Valverde, Nibali and Sagan speak to the press before Tirreno-Adriatico start

Vincenzo Nibali: “This is always a very hard race. My come-back to racing in Italy last weekend has been a pretty good one. I felt good at the Strade Bianche even if it’s not a very suitable race for me. The day after, at Larciano, I would have liked to do more but my legs were hurting. Now we’re at Tirreno-Adriatico, the competition is always very high here. There’s never one single stage that can shape the overall classification. On the two occasions I won it, I made the difference in the last two days. But the Team Time Trial on the first day is already a significant one – we need a very strong team to win this race”.

Alejandro Valverde: “In 2002, this was my first and only one stage race in Italy up to date. It was quite tough; I was a neo pro. Many years have passed since and my goals now are completely different. We’ll study the course the best possible way after the Team Time Trial tomorrow. I already know that stage 2 has a tricky finale that suits Peter Sagan very much. The uphill finish [on stage 5] will be very important. The condition of my rivals seems to be excellent. It’ll be hard to beat them but I’ll race at the front as much as I can”.

Peter Sagan: “I’m not disappointed from the Strade Bianche, no, that belongs to the past. It has been a good race for me, it was only my third race of the year, excluding the Tour de San Luis which was a long time ago. I’m here to see how my condition has progressed. I’ll have to look at the road book day by day to understand what I can achieve in this race”.

Tejay van Garderen: “The Vuelta a Andalucia was a nice race against Alejandro Valverde – I came second to him. It meant a few take away points, but in the end, it was a buildup race before this WorldTour event, I just take it for what it is. We came here with fresh motivation. I haven’t ridden the decisive climb of stage 5 before but we know what to expect. People from our performance team have mapped it out; we know which are the steepest sections, we’ve definitely done our homework”.

Rigoberto Uran: “To have changed team [from Etixx – Quick Step to Cannondale Pro Cycling Team] doesn’t change anything for me. I’m used to changing teams! My main goal for this year is the Giro. We’re working towards it and I feel good with the new team so far”.

Esteban Chaves: “We’ve had a training camp in South Africa, after which my first race is a WorldTour event so I’m not sure of what to expect. The feeling is good but racing at this level is different than training. I never feel the pressure though, with or without being invited to the top riders’ pre-race press conference. Our point is to enjoy the race! We have two options with Adam Yates for the GC and Caleb Ewan for the sprints”.

alejandro valverde esteban chaves Peter Sagan team time trial tejay van garderen tirreno-adriatico Vincenzo Nibali

Dialogue & Discussion