The race starts on 6 March, Wednesday and the first stage is a short (16.9 km), almost flat team-time-trial. The time differences won’t matter much thus the stage is not important considering GC but will be a decider for the next 3 day’s pink jersey holder. Also consider it as a teams’ presentation…
BMC won the only team-time-trial of the season in Tour of Qatar, where almost every team was using road bicycles instead of team-trial ones. SKY came second 5 seconds behind BMC and Omega-Pharma-Quickstep came third. Brent Bookwalter and Adam Blythe will not be in the squad but still BMC brought a strong team and is the main contender. It can be Taylor Phinney wearing the blue jersey at the end of the day but expect some strong resistance from SKY, OPQ, Movistar and even RadioShack Leopard.
3 teams are invited as wildcard entries besides the 19 pro tour teams; Vini Fantini-Selle Italia from Italy, Team NetApp-Endura from Germany and MTN Qhubeka from South Africa.
There will be quite some interesting competition from the likes of Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, Chris Froome and last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali for the blue jersey. Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Taylor Phinney are amongst the several names that can win a stage or two in here.
Tirreno-Adriatico will be held between March 6 and 12 this year. This year’s race consists of seven stages including both indivual and team-time trials.
The 16.9 km long team-time-trial will serve as a teams presentation much like last year’s Vuelta, but the final 9.2 km long flat individual time-trial will decide whether the rider wearing the blue jersey will keep it or not. We have 2 stages for sprinters, 2 for classics man preparing specifically for Milan-San Remo and a real mountain-top finish in Prati di Tivo which was won by Vincenzo Nibali 16 seconds ahead of Roman Kreuziger.
Tirreno-Adriatico, “the race of the two seas” is an early season stage race held in Italy and widely regarded as a Milan-San Remo preparation. Now a 2.HC race in the UCI World Tour, it traditionally starts from the west coast of Italy – the Tyrrhenian Sea and ends in the east coast, in the seaside resort of Adriatic Coast, San Benedetto del Tronto since the second edition of the race.
With its first edition dating back to 1966, the Belgium cyclist Roger De Vlaeminck holds the record by winning the race 6 times in a row between ’72 and ’77. Most recently Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi and Fabian Cancellara each clinched a title.
A very new addition to the European calendar, 1.1 ranked Strade-Bianche, in its 7th edition finally got an Italian winner. Moreno Moser of Cannondale clinched not only his first victory of the season but the most important one of his career as well.
Within the last 20 kilometers, the 22 year-old Italian made a successful attempt and with 15km to go, got to the backwheel of Flecha, who was relentlessly chasing the 4-rider breakaway group. Moser’s attack changed things dramatically as well in the breakaway group and after some attacks within the 4 riders, things eventually settled when Moser managed to catch Schar and Belkov from the original breakaway and once again formed a 4 rider group. But it was Moser who was hiding in the peloton most of the race compared to the other original riders in the breakaway group, so when they hit the last hill with a kilometer to go, Moser easily pushed himself ahead and soloed to his greatest victory so far.
Within the bunch of main contenders, Peter Sagan burst clear to snatch the second place, whereas it was Rinaldo Nocentini who got the last spot in the podium out-sprinting last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara and Alexander Kolobnev. Could Sagan catch the breakaway group if it was not his team-mate Moser? We’ll never know that but that was a wonderful day for team Cannondale and the new generation of cyclists in their early 20s.
Strade-Bianche 2013 results:
1. Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling) 5:01:53
2. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) 5″
3. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) 7″