undulating roads run to a descent with 5 kilometres out. The route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda and shortly the gradient touches 9%. The riders pass beneath the Fontebranda Gate with only 900 metres to go. The road continues on paving slabs and the gradient exceeds 10%. A 16% ramp inside the last 500 metres, then a sharp right hand turn with 300 metres to go before the climb flattens out. In the last 70 metres the route of the Strade Bianche enters the Piazza del Campo and the final 30 metres are downhill.
Kasia Niewiadoma will be eager to win. The Polish rider finished in second on last three editions. World Champion Anna van der Breggen is title holder.
Other interesting reads:
– results/race report 2019 women’s Strade Bianche
– start list
Strade Bianche for women 2019: route, elevation, more
Click on the images to zoom