[Article was written before the start of the Tirreno-Adriatico and has not been updated.]
Usually, the Queen Stage at the Tirreno-Adriatico is decisive for the overall victory, while riders earn beer money in the time trials and hilly stages with punchy arrivals. This edition’s Queen Stage travels to ski resort Sassotetto. At almost 220 kilometres it’s a gruelling task with sheer endless intermediate hills, while the final ascent is 13.1 kilometres at 7.1%. Snow is a possible threat, which would make the race even harder.
In 2015 and 2017 Nairo Quintana climbed to victory on the Tirreno’s Queen Stage before he won the GC in both editions. Two years ago the Queen stage was cancelled because of snow and the battle for the overall came down to a Greg van Avermaet/Peter Sagan clash, which would in a normal scenario never have happened. Basically, the 2016 turned out to be a hilly stage race – with Van Avermaet turning out on top.
You can’t win the race on your time trial bike, but you can definitely lose it – ask Geraint Thomas. Last year, BMC won the TTT with Quintana’s Movistar 22 seconds down on them, while Team Sky was plagued by punctures and lost 1’20” to Movistar. At the end of the eight-day race Quintana took the overall almost 1 minute ahead of Thomas.
Of the active riders, Vincenzo Nibali (2012, 2013) and Nairo Quintana (2015, 2017) did win the Tirreno-Adriatico twice. Davide Rebelline (2001 – and yes, he is still racing) and Greg Van Avermaet (2016) are one-time winners. Nibali is the only former winner at the start of the 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico.
A lot of riders that line-up in the Tirreno-Adriatico are hungry for success. In fact, Alexey Lutsenko is the only contender who already won a race this season. At the Tour of Oman he bested his team-mate Miguel Ángel López, while Vincenzo Nibali finished in a disappointing twelfth place. Chris Froome didn’t fare much better in his first race, the Ruta del Sol, as he ended tenth on GC. Yet, for both Grand Tour winners the Tirreno-Adriatico is their first major race in 2018, so we should expect something extra. Tom Dumoulin started his season in the Tour of Abu Dhabi, where he was plagued by mechanical problems.
Favourites 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico
***** Tom Dumoulin, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome
**** Rigoberto Uran, Mikel Landa, Miguel Ángel López, Adam Yates
*** Wilco Kelderman, Fabio Aru, Geraint Thomas, Romain Bardet
** Bob Jungels, Rafal Majka, Alexey Lutsenko, Simon Spilak
* Rohan Dennis, Primoz Roglic, George Bennett, Andrey Amador
Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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