Just 48 hours after his solo ride to victory on the dirt roads of Strade Bianche, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) will be back in action at Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday for a final week of stage racing before Milan-San Remo and the other Monument Classics.
Mathieu van de Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) also face a painful start to the week in Monday’s opening time trial after also suffering on the gravel roads of Tuscany on Saturday, while the likes of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroen) and Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) begin the week with fresh legs and ambitions for key stage victories or overall success in Italy.
Tirreno-Adriatico was once the best road to peak form for the spring and possible victory at Milan-San Remo but a date change from Monday to Sunday has made it more of a race apart, with overall victory as prestigious as any other weeklong stage race.
Tadej Pogacar, Michael Matthews, Mads Pedersen and other riders have opted for Paris-Nice. However, some – including Jasper Stuyven of Trek-Segafredo – will ride neither and then dive straight into Milan-San Remo before heading to Belgium.
Van Aert makes his season debut at Tirreno-Adriatico after illness during his altitude training camp forced him to miss Strade Bianche. Like van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Peter Sagan, who all suffered at Strade Bianche, the next seven days of racing will be an important pathway for them back to peak form. Some of them will be under pressure to get a result, while all will be hoping to find their best form.
We can expect the Classics riders to fight for a stage victory as Tirreno-Adriatico crosses central Italy, while O’Connor, Hindley, Alexandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe), Pinot, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers), Enric Mas (Movistar) and others fight for overall victory and the spectacular trident winner’s trophy.
Geraint Thomas was due to make his European debut at Tirreno-Adriatico but his health problems have further delayed his build-up to the Giro d’Italia. In contrast, Primoz Roglic is a late entry to Tirreno-Adriatico after he recovered from his winter shoulder surgery and worked well at altitude in recent weeks.
With two-time winner Pogacar opting to ride Paris-Nice as he shakes up his 2023…
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