Tim Merlier makes his first European outing of the season in Italy.

It’s one of the most important races of the season, an event where our team has won a total of 18 stages, the general classification once and several jerseys. This year, for its 59th edition, Tirreno-Adriatico will put on the table a parcours with something for everyone, but especially for the climbers, who at the end of the day should be the ones fighting for general classification glory.

A short individual time trial on the opening day in Lido di Camaiore will establish an initial pecking order, and things are likely to remain more or less the same until the fifth stage, when a trip up the San Giacomo climb could bring significant changes. But it will be the hard ascent of Monte Petrano – which returns in a race 15 years after featuring at the Giro d’Italia – that should play a decisive role in the final outcome, as it comes at the end of the penultimate stage, just before the peloton makes its way back to the coast for a flat finish on the streets of San Benedetto del Tronto.

Soudal Quick-Step will travel to the start in the province to Lucca with a strong team capable of going for a good result on all terrains: Julian Alaphilippe – the most successful Frenchman in the history of Tirreno-Adriatico – Kasper Asgreen, Josef Cerny, Fausto Masnada, Tim Merlier, Bert Van Lerberghe and Jordi Warlop.

“This is a race we like and where we had many nice victories in the past, and also this year we’d like to get something out of it. Our main focus will be on Tim – who’s had an excellent start to the season and will rely on a strong lead-out – to go for a stage victory. For the rest, we’ll just take it day by day and see how it goes”, said sports director Davide Bramati.


Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images

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