The 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico will include more short, steep 'muri' climbs instead of a decisive mountain finish, increasing the list of potential overall winners.
Grand Tour riders including Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) have dominated recent editions of the so-called 'Race of the Two Seas', but the many short and steep 'muri' (wall) climbs in the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico race route will favour more aggressive finisseurs who have the support of a strong team time trial squad.
The seven-day stage race will again start with a 21.5km team time trial in Lido di Camaiore and end with a 10.1km individual time trial on the seafront of San Benedetto del Tronto. The 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico will be held between Wednesday March 13 and Tuesday March 19. It will again overlap with Paris-Nice (March 10-17) and follow on from Strade Bianche (Saturday, March 9) and precede Milan-San Remo (Saturday, March 23).
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) won the blue jersey and trident trophy in 2018 after gaining some final seconds on Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) in the final time trial. Geraint Thomas joined his Team Sky teammate on the final podium, relegating mountain stage winner Mikel Landa (Movistar) to fourth. Other stage winners included Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), who won the two sprint stages, and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) took a stage.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has already confirmed he will kick off his European season at the 2019 race. Nibali will target a third overall victory, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) could opt for Tirreno-Adriatico if he decides not to ride the Giro d'Italia.
The 2019 race route includes stages to Pomerance in Tuscany after the opening time trial, a long ride across central Italy to Foligno in Umbria, another 220km stage to Fossombrone, then hilly stages to Recanati, and a final chance for the sprinters in Jesi before the decisive time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.
Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) and Thomas have previously won in Pomerance, while the 223km fourth stage to Fossombrone is dotted with steep climbs on narrow country roads, including the double assault of the Muro dei Cappuccini, with the last time coming just 5.7km from the finish.
Stage 5 to Recanati will include nine steep climbs, with two on each of the three 22.3km finishing circuits. The last climb kicks up at 18 per cent. Stage 6 to Jesi has been designated the wine stage of the race, celebrating the white Verdicchio wine, while San Benedetto del Tronto will host the final time trial for the 53rd time in 54 editions.
"The route is slightly different from the one proposed in recent years with the initial and final Time Trials, two sprint stages and three stages for finisseur," RCS Sport race director Stefano Allocchio explained at the presentation in Recanati.
"This doesn't mean the race will be easier. There will be 9,000 metres of vertical elevation and the rider face a lot of steep climbs, especially in the Le Marche region. We've decided to return to a more traditional route but with stages that will every rider a chance to show themselves."
Tirreno-Adriatico 2019 stages
Stage 1: Lido di Camaiore (TTT), 21.5km
Stage 2: Camaiore - Pomeranc, 189km
Stage 3: Pomerance - Folign, 224km
Stage 4: Foligno - Fossombron, 223km
Stage 5: Colli al Metauro - Recanat, 178km
Stage 6: Matelica - Jes, 195km
Stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto (ITT), 10.1km