Like all the pure sprinters at Tirreno-Adriatico, Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) knows that Friday's stage 3 to Montalto di Castro is probably the only chance of victory in this year’s 'Race of the Two Seas'.
This year's race is expected to be decided on Sunday's queen stage to Monte San Vicino but the other stages are either time trials or hilly stages with climbs included in the finale of the stages, as was the case in Pomarance, where Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) attacked alone to win and take the race lead.
Saturday’s stage to Foligno includes two tough late climbs; Monday's stage to Cepagatti includes a rolling final 50km with a kick up at five kilometres to go and a rising finish. They are more suited to world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) rather than Ewan or the likes of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Elia Viviani (Team Sky) or Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep), who have all started Tirreno-Adriatico after recently competing on the track.
Even Friday's stage to Montalto di Castro includes some climbing, with some steep but short climbs early on, a gradual rise to Scansano after 100km, another steeper but shorter climb in Manciano with 30km to go and a final kick up at 7% inside the final kilometre.
"It's not going to be a straight forward sprint stage, it's going to be a tough day out but if any of the stages come down to a sprint, it's going to be that one," Ewan told Cyclingnews.
"Obviously if there's only one real sprint stage in this year's Tirreno-Adriatico, then all the sprinters and their teams are going to be up for it. I think it's going to be a pretty tough one."
The 21-year-old Australian has enjoyed a successful start to the 2016 season, winning the first and final stages of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide and a stage at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. He was 15th at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on his arrival in Europe. He has endured a busy winter and already raced for 16 days. He is naturally looking forward to a break soon before building up for a probable debut at the Giro d'Italia in May.
"I had a pretty big season in Australia already during the summer down there. I'm probably a little bit tired from that but I'm feeling pretty good," he explained.
"This is going to be my last race for this block, so I'll be able to enjoy a bit of a break soon enough."