The Mens Strade Bianche will be elevated to a World Tour event in 2017 as part of an expansion to the World Tour calendar which has also raised other events like the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race to the top level of competition. 

Starting in 2007 as a companion professional race, the Monte Paischi Eroica, to a gran fondo race run over the course, the race has attracted a lot of attention for its unique scenery, combined with the challenging racing on offer. The organisers changed its name in 2015 to what was previously the race's nickname, Strade Bianche. 

The 'strade bianche' or white roads of the region give an interesting obstacle for the peloton to tackle. Not quite as tough as cobbles for the most part, they are nonetheless selective with most past editions seeing a small group or a solo rider making it to the final climb into the central square of Siena. 

After winning the event for the third time this season, Fabian Cancellara will have one of the toughest sections on the course named for him. 

Cancellara etches his name in Strade Bianche history
Veteran Fabian Cancellara proved his legs are as strong as ever ahead of the Spring Classics season as he won the Strade Bianche race for the third time in Italy on Saturday.
Armitstead repeats for Boels-Dolmans at Strade Bianche
World Champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) has won the second edition of Strade Bianche.

Fitting for Cancellara, as the race will be his most prestigious victory in his final season as a professional cyclist, unless he creates an upset in the Olympic time trial.

The women's race is already at World Tour level, despite having only one previous running of the race. The 2017 race will also be the first womens World Tour event of the season. 

Like the mens event, the womens already attracts the top riders in the sport, with Lizzie Armitstead and Megan Guarnier the two names on the winners list so far.

Tuesday 9 Aug 2016