Tirreno-Adriatico 2022: Route, contenders and predictions

One of the two key early season stage races, Tirreno-Adriatico, has attracted some very big names including Tadej Pogačar, Julian Alaphilippe, Caleb Ewan and Jonas Vingegaard

Tirreno-Adriatico comes in-between the two big Italian Classics of Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, with the race taking place over 7 stages from the 7th to the 13th of March.

The race usually starts a day or two after the French race of Paris-Nice and the 2022 edition begins just one day after ‘the race to the sun’ in France.

Tirreno-Adriatico starts on the west coast of Italy on the shore of the Tyrrhenian before heading across the country to the Adriatic coast where the race comes to a close.

Some of the world’s best riders will be looking to develop their form at this race with a possible battle between two exceptional champions in Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).

Related: WorldTour men's calendar – The Rouleur Racing Guide

The Route

Tirreno-Adriatico doesn’t quite have the same look as the past editions. The final stage in San Benedetto del Tronto is not a time trial for the first time since 2010.

The opening team time trial is long gone too, with an individual test against the clock in Lido di Camaiore replacing it.

Stage 1: Lido di Camaiore to Lido di Camaiore (13.9km ITT) 7th March

The opening stage is a pan-flat individual time trial with a distance of just under 14km. This will suit the power men, given that the course is far from being a technical one. 

Stage 2: Camaiore to Sovicille (219km) 8th March

A lumpy second half of the first road stage of the ‘race of the two seas’ could throw a few of the sprinters out of the back if ridden in the right way. Some GC contenders may be able to gain time on rivals who won't be taking risks this early on in the race.

Stage 3: Murlo to Terni (170km) 9th March

Stage three is another tricky hilly stage for sprinters to deal with. Though it may be even tougher than stage two, this route still gives some time for the fast men to get back with a short plateau, followed by a sharp descent and 14km of flat before the finish.

Stage 4: Cascata delle Marmore to Bellante (202km) 10th March

The fourth stage of the race is very much in the remit of the puncheurs and the GC contenders. A very mountainous start turns into punchy laps taking on a climb to the finish town of Bellante three times.

Stage 5: Serfo to Fermo (155km) 11th March

This very challenging edition of Tirreno-Adriatico continues with another steep uphill finish to Fermo. On stage five, there will be one passage of the finish line before entering the very hilly finishing circuit.

Stage 6: Apecchio to Carpegna (215km) 12th March

The only major mountain stage of the race comes on the penultimate day with two brutal ascents of the Monte Carpegna from two angles. It's a vicious final 30km that culminates with a descent down to the finish in Carpegna itself.

Stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto to San Benedetto del Tronto (159km) 13th March

Finally, stage seven looks like a clear-cut sprinter's stage. Even with the hilly first half of the day, the final 70km of absolutely flat riding should see the fast men go all out for the stage victory.

Contenders

This year’s Tirreno-Adriatico is looking like it is shaping up to be a real cracker. While there are a lot of big names heading to France to race Paris-Nice, Tirreno is still getting some stars.

Read our full Paris-Nice Preview

Tadej Pogačar is, of course, the stand-out favourite in the race as he looks to defend his title and lift the trident trophy aloft once again.

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) (Image: Getty)

However, the UAE Team Emirates leader will be challenged from multiple sides. Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) are likely to be his main rivals. Evenepoel has shown he is on flying form at the Volta Algarve already this season, winning the GC battle by over one-minute ahead of his closest rival. Vingegaard has got off to a good start too, winning the hilly one-day race Drôme Classic in front of other strong climbers such as Guillaume Martin.

Related: Jonas Vingegaard: his breakout year

Other riders that are currently down to race for the GC are Romain Bardet (DSM), Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech), Enric Mas (Movistar), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) to name a few.Julian Alaphilippe (Image: Getty)

On the stage hunting side of things, world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) will be keen to be on top form after racing Strade Bianche and heading into Milan-San Remo.

Sprinters are, at the moment, thin on the ground with Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) and Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) being the four stand-out names on the current startlist.

Read our full Milan-Sanremo preview

Predictions 

We do have one rider who does seem unstoppable when it comes to GC battles and that is double Tour de France champion Pogačar.

The Slovenian 23-year-old has just come from defending his title at the UAE Tour in style, and will also be hoping he can also keep his Tirreno-Adriatico crown in 2022. The new rivalry of Pogačar vs Vingegaard will get its first viewing of 2022, with Remco Evenepoel being thrown into the mix as well. 

We don’t think that these two rivals can beat Pogačar in the long run though, and that’s why he is our pick for the overall win.