Test against the best for Adam Yates at Tirreno-AdriaticoSat 7 Mar 2015
2014 Tour of Turkey winner Adam Yates is set for the ultimate challenge when he lines up against Tour de France supreme as the general classification leader for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Tirreno-Adriatico.
The week-long Italian Tour begins this Wednesday with a team time trial, before the road stages provide early sprint opportunities ahead of a decisive stage five mountain top finish and closing individual time trial.
As one of a number of objectives for the team, 22-year-old Yates will line up against four of the biggest names in cycling in the early season test.
“We have a couple of goals for the week,” sport director Matt White said. “One is to see where Adam Yates is at in his first stage race of the year.”
“There is no hiding, this is a very very competitive field. We have (Vincenzo) Nibali, (Chris) Froome, (Alberto) Contador and (Nairo) Quintana, who I see as the four favourites for the Tour de France, all here racing in Tirreno.
“It’s going to be a great indication to see where Adam is at against as classier field as you can get. I think top ten is a realistic goal, I will be very happy if Adam can get into the top ten.”
Crucial to that goal is the battle to the summit of Terminillo on stage five next Sunday where Italian Ivan Santaromita will come into his own at his home race in support of Yates.
Before that, the engines of time trial specialists Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Jens Mouris and Svein Tuft will be valuable in getting Yates, and the team, off to a flying start.
“The team time trial is always a focus for us,” White said.
“We have a lot of them this year. We have one here, one at the Giro d’Italia, one at the Tour de France, one in Alberta and one at the Vuelta a Espana, so we are going to practice the discipline a lot this year.
“It is one of our pet events definitely and it’s the first time this year we can have a good hit out.”
Rounding out the team is Danish neo-pro Magnus Cort and experienced team captain Mathew Hayman.
“There is a few other boxes to tick as well,” White concluded. “Chasing stage wins is one and the other thing is to put the final touches on preparations for next month.”
“Like Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico is the last chance for the guys to prepare for the Classics. It’s a great quality week of racing and it’s the last big stepping-stone before a big month of racing in April.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE at Tirreno-Adriatico (11-17 March 2015):