8 14 March, 2.WT, Italy
If Paris-Nice has the most compelling narrative, The Italian race runs it close and it has a better trophy – who wouldn't want a massive trident? Tirreno-Adriatico also jockeys with Paris-Nice to o!fer the best prep for Milan-San Remo. It has edged ahead on this front in recent years with La Classicissima winners generally coming from here. Organisers RCS Sport have played to this tendency by dialling up the stage length to mimic San Remo and there are three stages over 200km this year. The race follows a familiar format, with a 22km TTT in Lido di Camaiore and a 10.1km individual test bookending the race in San Benedetto del Tronto. In between, there’s a brace of nailed-on sprints, a couple of stages for breakaway specialists and a GC charge up Monte Terminillo, where Nairo Quintana memorably won solo in a blizzard in 2015. The climb is 16km long with an average gradient of 7.3 per cent and will go a long way to setting the overall classi!ication's !inal look. The race also pays its respects to the areas and people hit by earthquakes in August and October last year on stage 5 between Rieti and Fermo.