The route of the 2016 and 51st edition Tirreno-Adriatico has been unveiled in Camaiore, where the race will again begin with a team time trial.
Organiser RCS Sport has worked hard in recent years to transform Tirreno-Adriatico from a preparation race for Milan-San Remo into a real stage race for the best Grand Tour contenders. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the race this year thanks to winning alone in the snow on the mountain finish to Terminillo, while Alberto Contador won in 2014.
The 2016 race begins in Lido di Camaiore with a 22.7km team time trial, on the Tuscan Tyrrhenian coast and then heads south towards Grosseto for stages finishes in Pomerance and Montalto di Castro. It then heads inland, crossing the Apennines via Foligno, with a tough mountain finish in Monte San Vicino. The final climb to the finish is 13km long and tops out at 1208m. It will no doubt shake up the overall classification. The 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico again ends in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic coast, with a 10.1km individual time trial.
Tirreno-Adriatico will start on Wednesday March 9 and end on Tuesday March 15. Total race distance is 1019km, with the overall winner again collecting the distinctive Trident trophy. As a WorldTour race, the 18 team registered for the 2016 WorldTour will have automatic entry, with RCS Sport expected to reveal the four wild card teams early in the new year.
“Tirreno-Adriatico has grown a lot in recent years and has become a great stage race in its own right,” Mauro Vegni, the head of cycling at RCS Sport said during the presentation, proud that the recent winners of Tirreno-Adriatico have all gone on to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
"In order to develop all our races, we've decided to invest in Tirreno-Adriatico both on the sport side and in the marketing and communication side. The proof is the now consolidated participation of the best riders in the world, together with the great media following and the TV coverage in the five continents. The new logo is another signal that we want to further grow our events".
The 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico was affect by major storm damage before the start, with numerous fallen trees on the route of the planned team time trial in the Lido di Camaiore area. RCS Sport was forced to switch to a simpler individual time trial but the flat and fast 22.7km team time trial will return in 2016.
The first road stage is traditionally reserved for the sprinters but in 2016 the Classics riders and finisseur will have the first chance of victory in Pomerance. The area near Volterra is famous for producing geo-thermic energy and hosts the annual Paolo Bettini Gran Fondo every April. The hilly finale and the climb up to Pomerance would have been perfect for the former world champion and suit a fast finishing Classics rider.
Stage three follows the Tuscan coast and so is better and better suited to the sprinters. It includes two rolling climbs in the Maremma hills to Scansano and Manciano but the final is flat 25km. The 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico final heads inland on stage for the longest stage of the race to Foligno- the Umbrian town that will also host a stage of the Giro d’Italia in May. The 216km in the rolling hills will be a test of endurance but a sprint finish is expected, even if the steep climb to Montefalco with 15km to go could cause problems for some.
The Queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico is again on the Sunday. Last year, Nairo Quintana fought through heavy snow to win on Terminillo. This time race director Stefano Allocchio has found an even harder climb for a finish at Monte San Vicino in the southern part of the Marche region. The 176km stage includes four serious categorised climbs before the 13km climb to the finish, which rises at 6.6%. The area is one of the homelands for Tirreno-Adriatico, with the tough climbs, rough roads and twisting route making for selective racing. Whoever wins atop Monte San Vicino will probably take the leader’s blue jersey and then look to defend in the final time trial stage.
Stage six starts in Castelraimondo and ends in Cepegatti with two laps of a hilly circuit inland from Pescara. At 210km, it is another stage that will help the sprinters prepare for the distance and fatigue of Milan-San Remo.
The final overall classification will be decided on Tuesday’s seventh and last stage on the sea front at San Benedetto del Tronto. It is the 50th time Tirreno-Adriatico ends in the holiday town, with the 10.1km time trial offering a chance for the specialists and crowning the final overall winner.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2016 stages:
Wednesday March 9: stage one: Lido di Camaiore (team time trial) 22.7km
Thursday March 10: stage two: Camaiore-Pomarance 207km
Friday March 11: stage three: Castelnuovo Val di Cecina–Montalto di Castro 176km
Saturday March 12: stage four: Montalto di Castro-Foligno 216km
Sunday March 13: stage five: Foligno-Monte San Vicino 178km
Monday March 14: stage fix: Castelraimondo-Cepagatti 210km
Tuesday March 15: stage seven: San Benedetto del Tronto (individual time trial) 101.km.