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).
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.
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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