Tirreno-Adriatico heads south on 8th March, Friday to the Central Apennines for Saturday’s and Sunday’s stages; from Indicatore to Narni Scalo. There is only one categorized climb in the middle of the stage but the final 70 kilometers is a rolling route and can favor some late breakaway groups. If no breakaway succeeds, the stage is tailor-made for Peter Sagan to win. It can be hard for pure sprinters to hang on to the group considering how hard Cannondale managed to raise the tempo on the second stage.
Stage profile is quite similar to last years Stage 3, which was won by Edvald Boasson Hagen out-sprinting Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan. This was one year ago, and Sagan already proved himself as a notorious winner. The stage is very similar to the upcoming monument Milan – San Remo, so expect it to be even more hectic than Stage 2.
It was a glorious day for Australian team Orica-GreenEdge; Michael Albasini won the 4th stage of Paris-Nice and Matthew Goss was the first to cross the line in the frentic sprint of 2nd stage in Tirreno-Adriatico. Manuel Belletti from Ag2r La Mondiale came second, while Gerald Ciolek of South African pro-continental team MTN Qhubeka came third.
“This is my first road race in Europe this season and I’ve won, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the season now. I know if I’m in good shape I can do a good Milan-San Remo next week. It’s definitely a goal for me”, told Goss. The general expectancy was a duel between Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel but neither of them managed to get a spot in the podium. Peter Sagan opened the sprint with 500 meters to go, Greipel burned himself being forced to open the sprint earlier than desired and Cavendish could not even find an opening in the front.
“I was 30 riders back in the last kilometre but I still fought and had a chance with 300 meters to go, even less than that”, told Cavendish to the press. “I came to the right but the peloton swung on the right at the same moment. I just had to slam my brakes with 200 meters to go and so that was the end of the chance of winning. I feel we could have got a lot more out of that race than we actually did today, but we will try again tomorrow”. With the 2 seconds gain from the intermediate sprint, Cavendish still leads the GC and will keep wearing the “Maglia Azzurra”, Matthew Goss leads the points classification and will wear the red jersey tomorrow and Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Garikoitz Bravo from the breakaway group will wear the green mountains jersey.
Check out Tirreno-Adriatico jersey colors, they are quite different than what is considered the norm.
1. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 5:48:41
2. Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
Tirreno-Adriatico has an interesting choice of jersey colors, which is quite different than what you are usually used to.
The general classification leader is wearing the “blue jersey” – “Maglia Azzurra“; very understandable, the race is between the two seas after all. The points classification jersey is “red” whereas mountains classification one is interestingly “green“. The young riders’ general classification jersey is “white” as usual.
The second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico starts on 7th March, Thursday from San Vincenzo, the stage town of the team-time-trial, from the west coast and heads inland to the east all the way to Indicatore. It is a pretty long stage with 232 km to go, but still nothing more than a bunch sprint should be expected. It will be the first clash of the season between Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel of Lotto Bellisol and considering they are both in form, it’ll be pretty hard for the other sprinters in the field to catch the two.
There are two categorized climbs early in the stage, so expect one of the riders from the breakaway to wear the mountains classification jersey, which will be “green” at the end of the day.
Check out jersey colors in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Omega Pharma Quick-Step was the fastest team in the Tirreno-Adriatico opener and they put Mark Cavendish into the overall lead. They were down to 5 riders for the final kilometers, but thanks to German powerhouse Tony Martin, OPQ finished 11 seconds ahead of Movistar and 16″ away from BMC.
Amongst the pre-race favorites, Cadel Evans has now 4 seconds margin over last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali, 9″ over Chris Froome and 13″ over Alberto Contador. “The differences are important, we lost 16 seconds with BMC and also lost time to Astana and Sky, who are direct rivals, but we cannot think that this is definitive. It is true that these races are won or lost by a few seconds, but well, this is just beginning,” told Contador after the stage.
1. Omega Pharma-Quick Step 19′ 24″
2. Movistar Team 11″
3. BMC Racing Team 16″
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.