[editor's note, by chris] WOO HOO!
Well chris said he would like a hand with previewing T-A, and being a farm boy born and bread, I can not refuse a plea for assistance. I don't normally do this sort of thing, prefering to keep my powder dry for (somewhat humorous) race post, often incorrect predictions and always incoherent rants. Well, I have to say, I had fun doing this and I hope you enjoy the effort. Please fill in any glaring omissions on my part.
I'll allow that most of you know that T-A is known as the "Race of Two Seas" as it is run on a course across southern Italy that starts on the coast of the Tyrrhenian and ends on the coast of the ... wait for it... Adriatic, amazing how that works out.
This stage race is a big deal, arguably second only to the Giro in stature and is a traditional warm-up for Milan San Remo. It's been going on for some 40 years now, not exactly a grande dame, but prestigious none the less. According to Wiki, de Vlaemink owned this race back in the 70's, winning 6 editions on the trot, a streak that stands unequalled. I guess he figured it was a good form builder for P-R, which he also ruled during those years. Other than that, there's not much for repeats with Moser, Saronni and Rominger sharing two apiece.
According to the provisional start list at Cycling4all, there appears to be all of 4 past winners of the event lining up for the 2007 edition. Including last years winner T. Dekker, current World Champ Paolo "The Evil Cricket" Bettini, recent Het Volk opportunist Pipo Pozzato and the perennial WC threat Oscar Freire. Rebellin (without a cause)is the only currently active winner not taking part.
Looking over the start list I have here... I have to say that Leaky Gaz, with an in form "Killer" (fresh from his win at Milano-Torino) and Pipo (see above) have to get the nod as the favorites to take out the overall. Other strong teams include Lampre (if Ballan rides) and QS with the always dangerous (no exaggeration there) Bettini. CSC is bringing their usual raft of talent and must be feeling desperate for a win, but Stuey has got to be getting tired.
Sprinters present include The "Ale Jet", Robbie "I don't need no stinking leadout" McEwan, Ciolek (Go Rolling Thunder Revue!!!), Oscar of Course and the God of Thunder... should be fun. Other teams include a random assortment of B grade pros from CdE, Saunier and Gerol and of course, Cofidis will be supporting Nuyens. All in all 18 Pro Tour teams and 4 wildcards, including Astana (with no line up... Vino, where art thou...?)
Well looks like fun, if I were not still miffed at Ctv's performance today I'd say that I'll be there for as much of it as I can on the VS channel. But, things being what they are, I'm going to wait to see what happens with the reception of P-N before I cough up more cash to have "The Innertube!!!" hawked at me in low res...
I hope this helps chris...