It‘s getting to that time of year when road fans are spoilt for choice by all the action coming their way. This week sees not just one, but two UCI WorldTour stage races taking place, with Paris-Nice getting underway yesterday in France and Tirreno-Adriatico set to start in Italy on Wednesday. Both these races are among the top tier of UCI WorldTour events, so all riders will be looking to put in a big performance: Katusha and Movistar Team are no exception.
The Race to the Sun
Despite missing out in the bunch sprint in yesterday’s opening stage, Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff has a stage win firmly in his sights during this week’s “Race to the Sun”. The Norwegian is looking to build his form ahead of the Spring Classics, having already taken a victory this year at the Tour of Oman. With no time-trials or summit finishes in this year’s edition, the race favours classics specialists like Kristoff, although last year’s fourth-place finisher Simon Spilak will no doubt come to the fore when the race hits the hills in the south of France.
Fourth in yesterday’s stage, Movistar Team come with Jose Joaquin Rojas challenging in the sprints and the likes of the Izaguirre brothers, Sylvester Szmyd and Frenchman John Gadret looking to do damage in the hillier stages.
The Race of the Two Seas
Tirreno-Adriatico kicks off this Wednesday with the first Team Time Trial of the year, an 18 km test where the Spanish ProTeam will be looking to put their recent TTT training and time in the wind tunnel to good effect. Nairo Quintana leads the squad as he continues his preparation for the Giro d’Italia and will be supported by strong rouleurs such as Alex Dowsett, Jonathan Castroviejo and Adriano Malori, who will use the opening stage to set their leader up for a tilt at the overall classification.
One rider notorious for thriving on the short sharp ascents that characterise Tirreno-Adriatico is Dani Moreno, who will lead Katusha in Italy from Wednesday. Lining up alongside the Spaniard will be Italian tough guy Luca Paolini and former Russian national champion Alexander Kolobnev.
Stay tuned for a fantastic week of racing to come!