Strade Bianche 2024

The women's peloton tackle a longer route with more sectors of gravel, but can anyone overcome SD Worx-Protime?

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Strade Bianche
Strade Bianche
  • Dates 2 Mar
  • Race Length 137 kms
  • Start Siena
  • Finish Siena
  • Race Category Elite Women

Published: 6 March, 2024

Strade Bianche Women: Lotte Kopecky takes a second win in a thrilling edition

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) won the revamped 2024 edition of Strade Bianche with an attack on the final climb through the streets of Siena solidifying her second win of the race. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) and her teammate Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime).

Once again, Lidl-Trek was one of the main aggressors with attacks coming from Longo Borghini and Shirin van Anrooij, in particular. Canyon-SRAM was also on the front foot with Kasia Niewiadoma also hitting out several times. By the time the race crested the second and final climb up Le Tolfe, however, SD Worx-Protime had two out of the four riders out front and they were looking like the best two riders in the race, in Vollering and Kopecky.

With only a couple of rollers and the steep pitch up to Siena left to race, the inevitable one-two punch from SD Worx came and ended with their fastest rider of the two, Kopecky, ahead with the slower of two others, Longo Borghini. One acceleration was all that was needed for Kopecks to secure the win in the end.

Read more:

Strade Bianche Women 2024 overview

Now entering into its 10th edition, Strade Bianche has become a staple of the early-season Women’s WorldTour calendar, traditionally falling a week after ‘Opening Weekend’ kickstarts the Classics season.

The race is popular among riders and fans alike as it routinely delivers exciting and attritional racing on the white gravel roads of Umbria and Tuscany that make up most of its route. For some fans and riders, Strade Bianche’s prestige is up there with the biggest one-day races of the year and it certainly has a roll-call of winners that would be the envy of any other race. Annemiek van Vleuten (twice), Anna van der Breggen, Elisa Longo Borghini, Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky are among the race’s past winners.

Thanks to its diverse route, blending gravel with punchy climbs, Strade Bianche also attracts a wide variety of riders, from the Classics specialists aiming to take a confidence-boosting early-season win, to the stage racers who have already honed their form in the warmer climes of Australia and Spain.

Whoever chances their hand at the race will need to be in top form to triumph, with the winner often arriving at the line solo. The last two editions have bucked that trend but a solo rider has triumphed by over 20 seconds in four editions of the race since 2015.

Few would bet against the same outcome once again in 2024, especially with the might of SD Worx-Protime on the start line. The Dutch outfit dominated the 2023 season and will return to the race with last year’s winner and runner up in tow, Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky respectively. While Vollering only started her season on Opening Weekend, Kopecky has already proven her form with overall victory at the UAE Tour. Beating them is an ominous task for the remaining teams.

Strade Bianche Women 2024 key information

When is Strade Bianche 2024? The women's Strade Bianche will run on Saturday, 2 February.

Where does Strade Bianche 2024 take place? Starting and finishing in the Italian city of Siena, Strade Bianche takes place on a mix of gravel and tarmac roads around the regions of Tuscany and Umbria.

Who won Strade Bianche in 2023? The 2023 edition of Strade Bianche was won by Demi Vollering in a two-up sprint against her SD Worx teammate Lotte Kopecky.

When did Strade Bianche start? Strade Bianche first appeared on the men’s calendar in 2007 and a women’s race was launched in 2015. It took on Women’s WorldTour status in 2016.

Who won the first Strade Bianche? The first edition of Strade Bianche Women in 2015 was won by Boels-Dolmans’ Megan Guarnier.

Who has the most wins at Strade Bianche? Annemiek van Vleuten has won two of the nine editions of Strade Bianche, more than anyone else.

Strade Bianche Women 2024 route: more gravel in toughest route yet

At 137km in length, the 2024 women's Strade Bianche is only 1km longer than last year’s edition, but hidden within those kilometres is the most challenging route ever served up by the race. As usual, it will criss-cross the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside, mixing stretches of tarmac with tough white gravel roads, along with multiple short but punchy climbs on a route that begins and ends in Siena.

Last year, riders took on eight sectors of the iconic gravel but that’s been upped to 12 in 2024, covering 40.4km of the 137km route. Each of them is rated from one through to five stars, based on the difficulty. This includes two new sectors introduced to the race for the first time. The first of the two new sectors comes 30km from the finish and measures 1.1km in length on largely flat terrain. The second is just under 15km later, and is 3.3km long.

By this point only a select group of riders are likely to be in contention for the win in what is often an attritional race. History tells us that there’s a good chance that a rider will strike out solo to take the win, but if a group is still together heading into the final kilometres, the now iconic Via Santa Caterina climb up to the centre of Siena will play host to the final showdown. With pitches of 16%, it’s brutal and the slopes only relent within a few hundred metres of the line, which is reached via a short downhill run.

Read more: Strade Bianche route adds two new gravel sectors and increases men's distance to 215km

Strade Bianche Women 2024 contenders

SD Worx dominated Strade Bianche Women in 2023 as Demi Vollering edged out teammate Lotte Kopecky in a sprint to the line. The result epitomised the team’s dominance in 2023, a season in which they were virtually unbeatable for long stretches.

Ominously for the rest of the field, the duo will take to the start line once again in 2024 and it will take an impressive performance to stop them. Last year’s third-place finisher Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ) will be one of their biggest threats having shown some strong early-season form, including a stage win at the Women’s Tour Down Under. The Danish rider has finished in the top 10 in the last seven editions of the race.

Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) only raced twice on the road last season but one of those days was Strade Bianche, where she finished 5th. The young Dutch rider should pose a threat fresh off the back of another strong cyclo-cross season.

Elsewhere, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) has proven her off-road prowess after being crowned the gravel world champion, while other standout names includes Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek), Mavi García (Liv AlUla Jayco) and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (AG Insurance-Soudal).

Which teams are racing at Strade Bianche Women 2024?

Strade Bianche will be raced by all of the Women’s WorldTour teams barring Roland. They’ll be joined by 10 Continental teams to make up 24 squads of six riders.

Women’s WorldTour teams

  • AG Insurance-Soudal
  • Canyon-SRAM Racing
  • Ceratizit-WNT
  • dsm-firmenich PostNL
  • Fenix-Deceuninck
  • Human Powered Health
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Liv AlUla Jayco
  • Movistar
  • SD Worx-Protime
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • UAE Team ADQ
  • Uno-X Pro Cycling

Continental teams

  • Aromitalia 3T Vaiano
  • BePink-Bongioanni
  • BTC City Ljubljana Zhiraf Ambedo
  • Cofidis Women
  • EF Education-Cannondale
  • Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria
  • Laboral Kutxa-Fundación Euskadi
  • Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team
  • Team Mendelspeck Ge-Man
  • Top Girls Fassa Bortolo

Find the full start list here.

What happened at Strade Bianche Women in 2023?

The 2023 edition of Strade Bianche proved to be eventful for multiple reasons.

As is often the case, the peloton slowly whittled down until only a small group of contenders were left battling for the win, but the other teams were powerless in the face of Demi Vollering’s race-deciding attack just before the final gravel sector. None of her competitors were able to derail the SD Worx rider's charge, but a stray horse nearly did, causing a momentary scare.

Vollering’s SD teammate Lotte Kopecky then bridged across and nothing could separate the pair on the devilishly steep Via Santa Caterina climb into Siena. It all came down to a sprint on the downhill run to the line and it was Vollering who edged to the win, denying Kopecky a second consecutive victory at the race.

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