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”.