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Enjoy Nova Eroica with a Modern Bike for the Very First Time

By Adam Marsal

The L’Eroica Strade Bianche has become legendary. It can be translated literally as the Heroic Race of the White Roads, and the name tells it all. Only obsolete bicycles manufactured before 1987 were allowed on tracks so far and also the riders needed to wear appropriate dresses as merino wool jerseys, traditional peak caps or leather shoes.

The first L’Eroica event, held in 1997, was organised to support the movement against replacing those beautiful white roads with asphalt. The result was surprising because today most of the route is marked so cyclists can use it individually all year long. All visitors can have a good time when rolling along olive groves, vineyards and old farmhouses made of cobblestones. However, the rough surface is demanding for both riders and their bikes as tiny pebbles shred tyres and in descents, you’re never far from potential crash. During the official race, food stops including litres of local Chianti wine on tap are designed to bring back moments of the golden era when cycling was growing rapidly. Since the race format became massively sought after by riders from abroad, the Eroica has multiplied into nine retro cycling events held all around the world including Japan, California, or South Africa.

This year’s Nova Eroica in Buonconvento is here to bring the same joy even for modern bike owners. In the twenty years since the original event was launched, gravel bikes underwent a huge evolution and because of their great popularity, it would be a shame to leave them aside. In spite of some racing features, such as using team tactics or measuring time in some stretches of the route, the participants won’t miss what makes this event so exceptional: the extraordinary sceneries and the local food & wine. To ensure this, the pace between competitive sections will be set by a group of ex-professionals, which will guarantee that you will have enough time to enjoy all kinds of attractions available.

There’s a wide range of riding options to choose from. While rather recreational riders or families with kids would pick the shortest 27-kilometre-long loop, the serious gravel cyclist can tackle the 89-, 150- or 206-km route. There’s also a 73-km non-competitive route, which is open to both classic and modern steel bikes.

If you’re interested, it’s high time to make decision because early registrations at a reduced price will be closed at the end of March. But don’t worry – later applications will also be accepted, only at a slightly higher price.