RCS Sport has unveiled the route of the 2021 edition of Tirreno-Adriatico, which will feature a summit finish at Prati di Tivo on stage 4. The tough 14.5km climb was last on the route in 2013, when Chris Froome claimed victory at the summit, while Vincenzo Nibali was a stage winner at Prati di Tivo the previous year.
Nibali, who won the general classification in both 2012 and 2013, has confirmed that he will again ride Tirreno-Adriatico this year. The race is set to take place from March 10-16, returning to its usual pre-Milan-San Remo slot after being rescheduled to September in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While last year’s race was extended to eight stages, the Race of the Two Seas returns to its traditional seven-day format in 2021.
“Tirreno-Adriatico is an unmissable event in the early stages of my racing calendar, it’s an important test of form that I don’t think I could do without,” Nibali said in a statement released by RCS Sport on Tuesday.
For the second year in succession there is no team time trial on the opening day, and the race will instead begin with a flat and fast 156km road stage around Lido di Camaiore. Stage 2 is some 226 kilometres in length and features some undulating terrain in the finale, with the pure sprinters unlikely to be in contention at the finish in Chiusdino near Siena.
There is a hilly opening to stage 3, but the road flattens out on the approach to finish Gualdo Tadino, though there is still an uphill finale, albeit at a relatively gentle four per cent.
Stage 4 promises to be a pivotal day at Tirreno-Adriatico, as the gruppo faces a short but intense haul through the Apennines from Terni to the Abruzzese ski station of Prati di Tivo. The 156km stage includes the climbs of Forca di Arrone, Sella di Corno and Passo Capannelle. A long descent then brings the race to the base of the final climb to Prati di Tivo. The 14.5km ascent boasts some 22 hairpin bends and an average gradient of seven per cent, with some ramps of 12 per cent.
The race’s big weekend continues on stage 5 with the so-called Tappa dei Muri – the ‘Stage of the Walls’ – that will see the peloton tackle four laps of a tough, 23km circuit around Castelfidardo in the finale of the stage. There is precious little respite on the circuit, which is composed of a succession of steep, wall-like climbs with gradients of up to 18 per cent, while the stage finish is an uphill one.
The flat penultimate stage from Castelraimondo to the Adriatic resort of Lido di Fermo should offer the sprinters another opportunity, while Tirreno-Adriatico will once again finish with a time trial on the seafront in San Benedetto del Tronto.
Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) set a course record in the San Benedetto del Tronto time trial last September, but the route will be different in 2021 and slightly longer, at 11.1 kilometres.
“We have created a route that resembles that of last year’s edition, with stages adapted to fit the characteristics of each and every rider competing,” said Race Director Stefano Allocchio.
Many races in the opening weeks of the 2021 season have been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Allocchio expressed confidence that Tirreno-Adriatico will be able to go ahead as planned. The race falls between two other RCS Sport events on the calendar: Strade Bianche on March 6 and Milan-San Remo on March 20. RCS Sport is expected to unveil the route of the Giro d’Italia next week.
“My thanks go in particular to all of the organisations involved in the route’s planning that have worked hard to make sure that the Tirreno-Adriatico can go ahead in a safe and secure way during such a difficult period,” said Allocchio.
Last year’s Tirreno-Adriatico was won by Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) and the Briton is expected to return in 2021. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) have also indicated they will compete at Tirreno-Adriatico.
“It’s a race where I have had a lot of joy, especially in 2012 and 2013, but it also always gives me a real boost for the rest of the season,” said Nibali.
Stage 1: Wednesday, March 10. Lido di Camaiore-Lido di Camaiore, 156km
Stage 2: Thursday, March 11. Camaiore-Chiusdino, 226km
Stage 3: Friday, March 12. Monticiano-Gualdo Tadino, 189km
Stage 4: Saturday, March 13. Terni-Prati di Tivo, 148km
Stage 5: Sunday, March 14. Castellalto-Castelfidardo, 205km
Stage 6: Monday, March 15. Castelraimondo-Lido di Fermo, 169km
Stage 7: Tuesday, March 16. San Benedetto del Tronto, 11.1km (TT)