It is one of the most photogenic races: Strade Bianche. Great photos are a given on the gravel sections of Tuscany, which are well-suited for only particular riders. It is usually a strong classic specialist who crosses the finish line first in Siena. Israel Start-Up Nation has traveled towards the beautiful Italian city with high morale.

ISN takes on Strade Bianche with special tyres from Maxxis, which has been supporting ISN for several years. Maxxis found ‘the perfect tyre’ for this race, according to ISN-mechanic Vid Jejcic.

Puncture protection

“The tyre that Maxxis produced for Strade Bianche is a 27mm one. It is comfortable and gives significantly more control on the gravel sections. And, just like the High Road tyre, the one we use for normal road races, it has a high puncture protection.”

Royal Bernard Drome Classic 2021 – 9th Edition – Eurre -Eurre 179,2 km – 28/02/2021 – Alessandro De Marchi (ITA – Israel Start-Up Nation) – photo William Cannarella/CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

Jejcic says that the special tyre also has a different shape and profile. “It is particularly designed for bad road surfaces.”

Essential for Strade: grip and comfort

The special Maxxis tyres will be an advantage for the team, as the 2021 Strade Bianche route includes eleven gravel sections. Some of these sections are more than seven kilometer in length, and several have inclines of over 10%.

The riders must also descend on gravel, meaning any kind of extra grip and comfort is important. As always, the finish line is on the incredibly photogenic market square of Siena.

Ambitions and morale

Mads Würtz Schmidt has high morale going into this year’s edition. He started the season very well, which took some of the mental stress away from the Danish classic specialist.


“I know that I am in good shape”, Würtz says. “I am ambitious, although it is difficult to put a certain result as a goal. I hope to be visible, in the good way, and play a major role in the race.”

Alessandro de Marchi agrees with Würtz. The Italian rider, who made his ISN debut last week in the Faun-Ardèche Classic and the Royal Bernard Drome Classic, says he will try to precede the favorites.

“I am looking forward to racing in my country, and Strade Bianche is a difficult and special race. I will try to make a move before the favorites for the victory make theirs. I think ISN is ready to race aggressively, as breakaways can make it till very far into Strade.”

Israel Start-Up Nation line-up for Strade Bianche (Saturday, 06/03).

  • Jenthe Biermans (Belgium)
  • Guillaume Boivin (Canada)
  • Alessandro de Marchi (Italy)
  • Reto Hollenstein (Switzerland)
  • Alexis Renard (France)
  • Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark)
  • Tom van Asbroeck (Belgium)

Sports directors: Claudio Cozzi and Nicki Sørensen

Edit: Reto Hollenstein replaces Patrick Bevin for Strade Bianche.