Rigoberto Uran will lead a well-rounded EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale squad into the 53rd edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, starting Wednesday, with eyes on the general classification.
Tirreno, nicknamed the “Race of Two Seas,” runs between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts. The race beings in Lido di Camaiore Wednesday with a team time trial and ends the following Tuesday with an individual effort in San Benedetto del Tronto.
Joining Uran are Simon Clarke, Sacha Modolo, Dani Moreno, Taylor Phinney, Tom Van Asbroeck and Sep Vanmarcke.
“The primary hope of Tirreno is to be competitive in the general classification with Rigoberto Uran. And a rider like Sacha Modolo is going to be looking at this as his final preparation for Milano-Sanremo,” said team boss Jonathan Vaughters. “We’ve also got a majority of our classics team getting ready.”
Road captain Simon Clarke sees an interesting race setting up and one of the season’s first major tests.
“Tirreno is always interesting because it’s the first big test in Europe, particularly for the GC riders — that and Paris-Nice. So these races are always very good indicators of how good guys are going to be leading into the year,” Clarke said. “It’s a nice Tirreno this year, because there’s the standard team time trial to start with, and then we’ve got stage one and the second-to-last stage, which are nice sprint stages. And having Modolo here and on the team creates a nice new opportunity for us on the flat stages. Then we’ve got two undulating stages, stage three and stage five with nice little finishes that I think suit myself and Sep. Hopefully between the two of us we can be competitive on those stages while supporting Rigo.”
The true general classification test comes on stage four, which sees the race finish at Sarnano Sottotetto after a 13-kilometer climb.
“I’ve got a good feeling about this week for the team,” Clarke said. “We’ve got a team here that can be competitive in every stage, which is a good thing.”
Fabrizio Guidi, who will direct the team, pointed to the diverse and testing nature of the parcours.
“The course of Tirreno, unlike last year, is technical, very demanding and gives space to any kind of specialist: sprinters, climbers and time trial riders will enjoy it,” he said. “We have overall ambitions with Uran and the chance to sprint with Modolo. Reconciling everything is difficult but not impossible thanks to the professional approach of the group and our competition strategy. We certainly will not have days off. Every day we will target the maximum result.”
This year’s version of Tirreno will pay tribute to Michele Scarponi, as stage five finishes in his hometown of Filottrano. The 2009 overall winner and multiple stage winner was killed by a motorist while training last April.
EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico
Fabrizio Guidi (ITA)
Ken Vanmarcke (BEL)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Sacha Modolo (ITA)
Dani Moreno (ESP)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Rigoberto Uran (COL)
Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)