The grimy Italian stage race Tirreno-Adriatico often feels like a bunch of northern European one-days strung together, with reliably unreliable northern Italian weather often playing an important factor in the eventual result.
The race has been won in the past handful of years by Simon Yates, Primož Roglič, Michal Kwiatkowski and Nairo Quintana, which gives you some idea of both the type of contest it is and how prestigious a win here looks on the palmarès.
We'll have general classification updates throughout the race.
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How to watch Tirreno-Adriatico
Tirreno-Adriatico will be shown live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app. You can subscribe here.
After Stage 7
- 1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, 26:36:17
- 2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, 0:01:03
- 3. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious, 0:03:57
- 4. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, 0:04:13
- 5. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, 0:04:37
- 6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep, 0:04:54
- 7. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal, 0:05:00
- 8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, 0:05:50
- 9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, 0:06:30
- 10. Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange, 0:07:45
What is the route?
- March 10 - Stage 1, 156km: With 156km of flat, this should be a sprint finish unless something really surprising happens.
- March 11 - Stage 2, 226km: A tougher, more technical stage – particularly the finale – could produce a classics-style winner. At 226km it’s a big beast.
- March 12 - Stage 3, 189km: Classified as hilly but this is pretty benign stuff, with just one categorised ascent and that's with 80 kilometres of the day remaining. A tougher finale than Stage 1, might shake out some pure sprinters.
- March 13 - Stage 4, 148km: The only real mountain day of the race, so if climbers – at least those ones who cant TT – want to stake a claim to the overall win, this is where they’ll have to light it up. Summit finish should provide fireworks.
- March 14 - Stage 5, 205km: Depending on how it is raced, the second half of this stage could be absolutely brutal. A tough, spiky circuit that will be raced five times.
- March 15 - Stage 6, 169km: If they have managed to cling on over the previous two days of up-and-down, the fast guys should get one more chance to fight for a stage win.
- March 16 - Stage 7, 11.1km ITT: A pure power contest, this, almost certain to be won by Filippo Ganna. A flat, short individual time trial where the GC men can duke it out one last time.
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Who is riding Tirreno-Adriatico?
Simon Yates will, of course, be expected back to defend his title. Whether he can do so on a Team BikeExchange that looks a little weaker (on paper at least) than it was last year remains to be seen. He will ride Bianchi’s Aquila TT bike in the all-important TT, a machine that carried Primož Roglič and Wout Van Aert to some hefty results when it was the team bike of Jumbo-Visma.
Egan Bernal will lead Ineos at Il Giro this year, and he will continue his preparations with a run-out at Tirreno. Geraint Thomas and Filippo Ganna are also in the squad expected to start.
Of course, no race preview would be complete without a mention of Julian Alaphilippe these days. He is capable, it sometimes seems, of winning this sort of road race you can imagine. Will he go for stages, or pursue the GC? Only Julian knows for sure. Davide Ballerini is perhaps the in-form sprinter so far this year, which gives Deceuninck plenty of options, as usual.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis) increase the sprinting credentials of this race. It’s thought that Wout Van Aert will lead Jumbo-Visma, with Roglič already committed to Paris-Nice. Quite what the Belgian phenom can achieve here is anyone’s guess. Everything?
Michael Woods is on storming form at his new team, Israel StartUp Nation, and might even have won the Tour de Alpes Maritimes et du Var had it not been for a poorly-timed mechanical. Whether he can deliver a GC success remains to be seen, particularly with a final-day ITT on the cards.
Two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali is back, although he hasn’t won the GC here since 2013. Also in the probably-past-their-best group: Jakob Fuglsang for Astana PremierTech, Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ and Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe), who will look to get his season back on track after a coronavirus positive ruled him out of opening weekend.
Sergio Higuita was phenomenal at Paris-Nice last year, announcing to the world that, yes, actually, small Colombian climbers can ride in classics conditions, thank you very much. It will be intriguing to see how he’ll go at Tirreno this year after a dire second half of 2020.
And then of course, there is the humongously talented Tadej Pogacar to consider. He has already won the UAE Tour this year, and will look to prepare for a defence of his maillot jaune with a win in Italy. You wouldn’t bet against him. Would you?
When is Tirreno-Adriatico 2021?
This year’s edition of the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ starts on March 10 and runs until March 16. Your classic one-week early-season stage race, then. As a member of the vast portfolio of races owned by RCS, Tirreno is typically seen as a good warm-up for two of the Italian giant’s other properties: Milano–Sanremo and Il Giro.
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