Tirreno-Adriatico starts on Wednesday, March 11, in Italy as a star-studded peloton takes the traditional route east from the Tyrrhenian Sea – part of the Mediterranean – on to the Adriatic sea.
In between the two coastlines, the riders tackle seven stages with the full gamut of time trials, flat days, hills and mountains. Here we take a look at each stage.
Stage one, Wednesday March 11
Lido di Camaiore, 5.4km ITT
A last-minute change due to adverse weather conditions saw the opening team time trial stage ditched in favour of a short prologue-style individual time trial. The 5.4-kilometre route around Lido di Camaiore is flat but peppered with corners and turns before the U-turn at the intermediate time check at 3.05km. Then there’s a straight run back along the coast, during which the riders will be praying for a tailwind.
Stage two, Thursday March 12
Camaiore to Cascina, 153km
As is traditional in week-long stage races, the opening road stage is a flat one primed and ready for a bunch sprint showdown. After a couple of early categorised hills to entice breakaway riders to go for mountain points, the day settles down into a straightforward ride into Cascina. Sprinters’ teams will need to be aware of the final five kilometres that feature a couple of tricky turns, junctions and roundabouts which can cause mayhem as the pace picks up and teams jostle for position.
Stage three, Friday March 13
Cascina to Arezzo, 203km
The profile of stage three looks similar to that of the previous day, but that hides the winding finishing circuit around Arezzo which is navigated five times before the line. A sharp, cobbled ramp before heading into the finish will play into the hands of classics riders and we’d bet on the likes of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) having a go.
Stage four, Saturday March 14
Indicatore (Arezzo) to Castelraimondo, 226km
The terrain gets noticeably hillier for the riders on stage four, with a series of climbs in the final 70 kilometres of a very long 226-kilometre stage kicking off with the Poggio San Romualdo. The final climb of Crispeiro is tackled twice in quick succession and will provide a launchpad for a late attack, either from an escape group or what’s left of the peloton.
Essential info for the 2015 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico (March 11-17): stages, teams, past winners and more
Stage five, Sunday March 15
Esanatoglia to Terminillo, 197km
Stage five promises a major shake-up of the general classification, as the overall contenders and climbing specialists get to test their legs on the final climb to Terminillo. It’s a long climb at 16 kilometres, with an average of 7.3 per cent gradient peaking at 12 per cent in places. Whoever wears the leader’s jersey after this stage will carry it into the final time trial.
Stage six, Monday March 16
Rieti to Porto Sant’Elpidio, 210km
After the previous day’s mountain test, it’s a flatter affair on stage six as the riders reach the Adriatic coast at Porto Sant’Elpidio. We expect a fast pace after the day’s only categorised climb of Montelparo and a bunch sprint after two laps of a finishing circuit.
Stage seven, Tuesday March 17
San Benedetto del Tronto, 10km ITT
The ruler-flat final time trial stage will be a test of brute strength, with an out-and-back course along the coast that is only broken up by the half-way U-turn and a couple of kinks. It’s a chance for the overall contenders to completely empty the tanks in their bid to claim the iconic winner’s trident on the podium in San Benedetto del Tronto.