Strade Bianche 2022

Strade Bianche is a brilliant race. The graveled road of Tuscany always brings an exciting race to watch from a long way out. There have been no changes to the route in 2022 compared to 2021, so let’s dive right into it.

Below is the planimetry.

Map 2022 Strade Bianche

S. Martino in Grania.

In the last few editions, the race has first truly started at the San Martino section that starts with 72.6 km left of the stage. Below, you can see it has some really tough gradients. It is here the peloton will gradually be torn apart and the first riders will crash or puncture. It comes right after a right turn, you will see a furious pace towards the corner to get the best possible position.

This is where you send out your satellite riders. We had 16 riders (including three from the breakaway) make a move just over the top.

Monte San Marie

This is now sector 8. It begins with 54 km left. Once again, right after a corner means the peloton will automatically be at a high pace. It is quite similar to the previous one, with two hard hills and lumpy terrain. The riders will still be tired from their previous effort – this is most likely the main event of the day.


Is the third to last gravel section. It comes 23.5 km from the finish line. Just how hard it is? It was here Wout van Aert got dropped the first time last year.

Colle Pinzuto

The second to last. Very, very hard at the bottom and 19.2 km left. It is not long after the Monteaperti, that effort will still be in the legs.

Le Tolfe.

The last gravel section. A flying downhill and then 300 meters of pain at 13.5%. MvdP slaughtered his companions here last year, with Alaphilippe bearly hanging on and Bernal later closing the gap. Gogl, Pidcock, WvA and Pogacar got dropped.

The finale

You know it already. The last effort to the finish line.


The wind will blow from the NE with 6 m/s. That is quite significant. That means we have a headwind on S. Martino in Grania and Monte San Marie. It also means we have potential echelons, which means an even higher pace throughout the stage.

There is a chance of echelons in the valley between Percenna and the first S. Martino in Grania and Monte San Marie. It is roughly 13.5 km and very open. I would say 6 m/s is on the edge of being enough for echelons. It will be cold, but no rain.

The xPless™ idea.

Sector 7: San Martino. This sector is where the breakaway is often caught and we see anticipatory moves or moves to control the race. We had a group of 16 riders at the front after this section last year. It is only likely we will see it again. Look at the anticipatory moves/moves to control.

Sector 8: Monte Sante Marie. Is often the most decisive section. This year with a cross-headwind that is quite strong. We see the first favorites make their move to thin out and catch the moves on San Martino.

Sector 9: Monteaperti. This climb is very tough. Last year, Pidcock and Wout van Aert got dropped the first time here.

Perhaps it is a bit ambitious with so many riders making it, but I think the headwind will play a role. On the other hand, you can argue the crosswind may make it even more decisive.

Sector 9: Colle Pinzutto. I do not think a lot will happen here. I think some riders in the front want to conserve energy, we saw that last year. Other riders will try to get away between sector 8 and sector 9. Some hope to bring a teammate back.

Sector 10: Le Tolfe. It is time to separate the goats from the sheep. I think the race decisive move will be made here. 300 meters at 13.5% on gravel.

The finale.

I think Alaphilippe, Pogacar and Valverde will battle it out on the final climb.


Alaphillipe loves this race. He was good in Provence and he was good in the two French one-day races last week. Quick-Step has a good team. Honoré should be better after illness and Devenyns and Vervaeke have provided strong help at the beginning of the season. Mauro Schmid won the gravel stage in Giro d’Italia last year. They might not look strong because they do not bring the A+team but they still have one of the best teams here.

Pogacar is probably the only real GC contender that can win this race. I think it is great UAE to bring Covi, he should be able to help him deep into the finale which will be a fantastic asset to have. He won the UAE Tour, again, and did a very good job here last time. Now he knows the route better, which is a plus for him. Can he outpunch Alaphilippe? It is a tough call.

Valverde is one of my favorites for the following reasons. Experience, form and attributes. He has had a wonderful start to the season, currently sitting 2nd in the PCS season individual ranking. He has raced here before and has two podiums, some years ago. He has a lot of experience in one-day races. Probably the most by all. He has proved this year and last year, he still has a punch. I just do not think he can beat Alaphillipe.

Wellens is in very good form too. He was third here some years back and Lotto-Soudal brings a good team. Against the very best, I do not think he stands a chance. He will hope to make an anticipatory move at some point to get out in front of the two big race favorites.

Benoot is in stellar shape. He was very good on the opening weekend. He wants to make the difference on the gravel sections, but we have a headwind there. I do not think he can follow the attacks on Le Tolfe. He will finish in the group behind the winners.

Mohoric is a rider I hope to see do well. Something tells me he will. He is good on short, steep climbs and the opening weekend told us, he knows how to handle uneasy surfaces. He is a good bike handler and the tricky course suits him. I just do not think he has the raw power to follow the big moves.

Clarke is my shot for Israel – Premier Tech. In need of a contract by the end of last season really has motivated him to perform very well in February. He is in the same category as Wellens and Benoot. He will need a gap before Tolfe.

Narvaez is in my opinion the best man for this race from INEOS. His results do not say anything about his current level. He was strong in both OHN and KBK. I doubt he will win, but the current form will take him a long way.

Cosnefroy is a man I do not have high hopes for and rarely do. 3rd in Drome Classic is a good result and he previously has had good results on cobbles and gravel. He has a good punch too. I fear for him because of the crosswinds. AG2R does not have the best team. They also have GVA who could perform well but I can not see him winning either.

Simmons was the unlucky rider of last year. First a puncture and then a crash. Just how far could he have followed the front group? I hope we find out this year. He was 16th in Drome Classic this year – the same result as last year. If the form is the same and he can avoid a puncture and a crash, he might just surprise us all. If the recent years have told us something – do not underestimate the youth.

Who will win?

I think it will be a battle between Alaphilippe and Pogacar. The Frenchman has unsettled business here and will take the win in Siena.

Leave a Reply