Photos by Ashley and Jered Gruber
On August 1st, four and a half months after the last World Tour race, pro racing returned to some degree of normalcy with the running of Strade Bianche. The newest one-day Classic on the calendar was more than just the return of racing following COVID-19 lockdowns, it represented the sport as a whole overcoming the devastation caused by the pandemic and getting back to business.
Originally scheduled for mid-March, Strade Bianche, which means White Roads in Italian, is made up of the numerous gravel roads throughout the Tuscan countryside. The later date meant riders had to endure temperatures in the triple digits, making the first race back all the more grueling.
For NTT Pro Cycling, the opportunity to put their new BMC Teammachine to the test with a setup similar to what they plan to use in Paris-Roubaix was undoubtedly an advantage on a course that favored big tires and sharp handling skills. Utilizing the knowledge gleaned from the cobbles test camp back in February, the team embraced tubeless with a mix of SES 4.5 AR and SES 3.4 AR wheels. The day was a success, with Michael Gogl landing in the top-10 and preparing himself for more success in the Classics as the 2020 season finally rolls forward.