Tirreno – Adriatico

Tirreno – Adriatico starts today. It’s a six day stage race that crosses Italy from west to east, from the Tyrrhenian sea to the Adriatic sea, hence the name. Click on the image above for the great symbolic poster.

Like Paris-Nice it’s an essential race for different riders. Classics specialists and grand tour riders alike will use it for the milage and fine tuning. But it’s more than a preparation event, it’s a prestigious event with a long list of big name winners.

Right now the weather looks harsh. Twitter’s been jammed with pros complaining about the snow, Cadel Evans mentioned a team mate going to scuba diving shop to buy gloves. Half point of the race is to offer a warmer climate. Certainly some riders favour this race over Paris-Nice because the weather is often kinder.

The 2010 edition should be a tactical contest where attrition will play its part. With no time trial a potential victor will have go on the attack. No favourite stands out, you might want to watch for Mick Rogers, Thomas Lövkvist, Robert Gesink, Michele Scarponi and Stefano Garzelli but this is to name but a few candidates. Edwald Boasson Hagen will be riding and he’s been fantastic to watch so far.

The route is hilly and mountainous on some days but the sprinters should have their day. Watch Mark Cavendish. He bluffed in last year’s race, when things went uphill Cav let himself get dropped to fool others that he’d also be dropped on the Poggio during Milan – San Remo. Unless Cav is playing the Mother Of All Bluffs then he’ll need to be competitive, to rediscover sprinting and win confidence as well as stages.