It came into being because of the la Eroica granfondo, in which amateurs ride the strade bianche on vintage bikes, eat prosciutto sandwitches and drink Chianti along the route. In Italy there is a great nostalgia for the "heroic" cycling, for the days of steel bikes and strade bianche (dirt tracks) alla Ottavio Bottecchia, Coppi e Bartali. That and the Tuscan scenery and every once in a while the Italians can still come up with brilliance, having lost Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, they still have Strade Bianche!Great race in beautiful scenery. For me this race is on par with Ronde and Roubaix. I want to say big thank you to person who invented this race back in early 00s. It was bilion dollar idea.
Having said that, what Van der Poel, who looks more like a swimmer than a cyclist, did to Alaphillipe, riding him off his wheel as he did in the final from the pole position, was, to put it mildly, frightful.