The 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico will feature a summit finish atop Monte Terminillo as the Italian stage race celebrates its 50th edition next March. The route was presented in Camaiore on Thursday morning in the presence of Italian national coach Davide Cassani, Francesco Moser and Diego Zandegù, who won the first edition of the race in 1966.
The Race of the Two Seas follows a familiar format as it passes through the increasingly rugged terrain of Tuscany, Umbria and the Marche, bookended by a team time trial on the Tyrrhenian coast in Camaiore and the traditional individual test in San Benedetto del Tronto.
The opening team time trial on March 11 is 22.7km in length and has the potential to open significant gaps in the general classification. The second stage brings the race to Cascina and ought to give the sprinters a chance to test themselves ahead of Milan-San Remo.
Stage 3 to Arezzo offers another chance for a bunch finish albeit on a very different kind of finale. This year, the technical final circuit and uphill finishing straight saw Peter Sagan gain revenge for his defeat at Strade Bianche by edging out Michal Kwiatkowski in the sprint, while Simon Clarke claimed third place.
As per recent tradition, the toughest stages take place as a weekend double-header that should go a long way to deciding the recipient of the striking winner’s trident. First up on stage 4 is a tough 218km slog from Indicatore to Castelraimondo. Straddling Umbria and the Marche, the stage includes four categorised climbs – Foce dello Scopetone, Poggio San Romualdo, Monte San Vicino and the Crispiero, which is followed by a short drop to the finish in Castelraimondo.
Stage 5 is the tappone, the toughest stage, which crosses the Passo Sallegri, Le Arette and Forca di Arrone before the testing summit finish at Monte Terminillo at an altitude of 1675 metres.
The penultimate day should offer the fast men another work-out ahead of La Classicissima with a 210km stage from Rieti to Porto Sant’Elpidio, before the closing 10km time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto on March 17 brings the curtain down on Tirreno-Adriatico.
After arguably outshining the star quality on show at Paris-Nice in recent years, Tirreno-Adriatico race director Stefano Allocchio is confident that RCS Sport will again attract some of the biggest names in the peloton to central Italy in March. 2014 winner Alberto Contador is expected to return, along with 2012 and 2013 champion Vincenzo Nibali, as well as Chris Froome and Joaquim Rodriguez.
"For 2015 we created a course that, as in previous editions, will test every type of rider," he said. "Participation will be extraordinary as usual. Contador, Nibali, Froome, Valverde, Rodriguez, just to give you some names, have all programmed to take part at the race already and I’m certain the spectacle will be guaranteed."
2015 Tirreno-Adriatico route:
Wednesday, March 11. Stage 1: Lido di Camaiore, 22.7km (Team time trial)
Tuesday, March 12. Stage 2: Camaiore - Cascina, 153km
Friday, March 13. Stage 3: Cascina - Arezzo, 203km
Saturday, March 14. Stage 4: Indicatore (Arezzo) - Castelraimondo, 218km
Sunday, March 15. Stage 5: Esanatoglia - Terminillo, 194km
Monday, March 16. Stage 6: Rieti - Porto Sant'Elpidio, 210km
Tuesday, March 17. Stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto, 10km (Individual time trial)