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Pirelli wins on dirty roads

Perfect results for teams fitting Pirelli tyres in the spring semi-classic with a first place in the men’s ranking, a total of 66 tyres and no punctures

Home race Pirelli wins on dirty roads
Pirelli wins on dirty roads

The sixteenth edition of the Strade Bianche international cycling race, one of the most popular events of its kind held on the hills of Siena, was a success. It was a spectacle for the public, an iconic stage for the athletes and success for Pirelli strong of the results obtained by the teams to which it offers its technical support.

Considered one of the six monumental classics by insiders, albeit not officially, the men’s race is 184 kilometres long and women’s is 136 kilometres long, with continuous ups and downs, alternating between tarmac and dirt, but with no truly gruelling climbs. It starts and finishes in Siena but the real challenge, for athletes and tyres alike, is the middle part on the compact gravel unpaved “white” roads that the event is named after, that are treacherous for the road tyres needed to achieve peak performance on the tarmac stretches. A puncture on a course like this is to be expected. This is why it is not uncommon for teams to resort to reinforced solutions or pressure adjustments in an attempt to minimise risks.
 
It is perhaps also due to the difficulties posed by such a race that the Strade Bianche 2022 was a true spectacle and delivered some historic results. The undisputed star was Tadej Pogacar who won the men’s race. The UAE Team Emirates athlete motored his way to a minute and a half gap on the competitors on the stretch that included the Monte Sante Marie climb, more than 50 kilometres before the finish line. It was one of the longest solo breakaways in classic history and it is undeniable that tyres played a part in the feat. Up and down on gravel roads at a top speed of almost 80 km/h, maintaining grip is no trivial matter. 

This year there were 33 athletes equipped and supported by Pirelli, for a total of 66 tyres that made it back unscathed to the walled city of Siena, without suffering even one puncture. There were 21 men and 12 women, belonging to five teams: the UAE Team Emirates , AG2R Citroën, Trek-Segafredo men’s teams and the UAE Team ADQ and Trek-Segafredo women’s teams. The vast majority of athletes (all women and all men except the members of AG2R Citroën) opted for the 28mm P Zero Race TLR, a tubeless tyre that is still a relative novelty in cycling. The members of the AG2R Citroën team went for a similar tubular version, the P Zero Velo Tub, also 28mm.

Tadej Pogacar’s victory in the men’s race was the second obtained by Pirelli tyres in Strade Bianche history. The first was by Dutch Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton Scott) in the women’s race in 2019. Among the athletes supported by Pirelli who stood out this year were Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), seventh place in the men’s ranking and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), who came eighth.

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