Road cycling: Tirreno Adriatico, the first world tour race of the season on Italian soil. Seven stages with plenty of excitement will take the peloton from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic Sea.
Nibali, Cancellara, Sagan, Boasson Hagen, Tony Martin, Van Garderen, Van Averamaet, Pozzovivo and Pinot. Many strong riders confirmed for the Tirreno – Adriatico.
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 1: Lido di Camamaiore (TTT):
Date: 9 March
Length: 22.7 km
Profile: Flat, team time trial.
Last year’s prologue at the Lido di Camaiore has been substituted with a team time trial. The route goes up and down the promenade along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Four 90 degree turns sum up the technical difficulties. This should be a stage with a lot of pace. The wind could also resemble a challenge for the teams
The race Tirreno – Adriatico is named after the two seas the course connects. The Tyrrhenian sea has it’s name from the Etruscan prince Tyrrhenus (Tyrrheni was the roman name for Estruscan). Adriatico has it’s name from the early Etruscan settlement of Adria. As many cycling fans know, Adria is also the name of a cycling team, more specifically the Slovenian continental team Adria Mobil, where Janez Brajkovic, Simon Spilak, Grega Bole, Robert Kiserlovski and Marco Kump all have gotten part of their education.
As always, the two time world champions BMC will be favourites when it comes to a TTT. Daniel Oss, Taylor Phinney, and Manuel Quinziato were all part of the winning team in Richmond, and are all riding Tirreno – Adriatico in 2016. Tinkoff-Saxo is another team worth mentioning, as well as Etixx – Quick Step and Orica GreenEDGE.
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 2: Camaiore – Pomarance
Date: 10 March
Length: 207 km
On the first mass start of the race, the peloton sets out south from Camaiore, through the city of Pisa, and then further south through the outskirts of Livorno. After about 100 km, the riders turn eastwards, and into the Tuscan hills. Towards the end, a 6,5 km ascent with an average of 4,1 degrees, will shake up the sprinters, and make way for the puncheurs of the peloton.
Riding through Tuscany means riding through wine country. Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Vin Santo are some of the famous wines produced here. Italy alone stands for 1/3 of the annual wine production world wide. That means between 450 and 500 million litres per year.
This could be the stage where Peter Sagan grabs his first win in the rainbow jersey. Edvald Boasson Hagen is another hot candidate for the second stage, considering the strength the Norwegian showed in Qatar and Oman. Diego Ulissi is another man to watch in the final.
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 3 Castelnuovo Val Di Cecina – Montalto di Castro
Date: 11 March
Length: 176 km
The third stage takes the peloton further south, through the commune of Grosseto, and ends up in the region of Lazio. The two main climbs of the day shouldn’t be too damaging for the sprinters.
11 March is the birthday of Astana rider Tanel Kangert. The Estonian have done some of his best races in Italy, twice becoming number 13 in the Giro d’italia. Both times as a domestique, the first time saw Nibali winning the Giro in 2013, the second time saw Aru and Landa claim second and third in 2015. Unfortunately, Kangert is racing the Paris – Nice this year, and won’t be able to celebrate his birthday in Tuscany.
Mark Cavendish is yet again the favourite to win a bunch sprint, although his lead out haven’t been quite satisfactory this season. The winner of last year’s points classification in the Giro, Giacomo Nizzolo will probably be Cavs toughest opponent. Keep an eye out for Nizzolo’s fellow italians Sacha Modolo and Matteo Pelucchi as well.
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 4: Montalto di Vastro – Foligno
Date: 12 March
Length: 216 km
Enough of the Tyrrhenian sea, time to head east. However, into the country side doesn’t mean the profile will be too hilly. It’s only towards the end, where the riders will do a circuit around the city of Foligno, that the course gets hard. On the other hand, the uphill sections are not that long, and don’t come to often either. But a total of 216 km, and the last small climb only 15 kilometres from the finish line, should make it too hard for the sprinters.
The peloton moves onto holy ground on stage 4. The arrival city of Foloigno lies only 20 km from Assisi, known as the city where Francis (of Assisi) was born in 1181. Francis of Assisi is known as the founder of the Franciscan order. The current Pope (José Mario Bergoglio) took the name Francis after the papal conclave in 2013, in honour of Francis of Assisi.
Yet again, Sagan and Boasson Hagen are names worth mentioning. Although my money is on the breakaway to take this one. New Cannondale-signing of the season Simon Clarke could be a man for the occasion, or maybe one of the Italians Kristian Sbaragli (Team Dimension Data) or Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep).
