Froome, Contador, Nibali and Quintana all set for Tirreno-Adriatico

'Unprecedented spectacle' promised as all of the major Grand Tour stage racers gather in Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico (March 11-17)

Chris Froome 92nd), Vincenzo Nibali (winner) and Alberto Contador (3rd), Tirreno-Adriatico 2013

Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will all take part in the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico in what must rank as one of the most star-studded start lists of the past few seasons.

The provisional list of starters for the Italian WorldTour stage race (March 11-17) reads like a who's who of Grand Tour talent, which the organiser is quite rightly billing as an 'unprecedented line-up'.

In addition to defending champion Contador, Froome, Nibali and Quintana, the start list also boasts Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep).

Alberto Contador wins Stage 5 of the 2014 Tirreno Adriatico

Alberto Contador's win on stage five of last year's Tirreno-Adriatico ultimately netted him the overall victory
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

The calibre of riders isn't restricted to overall contenders either, with sprint rivals Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep), Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Elia Viviani (Sky) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) also slated to ride the race. Cavendish wore the race leader's jersey after the opening TTT was won by his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team, and then later won stage six.

The seven-day race opens with a 22.7-kilometre team time trial in Lido di Camaiore before - as the race's name suggests - working its traditional path east to the Adriatic coast at San Benedetto del Tronto for a decisive 10-kilometre individual test against the clock. Before then, the riders will lock horns on the Monte Terminillo for stage five's gruelling summit finish.

Testing course revealed for 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico

50th edition of the prestigious Tirreno-Adriatico stage race will see a series of tough stages including a summit finish on

Last year, Contador finished the race overall two minutes and five seconds ahead of Quintana, with Tinkoff-Saxo team-mate Roman Krueziger in third at 2-14. In 2013, Nibali won ahead of Froome and Contador.

Twenty-two teams of eight riders apiece will start the race.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2015: teams (and main riders)

Ag2r La Mondiale (Fra) – Pozzovivo, Betancur

Astana Pro Team (Kaz) – Nibali, Cataldo

Bardiani CSF (Ita) – Battaglin, Pirazzi

BMC Racing Team (USA) – Van Avermaet, De Marchi

Bora-Argon 18 (Ger) – Huzarski, Bennett

Colombia (Col) – Duarte, Rubiano Chavez

Etixx-QuickStep (Bel) – Cavendish, Uran

FDJ (Fra) – Pinot, Roy

IAM Cycling (Swi) – Brändle, Pelucchi

Lampre-Merida (Ita) – Pozzato, Modolo

Lotto Soudal (Bel) – Van Den Broeck, Roelandts

Movistar Team (Spa) – Quintana, Malori

MTN-Qhubeka (RSA) – Boasson Hagen, Ciolek

Orica-GreenEdge (Aus) – Durbridge, Yates

Team Cannondale – Garmin (USA) – Martin, Hesjedal

Team Europcar (Fra) – Rolland, Arashiro

Team Giant-Alpecin (Ger) – Kittel, Mezgec

Team Katusha (Rus) – Rodriguez, Moreno

Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Ned) – Gesink, Vanmarcke

Team Sky (GBr) – Froome, Viviani

Tinkoff-Saxo (Rus) – Contador, Sagan

Trek Factory Racing (USA) – Cancellara, Mollema

Tirreno-Adriatico 2015: Stages

Stage one, March 11, Lido di Camaiore, 22.7km TTT

Stage two, March 12, Camaiore to Cascina, 153km

Stage three, March 13, Cascina to Arezzo, 203km

Stage four, March 14, Indicatore (Arezzo) to Castelraimondo, 226km

Stage five, March 15, Esanatoglia to Terminillo, 197km

Stage six, March 16, Rieti to Porto Sant'Elpidio, 210km

Stage seven, March 17, San Benedetto del Tronto, 10km ITT

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