On the eve of the start of the 53rd Tirreno-Adriatico NamedSport, the race organised by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport from 7 to 13 March, five of the biggest names in racing spoke about their ambitions and expectations: Peter Sagan (three time UCI World Champion), Chris Froome (winner of 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a España), Tom Dumoulin (winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia and UCI ITT World Champion), Vincenzo Nibali (multi-Grand Tour winner, third at the Giro and second at the Vuelta last year) and Fabio Aru (overall winner of the 2015 Vuelta a España and reigning Italian National Road Race Champion). The Corsa dei Due Mari (Race of the Two Seas) starts tomorrow with the Team Time Trial at Lido di Camaiore (21.5km).
QUOTES AND STATISTICS
Peter Sagan (Bora–Hansgrohe) said: “For sure it will be a different Tirreno-Adriatico for me. In the past, I used to race more before coming here, including in Qatar, Oman or Argentina and the opening weekend in Belgium. My schedule has changed: now this race is the real beginning of my season. I’ve won the points classification four times [in the past four years] and I’d like to win another jersey. Winning here at Tirreno-Adriatico would be an excellent way to arrive at the Milan-Sanremo, a race I care about a lot.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) said: “It’s always pretty much the same before Tirreno-Adriatico: we’re always a bit in the unknown. I don’t exactly good know how my condition is coming into this as a problem at the beginning of the season has delayed my start. I’m on my toes but I don’t have huge ambitions – we’ll take it day by day and see what I can look for. Our team is going well – we’re working the best we can – and we’ve a good group with [Domenico] Pozzovivo who is here for GC.”
Chris Froome (Team Sky) said: “It’s been a long time since I last raced in Italy [the UCI World Championships in Florence, 2013]. Obviously, I’ve had a different program building up to the Tour de France, which has been my main objective over the past few years. I didn’t come back to Tirreno-Adriatico after I came second to Vincenzo [Nibali, also in 2013] but I started my pro career in Italy with Barloworld. Italy has a deep connection with cycling and a deep history. You can see how much passion there is about the race, the Giro and everything. It’s great to be back here. We have a really strong team for Tirreno-Adriatico – we’re here to race for GC, that’s for sure. We have a very good team on paper for the team time trial and different options to target the GC. We’ll do our best tomorrow and take it from there.”
Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) said: “I’m not at 100%: I got a bit of a flu before the Strade Bianche and racing on Saturday with the cold and the rain didn’t make my condition any better. But I hope I’ll be fine for the uphill finishes as Tirreno-Adriatico is one of my favourite races in the Spring. I always love to come back. Last year was the first time I did pretty well, sixth overall. I was hoping to improve this result but we’ll see in the next few days if this is going to be possible.”
Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emitates) said: “Tirreno-Adriatico is an important race for me leading up to the Giro. I did it for the first time last year and it didn’t go as I wanted: I had to withdraw due to health problems. But together with the team, we’ve always wanted to come back and I’m happy to be here. I went to train in Sicily last week. It’s good to train on the Etna because the Giro will go there. I felt at home.”