There’s a whiff of the Giro to the Tirreno-Adriatico race which starts on 7 March. The first moment of truth between the mud of “Strade Bianche” won in Siena’s Piazza del Campo by Belgian outsider Tiesj Benoot, and the big spring classic, the historic Milan-Sanremo on 17 March.
The Tirreno-Adriatico is now on its 53rd outing and has assumed the dignified standing of a classic race chosen by a whole slew of champions to deal their cards for their season.
Two curious facts spring to mind: the first is the number and standard of international cycling heavyweights – everyone from Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin, winners of the last Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, to Aru and Vincenzo Nibali who won’t be meeting in the Giro, via Uran, Bardet, Landa, Porte and many others besides who won’t being lining out cheek-by-jowl at the other big traditional Tours. A stellar cast, in other words. The second curious fact relates to one of the seven stages that takes the riders from one sea to another (from the Lido di Camaiore to San Benedetto del Tronto, via some extremely rugged stretches) and finishes at Filottrano, the hometown of Michele Scarponi, who won the Tirreno-Adriatico 10 editions back: a homage to a champion cycling cannot and should not forget.
The Tirreno-Adriatico will reveal what is written in the cycling stars for 2018.