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Tirreno - Adriatico
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Written by Wicky (2005-03-01 00:00)
Translated by DZI (2006-01-09 15:46:00)

On the 11th of april 1966, the gun goes off for the first time in this new multiple stagerace. The first edition of the race was won by the Italian Dino Zandegu, followed by his fellow countryman Vito Taccone in the same time as the winner.

This stagerace is the Italian answer to the French based Paris – Nice race. Both these races were a great way to prepare for the formerly first worldcuprace of the season, Milan – San Remo. Strangely enough only three riders achieved that ‘Italian double’ objective; Roger de Vlaeminck did it in 1973, Maurizio Fondriest managed it in 1993 and Giorgio Furlan won both the following year.

Starting at the westcoast of Italy, the riders are confronted with a varied terrain all the way down to San Benedetto del Tronto, a coastal town situated right on the Adriatic sea. Because of these start- and finish places the race is lovingly baptised: “La Corsa dei Due Mari”, which translates best into: the two seas race.

Amongst the Italians this stagerace is rated very high. To them it’s a very prestigious event, because it’s the second most important race (next to the Giro d’Italia) in the year. In fact, the foreign riders recognise the importance of this race too, since they’d like to test themselves in this race for goals like Milan – San Remo lateron in the season. It shows when you take a look at all the past winners. Almost half the winners are non-Italian cyclists, amongst them some big names like Rominger, Freire, Zoetemelk and Olano, to name a few.

The trend used to be that most riders preferred Paris – Nice because of the terrain, which asked more of the riders climbing capabilities. Of course the French stagerace has more of a history, but nowadays most riders prefer the Tirreno Adriatico as an ideal preparation for the season because of the somewhat lighter terrain. Despite the hard choice between both races, this race has had fantastic winners in the past. Roger de Vlaeminck is still the all time recordholder. Between 1972 and 1977, he’s the only cyclist who managed to win the race six times in a row.

In recent years we have seen a shift to riders with a more ‘classical’ background. When riders like Erik Dekker, Davide Rebellin and Paolo Bettini are on the winners list you’re also sure that another type of rider can win the Tirreno – Adriatico.

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