Dressed in their team track suits, and rugged up in multiple layers of clothing, five riders; Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Mark Cavendish (Sky), Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert (BMC), and Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) attended the Tirreno-Adriatico pre-race press conference in San Vincenzo.
The race of the 'two seas' was fittingly opened with riders alighting from a local coast guard patrol boat on a cold day on the Adriatic coast. The riders then answered questions from the assembled press about the race, and posed with the 'golden trident' to be awarded to the race winner in a week's time.
This year’s Tirreno-Adriatico is set to be one of most spectacular for years with Wednesday’s opening team time trial set to decide the first race leader of the race. A more balanced route than previous years will give all riders a chance to compete, with an individual time trial, two sprint stages, two hillier days and a mountain top finish at Prati di Tivo included in addition to the TTT opener.
2011 Tirreno-Adriatico winner Cadel Evans wears number one and leads a formidable BMC Racing Team. Other overall contenders include Italians Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi and Stefano Garzelli, Roman Kreuziger of the Czech Republic, Slovakia’s Peter Velits, Rafal Majka of Poland, Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain and Sweden’s Thomas Lovkvist. Fabian Cancellara, the winner of Saturday’s Strade Bianche race is also riding.
"To repeat last year's result here would be the ultimate indicator of my fitness - I'm trying to build my season as close to last year's preparation as I can," said Evans.
To see the gallery of the pre race press conference, and Cavendish on a boat, click here.