The pair first came to each other’s attention at the 2015 Tour de San Luis when Gaviria trumped his future teammate twice in two stages. The pair then rode together at Etixx at the Tour of Britain, where Gaviria won a stage, before Cavendish departed for his new team.
The Manxman goes into his first WorldTour race of the season in good condition, having won the Tour of Qatar overall classification, while Gaviria won a stage at the Tour of Provence earlier in February.
Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan add to the sprinting firepower in the Italian race, but there will also be a fascinating tussle for the general classification, with Vincenzo Nibali coming up against Alejandro Valverde.
Valverde is set to ride his first ever Tirreno-Adriatico as a build up to his first ever Giro d’Italia in May, while Joaquim Rodriguez, Tejay van Garderen, Domenico Pozzovivo and Dan Martin will also be present.
Mikel Landa will lead Team Sky and will likely ride alongside Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels and Leopold Konig.
Giant-Alpecin’s Warren Barguil is also scheduled to make his first appearance of the season if his recovery from a broken wrist – suffered in a collision with a car on a training camp – has gone well.