This time last year, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had two wins under his belt, from Strade Bianche and the Volta ao Algarve. The man himself does not appear concerned ahead of Tirreno – Adriatico which begins on Wednesday.
"I'm not worried," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "I'm not bad. I have no stress. The season is still very long. My goals are the Amstel Gold Race, the Ardennes classics, the Tour, the Olympics and World Championships in Valkenburg."
BMC will be the final team out of the start gate for the opening stage – a 16.9 kilometre team time trial between San Vincenzo and Donoratico. The team’s efforts will be centred on defending champion, Cadel Evans who said earlier this week that he will be using the race to put his early-season fitness under the microscope.
"To repeat last year's result here would be an ultimate gauge of my fitness," the Australian said. "But we'll first test my fitness and then see the result."
As for Gilbert, he is uncertain of his own chances in a well-rounded BMC outfit, against the rest of the peloton where Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) and Peter Velits (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) are among the favourites for general classification.
"I do not know if my form is good enough to win a stage here," he said. "The competition here is very strong."