Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 1 Preview

This is the same stage that opened the race last year. It’s only 16,9 km but most of the route is alongside the sea and the wind and the rain could easily be a factor. The weather forecast isn’t very promising but let’s hope all teams get the same conditions - wet or not.

The intermediate time after 7,9 km is right before the more technical part of the route, meaning the fastest team here won’t necessarily win the stage. The teams have been training on the route for a couple of days already and every team with ambitions of winning this stage will know every part of the route down to the smallest detail.

Last year GreenEdge killed the competition and distanced number two (Radioshack) with 17 seconds. This year we have at least three teams with a good chance of winning and naturally GreenEdge are among them again. The Australian team have specialists like Tuft, Mouris, Lancaster and Impey plus riders like Langeveld and Goss who are good in this discipline too. GreenEdge have been training on the course for the past four days and seem to be the big favorite. Still there are two teams with a chance of beating them.

BMC and Omega Pharma-Quickstep both bring very strong teams for this stage. Originally Tony Martin was set to ride Paris-Nice, but in the end he decided to do Tirreno in order to help out the team in this stage and try his luck in the final time trial. Together with Martin, Quickstep have guys like Kwiatkowski, Stybar, Terpstra, Steegmans and Cavendish for the team time trial and they should be able to clock in a top3 time Wednesday afternoon.

Same goes for BMC. Unlike GreenEdge and Quickstep, BMC are extra motivated to do well in team time trial in order give Cadel Evans a good start in the GC. The American team were outstanding in the TTT in Tour of Qatar and that was even without Evans, Hushovd and Quinziato. Personally, I think this will be a fight between BMC and GreenEdge but I wouldn’t count out Quickstep.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff and Radioshack will most likely be the last two teams in the Top5 for this stage and on a good day both of them could make Top3 as well. It all depends on the weather conditions.

With five so strong teams, it’s not very easy to pick a joker but since it’s now a tradition to do so, I’ll say Blanco. The Dutch team have started out the season in a great way - already taking 10 wins - and they do bring a good team for the TTT as well. Bauke Mollema is aiming at the overall classification and I wouldn’t be surprised if they start out Tirreno-Adriatico the same way they have started out the season.

Winnerpick: BMC or GreenEdge
Joker: Blanco

The first team start at 14:45 local time and with three minutes intervals we can expect the last team to finish around 16:10. For live stage coverage check out cyclingfans & steephills.

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