At the historic Centro Civico in the beautiful Tuscan village of Bolgheri, a dozen of the world’s finest cyclists gathered this afternoon at the pre-Tirreno-Adriatico ‘Top Riders’ press conference.
Candidates for overall victory:
Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick Step): “Winning Strade Bianche hasn’t changed my plans. I always had Tirreno-Adriatico in mind as a very important race for me. I was fourth a year ago, and it was the first time I had done so well in a stage race, riding against the best in the world. We have a good team, and I think with Rigo we can really do well.”
Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma – Quick Step): “Our team has two riders who can do well here, although it’s a very hard race, We have a good team for tomorrow’s Team TimeTrial, which could be good for us. Then, in the race for the overall, Kwaitek can ride well on the long climbs, and I’m in good form, so we’ll see.”
Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team): “Tirreno-Adriatico is a good race for me to build rhythm, gain experience of racing in Italy, and get to know the roads in view of the Giro. But I’m not ruling out a good result: I have an good team, and, I hope to reach the climbs in a good position, and then do my best.”
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank): “Tirreno-Adriatico is an important goal. Lots of riders are here to prepare for the Giro,I want the final result. I’ve had a good winter, my sensations are perhaps the best I’ve ever had at the start of a season, and I’ve come here to get a good result.”
Richie Porte (Sky Procycling): “The race route is much more suited to GC guys than Paris-Nice this year, and there are more of the big GC riders here this year. It’s horses for courses, and I’m glad to be here.”
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team): “Compared with last year, there aren’t as many climbs, but they are a bit longer. I don’t know the climbs, but the steep climb at Guardiagrele comes at the end of a long stage, so it’ll be hard. And when you see the field we have here, there are plenty of top climbers here.”
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida): “Strangely, although I live in Donoratico, this is my first Tirreno-Adriatico. It’s new to me, but my expectations are high. I’m in a good moment of form. I hope to do well in a stage, and then, for the General Classification, we’ll see how the race matures.”
Sprinters and poachers:
Peter Sagan (Cannondale): “It’s the third time I’ve done Tirreno-Adriatico. I like the race. The important period of my season starts at this race, and then at Milano-Sanremo. I’ll try and get a result, and win a point or two, but Tirreno is also good for my preparation… like every year.”
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing): “I’m only thinking about Tirreno-Adriatico now: I’ll worry about Milano-Sanremo later. I’ll use this race to work for our leaders Kiserlowski and Arrendondo who are young. Next week it’s my birthday [18 March]. I hope to take something home at the end of this week in Italy: not just wine, but perhaps something with bubbles.”
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “I’ve ridden Tirreno-Adriatico every year since 2008. I like it here. I have a place in Tuscany and in the last years, the race has started here. I know the roads, It’s a nice race. The style of racing in Italy is different from elsewhere. The classics riders on all the teams always want to come here, so we always have strong teams here.”
Marcel Kittel (Team Giant – Shimano): “I’m happy to be here in Italy for my first Tirreno-Adriatico, I expect some nice sprints against Mark [Cavendish] and Andre [Greipel], and then we’ll see.”
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol: “This is my third Tirreno-Adriatico. I’ll try to win a stage here again. I have a really good team to support me in the sprints, and my condition is OK, so we’re going to try.”
Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team): “We want to win this race with Cadel, Time bonuses could be important, so Cadel will try hard in every stage, hoping to take some seconds. If I can support him, I will. If I can go myself for a stage, I will. But Cadel is the most important thing. I’ll work for the team and use Tirreno-Adriatico to build my form for Milano-Sanremo.”
LIVE TV AND INTERNET STREAMING
The 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico will be broadcast in 154 countries around the world.
In Italy, the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico is live on RaiSport 2 from 14.30, passing to Rai3 at 15.10, with live streaming at www.raisport.it. It is also live on Eurosport 2 from 14.30. There are real-time updates and analysis at www.gazzetta.it.
Across Europe, in addition to live coverage on RaiTre, RaiSport 2 and Eurosport 2, the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico is shown in Belgium by the Flemish channel VRT. Roma Maxima can be seen live In Spain on the FORTA group of channels belonging to the autonomous communities: TV3 in Catalonia, TVG in Galicia, TPA in Asturias and EITB in the Basque Country. In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports shows evening highlights of Tirreno-Adriatico.
The channel beIN Sports broadcasts the race exclusively in France and the USA. Al Jazeera will show the race in the Middle East, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, SuperSport shows race highlights. English-speaking Canada will be able to see Tirreno-Adriatico on the Rogers Communications’ channel Sportsnet, while Francophone Canada can watch the race on RDS (Réseau des Sports). TDN (Televisa Deportes Network) provides race coverage in Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Supersports is broadcast in Asia by Eurosport Asia-Pacific. In addition, Sony SIX shows race highlights in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan). TrueVisions does the same in Thailand.
Finally, highlights on FOX Sports in Australia and Sky Sport (New Zealand) confirm the great worldwide interest in Tirreno-Adriatico.