Race details
Date Mid March
Region Central Italy
English name Tyrrhenian–Adriatic
Local name(s) Tirreno–Adriatico (Italian)
Nickname(s) La corsa dei due mari (Italian)
The Race of the two Seas (English)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type Stage-race
Organiser RCS SportGazzetta dello Sport
First edition 1966 (1966)
Editions 51 (as of 2016)
First winner  Dino Zandegù (ITA)
Most wins  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) (6 wins)
Most recent  Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)

Tirreno–Adriatico, nicknamed the "Race of the Two Seas", is an elite cycle race in Italy, run between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts. Traditionally held in the early part of the season, it is considered to be an important preparation for the Milan–San Remo classic race. It is part of the UCI World Tour, cycling's highest level of professional men's races.

First held in 1966, the race was held over three stages. since 2002 it is held over seven stages. Except for the first edition, the last stage has always finished in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic Seaside.[1] Belgian Roger De Vlaeminck holds the record for most wins with six consecutive victories in the 1970s.[1][2][3]


The Tirreno–Adriatico was created in 1966 by the Lazio-based cycling club Forze Sportive Romane.[4] As all the illustrious Italian cycling races were held in Northern Italy, the race was named "Tre Giorni del Sud" (English: Three days of the South). The first edition was a three-day race, starting on 11 March 1966 in Rome and finishing two days later in Pescara.[5] Dino Zandegù won the inaugural edition. In 1967 the second edition was run over five stages, won by Franco Bitossi.

In the 1970s the young race manifested itself as an ideal preparation race for the monument classic Milan–San Remo which was run one week later. Belgian classics specialist Roger De Vlaeminck monopolized the race with six consecutive wins. After De Vlaeminck's reign, the race was the scene of the rivalry between Italian cycling icons Giuseppe Saronni and Francesco Moser, each winning the event twice.[5]

From 1984 to 2001 the race grew to an event raced over six to eight stages and the location shifted more towards northern Central Italy. Swiss time trial specialist Tony Rominger and Danish rider Rolf Sørensen won the race twice in the 1990s.

Since 2002 the Tirreno–Adriatico is raced over seven stages, starting on Italy's western, Tyrrhenian seashore and finishing in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic Sea.[5] In 2005 it was included in the inaugural UCI ProTour calendar, but was reclassified in 2008 as a continental tour event when organizer RCS Sport withdrew all its events from the UCI's premier calendar. Since 2011 it is part of the UCI World Tour.

In recent years the race regularly includes mountain stages in the Apennines and many Grand Tours specialists use it as an early-season test towards the stage races later in the year. Tour de France winners Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador feature on the roll of honour of the Tirreno since 2010.[6][7] Colombian climber Nairo Quintana won the 50th edition in 2015.[8]


In its early years Tirreno–Adriatico often started close to Rome and even Naples. Since the 1990s the start is usually higher up in seaside resorts on the Tuscan coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, before crossing the spine of the Italian peninsula to its eastern coast on the Adriatic Sea. Raced over seven days, there are several stages for sprinters, some for climbers, usually one or two time trials and at least one uphill sprint finish for puncheurs.[9]

The route of the 2015 edition is exemplary for the trend to suit stage racers. In recent years the race starts on Wednesday with a short team time trial or prologue and continues with stages for the sprinters and a stage ending in a short hilltop finish. The middle stages – raced over the weekend – are the high mountain stages of the event.[10] In 2015, the Saturday stage ended with a 14 km climb towards the top of Selva Rotonda before the Sunday stage which ended in an uphill finish with slopes of more than 25%.[9] The Tirreno finishes midweek, on Tuesday, in San Benedetto del Tronto in the province of Ascoli Piceno, in the Marche region.

Trophy and leader's jersey

Although only introduced in 2010, the winner's trophy of the Tirreno–Adriatico is one of the most recognizable in professional cycling. Owing to the event's coast-to-coast format, the champion is presented with a large gilded trident, the weapon associated with Neptune, the Roman god of the sea.[11] It is officially named the Sea Master Trophy. In the days preceding the race, the trophy is ceremonially raised from the Tyrrhenian Sea by divers of the Italian Coast Guard. In keeping with the marine theme, the general classification jersey is blue.