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 5: Foligno – Monte San Vicino
Date: 13 March
Length: 178 km
The queen stage of the year comes as early as stage five. The final climb to Monte san Viciono, with 6 % average incline over 14,1 km, will identify the top notch scalatores. The winner of the stage could easily end up as the overall champion by the Adriatic sea. The Apennine mountains will yet again be decisive in the Tirreno – Adriatico.
13 March 2013 was the election date of previously mentioned Pope Francis. The peloton will hopefully have the Argentinians blessings on their way towards Monte San Vicino, and avoid the horrendous weather they saw towards the Terminillo last year.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) looked solid in Oman, and will be eager to win at home soil. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R) and Alejandro Valverde (Moviestar) are other names to watch. Woet Poels (Team Sky) have shown good form this season, and could be another candidate for the victory. The same goes for his countryman Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo), who became second on the queen stage in 2015. The always smiling Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEDGE) could also be up there towards the finishline.
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 6: Castelraimondo – Cepagatti
Date: 14 March
Length: 210 km
After a couple of days in the hilly countryside, the riders finally arrives by the Adriatic Sea. The peloton will ride along the coast through most of the last 150 km of the day. Crosswinds could have an impact. Towards the end, a couple of small uphill sections nearby Pescara will make the race interesting. A long day in the saddle + the small climbs towards the end, could make it hard for some of the sprinters. The last 8 km slowly ascends with an average gradient between 1 and 2 %.
The Italian footballer Marco Verratti was born in Pescara, although he grew up in L’Aquila (aproximatley 100 km away). The city of L’Aquila suffered heavily during the earthquake back in 2009, where 17 000 people ended up without homes. The former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi controversially stated that the people should view the experience as a camping weekend. L’Aquila was also the destination of the 11th stage in the Giro d’Italia 2010, the organizers way of paying their respects to the earthquake victims. The stage was the longest of the year, 262 kilometres, and is famously known for it’s 54 man breakaway gaining more than 20 minutes, putting Richie Porte in La Maglia Rosa.
The stage is a bit similar to the finish in Fiuggi Terme, wich was used on the sixth stage in the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Francisco Ventoso (Moviestar) won that stage ahead of Alessandro Petacchi. The finish to Capegatti could be a bit too hard for a rider like Cavendish. Once again, Sagan and Boasson Hagen will be riders to look out for.
Tirreno – Adriatico stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto (ITT)
Date: 15 March
Length: 10.1 km
Profile: flat (Individual time trial)
The 10 km time trial in San Benedetto den Tronto have been almost identical for the last five years. Only 10 kilometers on the bike will be most welcoming for the riders after a tough week. Three 90 degree turns resemble all the technical challenges of the course. Fabian Cancellara averaged 52,708 Km/h here last year. Depending on the overall standings after the Monte San Vicino-stage, the final time trial could be decisive. Nairo Quintana, who won overall in 2015, lost as much as 24 seconds to Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali on the final stage.
Stefano Garelli was the first ever rider to receive the spectacular gilded trident after winning the race. The trophy was introduced in 2010, and have been popular among both fans and riders. The trident resembles the weapon of Roman god of the sea, Neptune. Neptune’s counterpart in Greek mythology is Poseidon. As many know, Neptune is also the name of the eighth and farthest planet from the sun in our solar system. And obviously, the Greek name of the planet Neptune is Poseidon.
Like many time trials over the last years, this one could also turn into a show down between Fabian Cancellara (Trek Segafredo) and Tony Martin (Etixx Quickstep). Cancellara, winning three of the last five Benedetto-time trials, probably the biggest favourite. Adriano Malori (Moviestar) will sadly not be competing, still recovering after the horrible crash in San Luis earlier this season. The Team Sky duo Michal Kwiatkowski and Vasil Kiryienka are also names worth mentioning.
Tirreno Adriatico 2016 – The favourites
Vincenzo Nibali and Fabian Cancellara are the only former winners who will start the race. Monte San Viciono will be too hard for Cancellara. Nibali on the other hand showed strength in Oman, and will most likely be strong in Tirreno – Adriatico as well. His time trial abilities will help him both on the first and last stage. The same goes for Tejay Van Garderen, who possibly will lead the race after stage one. Thibaut pinot, Esteban Chaves, Rigoberto Uran and Alejandro Valverde are other riders who will certinly go for glory.
Tirreno Adriatico 2016 – TV Coverage
Due to the biathlon world championships in Holmenkollen, the race will be broadcasted at Europsort 2 in many European countries. The Paris – Nice could also cause some delays in Eurosports scheduale. However, the channel will send plenty of reruns, for example the morning after each stage. The race is also broadcasted at Eurosport player. If this does not suit you, check out cyclingfans.com for further online coverage.