Winner in the Basque Country in 2013, everything he does this year is focussed on winning the Tour de France next July. An outstanding performance in the Tirreno-Adriatico was part of his preparation and cold war-fare at the same time. The Colombian outclassed both Contador and Nibali on the final climb of the Queen Stage.
The only rider able to react to Quintana’s attack in the Tirreno. Mollema finished second in the Queen Stage an was 0’18” down on the victor at the end of the week. The Dutchman swapped teams and is not at Trek, a good move so it seems. In the Basque Country he is backed-up by Schleck and Arredondo.
Last year, the world champion was second in the Basque Country, bested only by Alberto Contador. Kwiatkowski was runner-up in Paris-Nice, a race won by Richie Porte, and while he races in Northern Spain in preparation for the Ardennes classics, he surely won’t mind winning.
Tejay van Garderen
After finishing fifth in the 2014 Tour de France, 2015 is an important year for the 26-year-old American. With Evans retired, Van Garderen is the undisputed leader at BMC. Last month, he underperformed in Paris-Nice, but in February he was strong in the Tour of Oman. The same in recent Volta a Catalunya, where he took the Queen Stage.
The Frenchman started the season well with fourth place in the Tirreno-Adriatico. Still only 24 years of age and already a podium in last year’s Tour de France. A great future ahead of him, of course Pinot’s big goal is to one day step up to the highest place on Paris’ most precious podium.
The former world champion raced Paris-Nice and went on to finish fourth in the overall. Good climber, yet the high mountains are not his cup of tea. Instead, the numerous short climbs in the Basque Country suit him well.