List of overall winners

Year Winner Stages Distance (km)
1966  Dino Zandegù (ITA) 3 604
1967  Franco Bitossi (ITA) 5 1,068
1968  Claudio Michelotto (ITA) 5 1,037
1969  Carlo Chiappano (ITA) 5 946
1970  Antoon Houbrechts (BEL) 5 913
1971  Italo Zilioli (ITA) 5 985
1972  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 5 884
1973  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 5 582
1974  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 5 781
1975  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 5 816
1976  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 5 882
1977  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 5 809
1978  Giuseppe Saronni (ITA) 5 864
1979  Knut Knudsen (NOR) 5 916
1980  Francesco Moser (ITA) 5 814
1981  Francesco Moser (ITA) 5 835
1982  Giuseppe Saronni (ITA) 5 820
1983  Roberto Visentini (ITA) 5 857
1984  Tommy Prim (SWE) 6 1,043
1985  Joop Zoetemelk (NED) 6 1,011
1986  Luciano Rabottini (ITA) 6 981
1987  Rolf Sørensen (DEN) 6 936
1988  Erich Mächler (SUI) 6 930
1989  Tony Rominger (SUI) 7 1,071
1990  Tony Rominger (SUI) 8 1,041
1991  Herminio Díaz-Zabala (ESP) 8 1,317
1992  Rolf Sørensen (DEN) 8 1,166
1993  Maurizio Fondriest (ITA) 8 1,431
1994  Giorgio Furlan (ITA) 8 1,316
1995  Stefano Colagé (ITA) 8 1,422
1996  Francesco Casagrande (ITA) 8 1,370
1997  Roberto Petito (ITA) 8 1,162
1998  Rolf Järmann (SUI) 8 1,437
1999  Michele Bartoli (ITA) 8 1,412
2000  Abraham Olano (ESP) 8 1,249
2001  Davide Rebellin (ITA) 8 1,155
2002  Erik Dekker (NED) 7 1,049
2003  Filippo Pozzato (ITA) 7 1,235
2004  Paolo Bettini (ITA) 7 1,228
2005  Óscar Freire (ESP) 7 1,214
2006  Thomas Dekker (NED) 7 1,108
2007  Andreas Klöden (GER) 7 1,097
2008  Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 7 1,122
2009  Michele Scarponi (ITA) 7 1,095
2010  Stefano Garzelli (ITA) 7 1,229
2011  Cadel Evans (AUS) 7 1,075
2012  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 7 1,063
2013  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 7 1,060
2014  Alberto Contador (ESP) 7 1,034
2015  Nairo Quintana (COL) 7 1,006
2016  Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) 6 851

Multiple Winners

Wins Rider Editions
6  Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977
2  Giuseppe Saronni (ITA) 1978, 1982
 Francesco Moser (ITA) 1980, 1981
 Rolf Sørensen (DEN) 1987, 1992
 Tony Rominger (SUI) 1989, 1990
 Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 2012, 2013

Wins per country

Wins Country
24  Italy
8  Belgium
5   Switzerland
4  Spain
3  Netherlands
2  Denmark
1  Australia,  Colombia,  Germany,  Norway,  Sweden


  1. 1 2 Baroni, Francesco (2008). La Bicicletta. Mito, tecnica e passione. Edizioni White Star. p.238-239. ISBN 978-88-540-0635-5
  2. "Tirreno–Adriatico Official Website – Palmares". Retrieved on 12 February 2013
  3. (Italian) "Il Palmares di Eddy Merckx", MuseoCiclismo.it. Retrieved 12 February 2013
  4. Franco Recanatesi. Nasce la Tirreno-Adriatico trampolino per la Sanremo. p. 10.
  5. 1 2 3 "L'albo d'oro: breve storia della Tirreno-Adriatico riassunta in sei campioni". maredelpiceno.it (in Italian). Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  6. "Tirreno-Adriatico 2011: Cadel Evans wins 'race of the two seas' following Fabian Cancellara's time trial victory". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  7. Brown, Gregor. "Nibali wins Tirreno-Adriatico overall". Cycling Weekly. IPC Media Company. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  8. Wynn, Nigel. "Nairo Quintana wins 2015 Tirreno Adriatico". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  9. 1 2 Condé, Mikkel. "Tirreno-Adriatico Preview". cyclingtips.com. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  10. Hartigan, Susie. "Five ways to awesome: A Tirreno-Adriatico preview". podiumcafe.com. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  11. Lindsey, Joe; Yost, Whit. "Cycling's Best (and Weirdest) Prizes and Trophies". bicycling.com. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
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