The seventh leg of the 2023 WorldTour gets going on Tuesday with the beginning of the 58th Tirreno-Adriatico, featuring flat and punchy stages, a time trial, a mountain top finish, and a brutal ‘Tappa dei Muri’ stage the race has become renowned for in recent years.
In the absence of defending champions Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), who are both riding Paris-Nice instead, as well as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal – Quick-Step), who are preparing for the Giro d’Italia by training rather than racing, the race for overall victory looks wide open. Riders used to trailing that dominant quartet will relish the chance to win one of the WorldTour’s most prestigious stage races.
This will also be the first time Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) will face off against each other on the road this season, and the first time since their bout at the Cyclocross World Championships. And they will be joined by Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal – Quick-Step), in what promises to be a dry run ahead of the upcoming Classics this spring.
Here are the key contenders for the race, and our predictions as to what might happen.
Adam Yates might not have been able to defeat Remco Evenepoel at the UAE Tour, but he was nevertheless on fire, claiming victory atop Jebel Hafeet with the fastest ever ascent of the climb. That ride suggests that Yates has started the 2023 season in flying form, and is UAE Team Emirates’ best candidate for leadership at Tirreno-Adriatico, from a line-up that, despite the absence of Pogačar, still boasts the talent of João Almeida and Tour Down Under winner Jay Vine.
Yates during the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico (Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
Having previously missed out on overall victory at the 2019 edition to Primož Roglič by just one second, Yates will feel he has unfinished business at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Unbelievably, Mikel Landa has never before won a WorldTour stage race in his entire career. Some of his nearest misses came at the two most recent editions of Tirreno-Adriatico, where he placed third, but on both occasions he was overpowered by the might of Tadej Pogačar.
Despite having turned 33, he’s not done yet with trying to earn that elusive title, and second-place overall at the Ruta del Sol last month indicates that he has the form to compete for victory in Italy. Whereas he formed a…
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