Photographer and Rouleur contributor Russ Ellis spent a week following Tirreno-Adriatico as spring finally sprung in Italy.
The traditional warm-up race for Grand Tour specialists, cobbled classic contenders and Milan-Sanremo hopefuls alike, ‘la corsa dei due mari’ takes riders across the central spine of Italy from the western facing Tuscan shores of the Tyrrhenian Sea to those of the Adriatic.
“You’ve got the beaches and the palm trees at either end, and the snowy mountains in the middle, which has been a nice contrast,” says Ellis.
“Down on the coast it feels like summer already, it feels like the classics are out of the way and we’re on to the summer Grand Tours, but up in the mountains it was definitely still early spring.”
The old guard of cycling fans have been coming out each day.
Strade Bianche victor an in form rider Michał Kwiatkowski signs on. Ellis also shot the Polish former world champion in Team Sky’s January training camp for the latest issue of Rouleur.
Giro d’Italia and Tour de France hopeful Nairo Quintana rides alone through the snowbanks to a stage win on the summit of Monte Terminillo.
“It’s a really nice feeling at this race,” says Ellis. “Everyone is very relaxed and it’s just not as crazy as a Grand Tour.”
Italian architecture galore in the Lazio region of central Italy, offering a palette of bright sunlight, clear seas and the pastel of stucco walls.
The opening stage team time trial in Lido di Camaiore, the seaside resort in Italian cycling’s Tuscan heartland.
Tom Boonen is riding Tirreno-Adriatico ahead of his final cobbled classics campaign.
“The east coast just seemed to have a crystal blue sea and it was warmer. It was like Florida, like Miami…. whereas the west coast was all closed up, a bit more Blackpool.”