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Strade Bianche 2023 preview

2 March 2023
Racing Campagnolo Strade Bianche 2023 preview

Europe’s most ‘southern northern classic ‘is on the horizon with Campagnolo riders and equipment ready to do battle with the white roads

Strade Bianche is on the cusp of the men’s 17th edition and ninth edition of the women’s race 

With its white, gravelly roads and rolling hills, it’s become an instant classic in the eyes of road cyclists all around the world

It also provides a brief respite for riders like those of Campagnolo-using AG2R CITROËN Team from the cobbles and bergs of Belgium. Well, respite is perhaps strong as this draining day stretches out to 184 km, of which 63km are gravel; for the women, it’s 136 km long of which 30 km are on the gravel. 

Per gli atleti come quelli del team AG2R CITROËN che utilizzano Campagnolo, questa gara fornisce anche una breve tregua dalle colline e dal pavé del Belgio. Forse tregua non è la parola giusta, poiché il percorso di gara si estende per 184 km, di cui 63 km sono sterrati; per le donne è di 136 km di cui 30 km su strade bianche. 

Here’s what lies ahead...




Gravel parcours

The parcours is similar to previous years, meaning it’s just as brutal and just as beautiful as ever. It starts in the stunning Tuscan city of Siena before heading out into the idyllic Tuscan countryside. 

Over 184 km, the riders will face 11 stretches of white road that 63km with gravel efforts lasting from 800m to 11.9km. Arguably the most testing is the 11.5km section known as Monte Sante Marie. That’s not purely for the gravel foundations but due to it heading uphill, too.

In fact, metres climbed is well over 2,000 with riders aware of the taxing nature of ascents like Colle Pinzuto that features gradients touching 15%. This is followed by a series of exhilarating descents before a peak ascent of 18% riding back into Piazza del Campo and the Strade Bianche finish line.

It’ll be a magnificent race and one for whom AG2R CITROËN TEAM arguably have an advantage by using Campagnolo’s world-class gear. 



But who from AG2R CITROËN TEAM will challenge come the Siena finish line? At time of press, the two definites in the CITROËN TEAM line-up were Greg van Avermaet and Mikael Cherel.

Incredibly, this is Belgium’s van Avermaet’s 14th Strade Bianche. In 2015, he finished a close second behind Zdenek Stybar. He repeated the runner-up feat in 2017, finishing behind winner Michal Kwiatkowski. 

He’ll ‘warm up’ at the late-February Belgian double-header of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and will look to utilise his white-road experience to challenge for a podium.



Bora Ultra WTO leads the way

He'll certainly have the equipment to do it thanks to Campagnolo’s Bora Ultra WTO wheelset and lauded Campagnolo 12-speed Super Record EPS groupset. Some Campagnolo fans might be surprised that Avermaet and his team won’t use Campagnolo’s Levante wheelset that’s specifically designed and built for the gravel. 

Well, it’s testimony to the strength and durability of the Bora Ultra WTO wheelset that they’ve gone for the Bora series that’s led the way since 1994.

While the Bora Ultra WTO wheelset is aerodynamic and lightweight – clearly no bad thing in a race that while heavily on gravel will still see riders’ average finish speeds come in at over 40km/hr – it’s incredibly resilient

One reason why stems from the fact that Campagnolo’s moulded the nipple and valve holes into the rims, negating the need to drill holes in carbon fibre. This increases internal strength and reduces localised stress, which in turn increases the wheelset’s fatigue life.



The wheelset’s market-leading features are many but hasn’t come at the expense of aesthetics with cute touches like the hubs featuring a mirror-like Campagnolo luxury finish adding a further sprinkling of class. (That said, we suspect this streak of style could well be coated in white gravel dust come Siena!)

Within those hubs sits Campagnolo’s Ceramic Ultimate Level Technology (CULT) bearings that are proven to be more durable than traditional steel bearings and far more efficient; in fact, they offer an incredible 5.5 times less friction than their standard steel counterparts

. In real-world conditions, this would mean that if van Avermaet reached 78km/hr on one of Strade Bianche’s lightening descents and then hypothetically leapt off and held his bike in the air, those Bora Ultra WTO wheels would spin for a staggering 2:45hrs before they reached a standstill. 



Clearly, we wouldn’t recommend Greg take this course of action but you get the point: these are friction light and speed heavy. As many of you will know who ride Bora Ultra WTO wheels. 

As a remind to you and those of you who’ll soon purchase arguably the finest bike wheels in the world, remember to have them periodically checked and lubed properly from an authorised dealer. 

Or, if you’re van Avermaet and team, ask the hard-working mechanics.

Campagnolo wishes all its riders a memorable, safe day at Strade Bianche 2023.


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