Road

Pre-race favorites talk Tirreno

Contador, Nibali, Uran, Quintana, Cancellara, and Sagan all weigh in on their odds ahead of the Wednesday start of Tirreno-Adriatico

With Tirreno-Adriatico set to kick off Wednesday with an individual time trial on the western side of Italy, pre-race favorites weighed in at Tuesday’s press conference in Lido di Camaiore.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo):
“For me, this year is a bit different from last. I’m in good form. [Vuelta a] Andalucia gave me some confidence. At every moment, in my head, I have the Giro d’Italia. This year, I want to try to win every race I ride, but at the same time, I’m thinking of the Giro. It’ll be hard to win Tirreno-Adriatico again, given the high level of my rivals. It is true that [Chris] Froome is not here, but the winners of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia are here, so my approach will not change. As for where the race will be decided. I don’t know the Terminillo, so I don’t know how selective it will be. But I will take it day by day, stay concentrated so the the race doesn’t slip away from me, and, in the end, we’ll see. But in all probability, on the final day, I will have to ride a good time trial.”

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “My year has started differently from last year. In 2014, my objective was the Tour, but after riding the Giro and the Vuelta, I struggled to find my rhythm. This year, my goals are the same, but I have tried to work harder in the winter. I’m not in my Tour de France condition, and I haven’t ridden against Alberto [Contador], Rigoberto [Urán], or Nairo [Quintana]. They are all great riders, and Alberto has had great results already this season. So we’ll see day by day and, if I feel good one day, I’ll see what I can do, and then we’ll see how the GC goes.”

Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick-Step): “I have a good team around me, and I have come here to do well. We would have been competitive in the team time trial, but in the end the modifications change nothing for me. The race goes on. In any case, it is always special to race in Italy, and tomorrow will be memorable for me because I will wear the jersey of the Colombian national time trial champion for the first time. I hope the Colombian fans come out, and I will try to do my best for them.”

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I’ve been out of competition for some time so this race is very important for me. I was second last year, but my goals were very different then. I’m calm; it’s my first race in Europe, and there are some strong rivals around me. For me it will be a race for fine-tuning form, getting some kilometers in my legs and finding some rhythm. I love racing in Italy because of the passion of the fans.”

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing): “I would like to say ‘well done’ to the organizers. Security is the most important thing and the changes they have made show that they are thinking of us. I came here to work for Bauke [Mollema] and Julian [Arredondo], and to put them in a good position to fight for the general classification. To change objectives from one day to the other is mentally hard, although I’m used to it. Now I’ll ride alone. I could do well, but a 5.4km time trial is very short, and it means that a lot more riders are in with a chance.”

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Strade Bianche was my first really hard race of the season. I attacked very strongly because I that was how I was feeling. One year it works, the next it doesn’t. I am in good shape here at Tirreno-Adriatico and you’ve got to have a go. I’m here to try to win. I won’t be waiting for Arezzo, where I won last year. I intend to be in the sprint tomorrow, and we’ll see how it goes.”