A day after the course of the Pro Tour's first race of the season, Paris-Nice was announced, its second race, Tirreno-Adriatico (March 8-14) has also been unveiled. Run over seven stages and beginning in Tivoli on March 8, this year's edition will feature one big day of climbing plus a 20 kilometre time trial.
Stage one is a circuit that starts and finishes in Tivoli, with a slight ascent until Forano before it flattens out for a sprint to the finish. Stage 2, from Tivoli to Frascati runs past Subiaco and the ascent of Arcinazzo before coming down into Fiuggi, Ariccia and Alban Laziale. From Frascati riders will start a circuit that includes the ascent of the Tuscolo before returning to Frascati for the finish.
Stage 3, from Avezzano to Paglieta pits riders against the Forca Caruso (1,107m) after 25 kilometres, and riders will finish the stage with two trips of a 14km circuit around Paglieta. Paolo Bettini has won this stage twice, and look out for the Quick Step rider to win it again if he's in the squad for this race. The fourth stage is one for the sprinters, with just one ascent of the S. Elpidio in what should be a fast day with an even faster finish.
March 12 sees a return to the time trial, restored to the race after being absent since 2002. Run around Servigliano, the last six kilometres of the 20-kilometre test against the clock are slightly undulating, with positions on general classification up for grabs. This is followed by a mountaintop finish on stage 6, which runs from San Benedetto Del Tronto to San Giacomo; the stage will finish on Monti Della Laga after 12km of climbing to reach the summit at 1,105 metres.
This year's edition will finish with a stage that takes riders from Campli to San Benedetto Del Tronto, including a final circuit repeated seven times, which should give the sprinters enough time to get organised for a fast finale to the race.
21 teams will ride this year's Tirreno-Adriatico:
Davitamon-Lotto (Bel), Quick Step-Innergetic (Bel), Team CSC (Den), AG2R (Fra), Bouygues Telecom (Fra), Crédit Agricole (Fra), Cofidis, le Crédit par téléphone (Fra), Française des Jeux (Fra), Gerolsteiner (Ger), T-Mobile Team (Ger), Panaria-Navigare (Ire), Lampre-Fondital (Ita), Liquigas (Ita), Milram Team (Ita), Rabobank (Ned), Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa), Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne (Spa), Liberty Seguros-Wurth Team (Spa), Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spa), Discovery Channel (USA), Phonak Hearing Systems (Swi)
Stage 1 - March 8: Tivoli - Tivoli, 167km
Stage 2 - March 9: Tivoli - Frascati, 171km
Stage 3 - March 10: Avezzano - Paglieta, 183km
Stage 4 - March 11: Paglieta - Civitanova Marche, 219km
Stage 5 - March 12: Servigliano - Servigliano (Crono), 20km
Stage 6 - March 13: S.Benedetto Del Tronto - S. Giacomo (Monti Della Laga), 164km
Stage 7 - March 14: Campli - S.Benedetto Del Tronto, 166km