Strade Bianche, the one-day race that winds its way through Tuscany this Saturday, has a unique history. It actually didn’t start out as a race at all, but rather, was a granfondo put on by the vintage-bike-loving crowd known as L'Eroica Strade Bianche (literal translation: "heroic race of the white roads").

Their goal was, essentially, to ride some of the most beautiful roads in the world in a non-competitive-but-still-kinda-competive event on nothing but bikes made before 1987.

Yes, we cyclists are an interesting bunch.

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The L'Eroica Strade Bianche still happens every year, but now we have a race on the same roads, too. In 2007, the Strade Bianche race replicating the granfondo’s route became a reality, and in the (relatively) short amount of time since then, it's already become as iconic as other races that have many more decades of history.

In 2015, race organizers finally got their act together and added a women’s race, which is held on the same roads as the men’s race, but with a shorter distance (85 miles compared to 114 miles). Megan Guarnier of the United States won the inaugural women’s race in 2015.

This year’s race will follow the same course around Siena that it has since 2018. The women’s race route passes over about 20 miles of gravel roads, about 25 percent of the total route, and that number jumps to almost 40 miles of gravel in the men’s race.

Then there are the climbs. Sprinkled throughout Strade Bianche are some nasty climbs that exceed gradients of 20 percent.

GCN+ delivers equitable coverage of women’s racing

Thankfully for viewers in the U.S., Strade Bianche will be streaming live and available for replay on GCN+. Why thankfully? Because GCN+ actually gives us equal coverage of both the men’s and the women’s races (unlike Flobikes). Additionally, multilingual commentary will be available. Rebecca Charlton, along with studio guests Dan Lloyd, Adam Blythe, and Dani Rowe, will be hosting the races on GCN+.

Here’s how and when to watch

You can catch all the action of the women’s race on GCN+ on March 4. The women’s race, officially known as the Strade Bianche Donne, is starting at 5:30 a.m. EST. The men's race is kicking off at 7:50 a.m. EST.

Headshot of Natascha Grief
Natascha Grief

Natascha Grief got her first bike shop job before she was old enough to drink. After a six-year stint as a mechanic, earning a couple pro-mechanic certifications and her USA Cycling Race Mechanics license, she became obsessed with framebuilding and decided she wanted to do that next.  After Albert Eistentraut literally shooed her off his doorstep, admonishing that if she pursued framebuilding she will be poor forever, she landed an apprenticeship with framebuilder Brent Steelman in her hometown of Redwood City, CA. After that, she spent several years working for both large and not-so-large cycling brands. Somewhere in there she also became a certified bike fitter. Natascha then became a certified personal trainer and spent nine years honing her skills as a trainer and coach, while also teaching Spin. During the dumpster fire that was the year 2020, she opened a fitness studio and began contributing regularly to Runner’s World and Bicycling as a freelance writer. In 2022, she joined the staff of Bicycling as News Editor.