The 52nd edition of Tirreno-Adriatico will start with a 22-kilometre team time trial in Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday and concludes with a short individual time trial on the San Benedetto del Troto sea front. Between the two time trials, the peloton will cross central Italy from the Tyrrhenian coast to the Adriatic as it tackles two sprint stages, two stages for the rouleurs and a stage for the pure climbers with an uphill finish to the Terminillo.
Cannondale-Drapac will be supporting Rigoberto Uran for the general classification but the team will also have an opportunity for a good result with their Irish time-trial specialist Ryan Mullen. The team’s first aim is to ride a solid team time-trial on Wednesday to help Uran’s GC ambitions.
The TTT is a flat, fast course with only four corners for teams to navigate. The 22.7-kilometre opener serves as the first general classification sorting.
“It’s going to be a big team effort,” said Mullen. “We have to go as fast as we can to get a stage result but primarily the goal is to keep Rigo within touching distance on the general classification. That’s our biggest goal here.
“I’d call it a straightforward out and back” Mullen added. “A 22 minute, 56 kilometre an hour blast. Easy, right? We’ll all whack out five million watts and be done with it.”
The five days that follow aren’t so straightforward. While the queen stage, with the Terminillo finish, offers up the most obvious challenge for the overall contenders, Uran considers every stage a crucial one.
“In a week-long race, every day is important,” said Uran, who finished third in Tirreno in 2015. “Maybe one day is flat and you think it’s no problem, but the weather can change everything like we saw in Paris-Nice. Normally flat is easy but you never know. Every stage is important here.
“My first priority in the first half of the season is the Ardennes – Liège and Flèche – but Tirreno is also a big goal,” Uran added. “At the moment, I have good condition. We are here to use it.”
With the team’s work for the general classification done on stage six, Mullen hopes to give the final stage individual time trial a crack.
“It’s a hair longer than 10 kilometres and it’s similar to the first stage in that it’s an out and back,” said Mullen. “Speeds will only be slightly slower. It’s a 52, 53 kilometre an hour kind of job.
“I’ve been targeting this stage since I got the call up,” Mullen said. “I’m going to take it day by day, make sure I’m recovering well after I do my job for Rigo. If all goes well, the numbers I know I can do should have me in touching distance to the top, barring any mishaps in the week. I don’t want to put a number on it but I’m aiming to be competitive.”
Cannondale-Drapac for Tirreno-Adriatico:
Alberto Bettiol (ITA)
Paddy Bevin (NZL)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Sebastian Langeveld (NLD)
Ryan Mullen (IRL)
Rigoberto Uran (COL)
Dylan Van Baarle (NLD)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)