The Tirreno-Adriatico just got even tougher

The seven-day “Race of the Two Seas” is a hugely popular event, with the WorldTour’s best riders competing in the beautiful yet challenging race from Italy’s west coast to its east coast. This year’s edition – the 54th, running from 13 to 19 March – boasts a start list that’s a who’s who of current cycling greats set to fight for the Neptune’s Trident trophy. And this year’s race just got even harder with route modifications that include a series of tough climbs – “muri” (walls) – through central Italy.

The traditional Tirreno-Adriatico time trials are retained – starting with a TTT and ending with an ITT – along with sprinter stages, but the new punchy climbs add another dimension to the stage hunters and the overall General Classification competition.

Some of the riders will have competed Strade Bianche and many combine it with the long one-day Milano-Sanremo race the following weekend. Many use it as a springboard for the Giro d’Italia…


Watch out for these riders

Some commentators are so impressed with Primoz Roglic’s form – particularly at the UAE Tour right across TT, sprint, climbing and of course his convincing GC crown – that they have him as favorite for Tirreno-Adriatico. Of course it might not be that simple, but with a super Team Jumbo-Visma squad including the big Dutch engines Robert Gesink, Jos van Emden, German TT master Tony Martin and exciting young Belgian Laurens De Plus, the Dutch outfit could conceivably win on all fronts.

Team Sky’s Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas will be looking for another podium, but won’t be looking up to Michal Kwiatkowski – the pole does not return to defend the title he won last year. Instead, look for stage wins and domestique support duties from Gianni Moscon and Wout Poels.

Even without double Tirreno-Adriatico winner Nairo Quintana, who heads to Paris-Nice, the Movistar Team list includes Spaniard José Rojas, Ecuadorian climbing machine Richard Carapaz and Portuguese powerhouse Nelson Oliviera.

AG2R La Mondiale’s seven-man squad includes the young German Nico Denz and the combative Swiss Silvan Dillier alongside Frenchmen Alexis Vuillermoz and Clement Venturini.

Leading the line for Cofidis is French sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, with support from his compatriot Julien Simon amongst others including the Eritraen all-rounder Natnael Berhane and the Belgian Kenneth Van.