Tirreno-Adriatico kickstarts Monday with a power-packed start list and and parcours offering a little something for everyone.
The start list for the eight-stage Italian race includes almost every top rider in the sport that is currently not doing battle at the Tour de France, with Chris Froome (Ineos Grenadiers), Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) and Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) likely to battle for the overall, and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michael Matthews (Sunweb), and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) in the mix for the flat and bumpy days.
The so-called ‘race of the two seas’ has long served as a tuneup race for the Giro d’Italia, and plays the same role in the reshuffled post-COVID calendar, with the Italian grand tour set to start October 3.
Though typically playing out over a week when in its traditional March calendar slot, race organizers have beefed up the September edition to eight stages.
“Thanks to the eight stages we have been able to make the race a bit harder and to balance the stages for sprinters, for finisseurs and for climbers in addition to the usual final ITT,” said race director Stefano Allocchio.
“Despite the change of date, we have found in local administrations the maximum availability that will allow us to organize a top quality Tirreno-Adriatico. We will have almost all the riders who will then participate in the Giro d’Italia in October and we are convinced that, as in recent years, it will be a race of the two seas of the highest level.”
Crossing central Italy from the Tyrrhenian coast, the race starts off with two stages likely to come down to a sprint before an attritional 217km rouleur or breakaway stage into Saturina.
The GC battle will erupt in the mountains on stage 4 and 5, Thursday and Friday. The first decisive time gaps will likely be forged Friday with a 14.2km, 5.8 percent climb to the finish at Sassotetto.
A sprinter stage follows Saturday before a stage that RCS Sports has called “the stage of the Muri [steep climbs]” on stage 7, Sunday.
The race wraps up with a time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto next Monday. At just 10.5 kilometers long, the time gaps will be small, making the mid-race mountains all the more important.