This is a promotional feature with GCN+
It’s a debate that has raged every March since the Italian one-day Classic’s debut in 2007. It’s as thrilling, as jaw-dropping and as dramatic as the likes of Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and Il Lombardia, so why shouldn’t Strade Bianche be officially upgraded to sit alongside cycling’s five revered Classics? Many would even add that it’s a far better spectacle than Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Milan-San Remo.
The Defenders of the Monuments™, however, will hit back hard. Where’s the century-plus history that all five Monuments boast? Where’s the back catalogue of iconic and era-defining racing? More than anything, how can you mess with tradition? The Monuments were always a collection of five races, and ought to remain just that.
Whatever side of the fence you’re on, we’re quite sure that you will engage in the same argument in the coming days as the dusty white roads of Tuscany return to our screens for both the men’s and women’s WorldTour races, both battles of which will be shown live and uninterrupted on GCN+.
As the excitement begins to be stoked, you can browse through GCN+’s back catalogue of racing archives to rewatch how Tadej Pogačar spectacularly won the men’s race last year with a near-50 kilometre solo ride that was vintage and trademark Pog.
The Slovenian won’t be back to defend his title due to his participation at Paris-Nice (also available on GCN+), but recent former winners Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe will be. If one of the trio wins - and, let’s be honest, who’d bet against it? - they will equal Fabian Cancellara as a two-time winner of the race.
As a clear indication of just how unmissable Strade Bianche is, one only needs to go back and watch the replay of the women’s race in 2022 when Lotte Kopecky did what all of her colleagues in the peloton tried but mostly failed to do last year - i.e. beat Annemiek van Vleuten.
The Belgian got the better of the Dutchwoman in a sprint in Siena to become her country’s first female winner of the race, and she’s targeting the double. Van Vleuten, a two-time winner, is back for revenge.
A double-header of Monumental (see what we did there?) sporting drama demands the best in race analysis to talk us through what is happening. GCN+ possesses the best team in the business with informed commentators, expert pundits and an A-list panel of knowledgeable ex-pros on hand to explain why everyone keeps jumping on Van der Poel’s wheels, and why Van Vleuten will be desperately trying to make her move before the mediaeval city of Siena approaches.
Thanks to GCN+, it will be possible to watch both races with ad-free coverage, and you can even scan the startlists, route maps and profiles on the GCN app. Our on-the-move lives mean that it’s not always possible to be at home watching the race on TV, but GCN+ is available on any smart device allowing you to take the Tuscan vibes with you wherever you are. And if you have to briefly divert your attention away from the action, you can pause, rewind and resume where you left off.
If weekend plans get in the way (what can be better Strade prep than seeking out your own chalky white roads?), GCN+’s catch-up service makes it possible to watch full replays on demand at a time that suits you.
Should you not have time to watch all 184km or 136km of the men’s and women’s races respectively, GCN+ will compile a selection of tailored highlights, meaning you can have a quick summary of the race, watch the final kilometres or enjoy a long highlights reel.
However you consume the race, post-race excitement often commands a void to be filled, and GCN+’s World of Cycling Show plugs the desire to recap the best moments of both races, as well as hearing from the protagonists.
We’re quite sure that come the end of both races on Saturday, you’ll be embroiled in an internal or public discussion about whether Strade Bianche really is a Monument or not. Whatever decision you will settle on, rest easy knowing that the first official Monument of the season, Milan-San Remo, takes place a fortnight after and will also be shown live on GCN+, as part of the service’s commitment to provide year round coverage of the biggest races in cycling.
Not only that, but the GCN+ app provides access to a treasure trove collection of exclusive cycling films, featuring everything from epic adventures to record-breaking challenges. All that, and the best live racing, for a subscription price that costs the same as a cup of coffee a month if you take out an annual subscription.
The only thing GCN+ can’t provide is a definitive answer to the Monument debate.
You can catch all of Strade Bianche and the other upcoming Classics by subscribing to GCN+ here. (Territory Restrictions May Apply).