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Lapierre White Roads Classic - A Review 

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Will's reviews

Read this months article from Will Plant.

Ride review - Lapierre White Roads Classic

One of our riding highlights of the year was the Lapierre White Roads Classic, a tough sportive featuring chalk and gravel sectors on the Ridgeway National trail in Oxfordshire. The event is styled after the classic Italian Strade Bianchi, which was originally a granfondo for classic bikes using the unsealed ‘white roads’ of the Tuscan countryside. A professional race since 2007, the Strade Bianchi is now firmly established as one of the Spring Classics. The 2016 event was won by Fabian Cancellara.

Cycle Classics, who run the Lapierre White Roads Classic, make every effort to capture an Italian flavour. Focaccia was provided at the food stops and every finisher celebrated with a glass of prosecco. 

Though the course is a mixture of on- and off-road, it is doable on a road bike with the right tyre choice (and plenty of spare tubes!). However, we both went with a steel framed cyclocross set-up to make the off-road sectors more enjoyable. Jim rode his Ritchey Swiss Cross with Challenge Gravel Grinder tyres in 36C, while Will rode his Genesis Croix De Fer with Continental 35C cyclocross tyres.

Gravel bikes growth

Gravel bikes, such as the Lapierre Crosshill, that take their design cues from cyclocross, are one of the growth sectors in the bike industry at the moment and are ideal for this event. Characteristically, they feature a 

relaxed geometry, allowing for stable and comfortable riding on long-distance events. Disc brakes enable more modulated braking, while larger frame and fork clearances allow the use of wider tyres for comfort on-road and traction off-road.

Fortunately, neither of our bikes missed a beat and the tyres had plenty of grip in the chalk sectors and rolled well on the road sections. We were fortunate that it stayed dry as some of the chalk sectors would have become significantly trickier after a downpour. The Ridgeway sectors across the downs provided both engaging riding and beautiful scenery in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Dragon Hill at Uffington is well known for its steep ramps but also worth looking out for is Chain Hill on the climb out of Wantage. It was featured on the Tour of Britain route for good reason.

The 2017 event is set to be even bigger and better. It has been extended to include a 100 mile option, which will provide a substantial challenge for even the most-dedicated rider. If you are looking for a different style of event from your standard road sportive, then this may be the one for you. Pop into the shop to learn more about our experience of participating in the Lapierre White Roads Classic. We can advise on kit requirements – particularly tyre choices!


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