Froome, Sagan, Landa and Dumoulin headline Tirreno-Adriatico next week
Briton Chris Froome (Sky), Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Spanish cyclists' Mikel Landa (Movistar) will be some of the star attractions at the 53rd edition of the Tirreno-Adriatico, March 7 to 13
Froome will be joined by Sky teammates Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatowski.
Briton Mark Cavendish returns in the Corsa dei Due Mari (The Race of the Two Seas) despite the Team Dimension Data rider suffering concussion on the Abu Dhabi Tour. Sprinter Cavendish, 32, has raced in every Tirreno-Adriatico since 2008, picking up three stage wins in a race he traditionally uses to prepare for Milan-San Remo, which is on March 17.
Vincenzo Nibali, third in the Giro and second in the Vuelta, will also compete, but Colombia's Nairo Quintana, who won the race for the second time in three years in 2017, will skip this year's edition as he focuses on the Tour de France in 2018.
Also taking part are Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team), Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Mikel Landa (Movistar Team), Rigoberto Uran (EF Team First-Drapac p / b Cannondale) and Fabio Aru (UAE-Team Emirates).
The line up this year is worthy of a Grand Tour and should see some animated racing.
Froome is the main contender along with Dumoulin, Landa, Nibali, Urán and Bardet, second and third in the Tour respectively, Fabio Aru, Richie Porte, Miguel Angel "Superman" Lopez, Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas are all the men fighting for the general classification title.
Entering battle in the sprint stages are Slovakian triple world champion Peter Sagan, Belgian Olympic gold medalist Greg Van Avermaet, Polish Michal Kwiatkowski and the Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria.
The 53rd edition of the Tirreno-Adriatico will serve as a tribute to the memory of Michele Scarponi, with one stage finishing in his town, Filottrano (Sunday, March 11).
The 'Race of the Two Seas' repeats a successful formula with two time trials, sprinter stages and stages with very hard finishes, suited to the climbers and classics men.
The two stages against the clock will be identical to those of 2017: it will start with a 21.5-kilometer time trial in Lido di Camaiore and will end with a 10-kilometer time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.
For the sprinters there will be in theory, two opportunities. The first Follonica (Thursday 8), after 167 kilometers with only a brief ascent before the finish, and the stage to Fano (Monday 12), a shorther stage (153 km) with a brutal finish.
The three decisive GC days will be the stages to Trevi (239 km, Friday 9), with two final climbs to the Santo Tommaso wall, with the final kilometer at 11.5 percent and ramps up to 20%, the stage to Scarponi's home town of Filottrano on the fifth stage, with three passes (800 meters at 11.8 percent) and the arrival at 5%, and finally the Queen stage to Sassotetto (Saturday 10), with 11 kilometers of climbing above 7%.