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"On the two occasions I won it, I made the difference in the last two days. But the Team Time Trial on the first day is already a significant one - we need a very strong team to win this race".

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad

ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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ESTEBAN CHAVES

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PETER SAGAN

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RIGOBERTO URAN

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TEJAY VAN GARDEREN

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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08.03.2016 @ 20:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

On the eve of the 51st edition of the Tirreno-Adriatico NamedSport, seven of the event's star riders expressed their ambitions in a pre-race press conference just a kilometre away from the start-finish area of the inaugural Team Time Trial in Lido di Camariore.

The 22.7km pan flat course will feature an interesting test for all 23 teams in contention tomorrow. Two times winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team, in 2012 and 2013) returns with big expectations at the helm of the Astana team. His rivals for the overall classification are set to be Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team), Esteban Chaves (Orica Greenedge) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team). With the classics in sight, world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) will find the right terrain to finalize their condition and boost their confidence while sprinters.

Other big names and up and coming riders to follow will be: Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff), Jean-Christophe Péraud and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF), Taylor Phinney and Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), Simon Clarke and Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team), Edvald Boasson Hagen and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Ždenek Stybar, Tony Martin and Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – Quick Step), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling), Diego Ulissi and Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida), Tiejs Benoot (Lotto Soudal), Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team), Caleb Ewan (Orica Greenedge), Enrico Battaglin (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo), Michal Kwiatkowski, Elia Viviani and Wout Poels (Team Sky), Fabian Cancellara, Giacomo Nizzolo and Bauke Mollema (Trek - Segafredo).

 

PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Vincenzo Nibali: "This is always a very hard race. My come-back to racing in Italy last weekend has been a pretty good one. I felt good at the Strade Bianche even if it’s not a very suitable race for me. The day after, at Larciano, I would have liked to do more but my legs were hurting. Now we’re at Tirreno-Adriatico, the competition is always very high here. There’s never one single stage that can shape the overall classification. On the two occasions I won it, I made the difference in the last two days. But the Team Time Trial on the first day is already a significant one – we need a very strong team to win this race".

Alejandro Valverde: "In 2002, this was my first and only one stage race in Italy up to date. It was quite tough; I was a neo pro. Many years have passed since and my goals now are completely different. We’ll study the course the best possible way after the Team Time Trial tomorrow. I already know that stage 2 has a tricky finale that suits Peter Sagan very much. The uphill finish [on stage 5] will be very important. The condition of my rivals seems to be excellent. It’ll be hard to beat them but I’ll race at the front as much as I can".


Peter Sagan: "I’m not disappointed from the Strade Bianche, no, that belongs to the past. It has been a good race for me, it was only my third race of the year, excluding the Tour de San Luis which was a long time ago. I’m here to see how my condition has progressed. I’ll have to look at the road book day by day to understand what I can achieve in this race".

Tejay van Garderen: "The Vuelta a Andalucia was a nice race against Alejandro Valverde – I came second to him. It meant a few take away points, but in the end, it was a buildup race before this WorldTour event, I just take it for what it is. We came here with fresh motivation. I haven't ridden the decisive climb of stage 5 before but we know what to expect. People from our performance team have mapped it out; we know which are the steepest sections, we’ve definitely done our homework".

Rigoberto Uran: "To have changed team [from Etixx – Quick Step to Cannondale Pro Cycling Team] doesn’t change anything for me. I’m used to changing teams! My main goal for this year is the Giro. We’re working towards it and I feel good with the new team so far".

Esteban Chaves: "We’ve had a training camp in South Africa, after which my first race is a WorldTour event so I’m not sure of what to expect. The feeling is good but racing at this level is different than training. I never feel the pressure though, with or without being invited to the top riders' pre-race press conference. Our point is to enjoy the race! We have two options with Adam Yates for the GC and Caleb Ewan for the sprints".


Following the riders' press conference, the book "50 e più - Mezzo secolo di Tirreno-Adriatico, la Corsa dei Due Mari", by Sergio Meda and Sergio Penazzo on the history of Tirreno-Adriatico, was presented by Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director.

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