Organisers RCS Sport revealed on Thursday the course for the 2015 edition of the prestigious week-long stage race, Tirreno-Adriatico, including a tough mountain top finish on Monte Terminillo on stage five.
The race will run its 50th edition between March 11 and 17 next year, and is likely to continue to attact many of the best riders as it acts as a prelude to the classics season and those looking towards the first grand tour of the year, the Giro d'Italia.
Britain's Chris Froome (Team Sky) and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will take part in next year's edition, while defending champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will return to defend the trident trophy along with compatriots Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
Tinkoff Saxo leader Alberto Contador says Team Sky rival Chris Froome is one of the best climbers in the peloton
The race will begin with a 22.7km team time trial before moving on to a flat stage and a stage that will suit the puncheurs, which features the same uphill finish in Arrezzo that saw Peter Sagan pip Michal Kwiatkowski to the line in 2014.
The fourth and fifth stages of the Race of the Two Seas will take the riders into the mountains, with for KOM climbs along the route of stage four. The fifth day is the WorldTour race's Queen stage, with riders taking in two mountain climbs before a summit finish on Monte Terminillo, at an elevation of 1,675m.
The sprinters will then see a second chance for a stage win on the 210km penultimate day, before a 10km individual time trial that could play a deciding role in who will walk away with overall win and the blue jersey.
Tinkoff-Saxo rider, Daniele Bennati, who was in attendance for the route presentation, said he was looking forward to helping Contador and Peter Sagan to win on the course.
“During the race my role will be to protect my captains, Contador and Sagan,” he said.
“This is a really compelling course, and the stage ending at the top of Monte Terminillo is perfect for Contador. Tinkoff-Saxo will be at the start with a very high level formation that alongside Sagan, Contador and myself also includes Basso, Rogers and Tosatto too.”
Race director, Stefano Allocchio also spoke at the presentation on Thursday morning, and was pleased with how Tirreno-Adriatico's stature has grown to be able to attract the best riders.
“For 2015 we created a course that, as in previous editions, will test every type of rider,” he said.
“Participation will be extraordinary as usual. Contador, Nibali, Froome, Valverde, Rodriguez, just to give you some names, have all programmed to take part at the race already and I’m certain the spectacle will be guaranteed.”
Tirreno-Adriatico 2015 route:
Wednesday, March 11, Stage 1: Lido di Camaiore, 22.7km (TTT)
Tuesday, March 12, Stage 2: Camaiore - Cascina, 153km
Friday, March 13, Stage 3: Cascina - Arezzo, 203km
Saturday, March 14, Stage 4: Indicatore (Arezzo) - Castelraimondo, 218km
Sunday, March 15, Stage 5: Esanatoglia - Monte Terminillo, 194km
Monday, March 16, Stage 6: Rieti - Porto Sant'Elpidio, 210km
Tuesday, March 17, Stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto, 10km (ITT)
Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL7 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).