[Underneath article was written before the start of the Tirreno and has not been updated]
The 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico takes place on a traditional route in the sense that there is one mountain stage rising literally above all other stages. Last year’s race was packed with short, sharp climbs and lacked a high altitude finish, so it was tweaked to Classics type of riders instead of traditional grand tour contenders. That is, in theory. The actual top 5 turned out to be rather conventional: Primoz Roglic, Adam Yates, Jakob Fuglsang, Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot.
Of these five riders Fuglsang is the only Tirreno contender in 2020. The other four are racing the Tour de France.
In terms of the GC victory the Tirreno-Adriatico is likely to come down to stage 4 and 5, while contenders earn beer money in the ITT and hilly stages with punchy arrivals.
The 4th stage is the first serious uphill test, but since the finale is downhill it will be hard to open up large time gaps. The 5th stage travels to Sassotetto on a course that’s long and hard. After numerous intermediate ascents the final haul up to the mountain resort is 13.2 kilometres long and the average gradients sits at 7.3%.
Lesser time trialists may try their luck by attacking in the finale of stage 7. That race finishes on a hilly circuit with a number of double digit ramps. The 1.3 kilometres climb to the line serves an uphill kick at 13% in the last few hundred metres.
The traditional individual effort against the clock in San Benedetto del Tronto takes place on the last day. The 10 kilometres course along the Adriatic coast is as flat as can be. Last year, Roglic was 26 seconds faster than Yates and he won the GC 1 second ahead of the Briton.
Almost all GC riders who are eyeing the Giro d’Italia will make an appearance in the Tirreno-Adriatico. So the Race of the Two Seas is going to be a huge test ahead of La Corsa Rosa.
Vincenzo Nibali is the only former winner at the start. The Sicilian won the Tirreno-Adriatico in 2012 and 2013.
Favourites 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico
*** Jakob Fuglsang, Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates
** Vincenzo Nibali, Aleksandr Vlasov, Michael Woods
* Chris Froome, Dylan Teuns, Wilco Kelderman, Rafal Majka