Cipollini to rideMario Cipollini, will be the at the starting line in Sorrento for the 1998 Tirreno-Adriatico after an absence of 7 years. "In the last seasons, I always used Paris-Nice as part of my path towards Milano-San Remo. I have been in love with Paris-Nice because there were always many occasions for sprints, while in Italy what has been fashionable are nervous finishes Argentin style." Cipollini said.
"This year I was going back to France, but now I'm convinced that the situation has flipped around and my category will be better off in Italy. So I'm sincerely happy to race at Tirreno-Adriatico".
Cipollini had to retire at the Tour of Valencia due to the flu and didn't train for 5 days. "I'm coming back. I'm fine physically although my form is a little retarded. I can't expect great things at the beginning of Tirreno-Adriatico, I want above all to leave well the race, so that I can reach Milano-Sanremo with my ambition of always. Sanremo is a great dream, the only race that really makes me nervous. The same motivation at the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France".
The sprinting battles are going to be very hot at Tirreno-Adriatico with Nicola Minali, Endrio Leoni, Erik Zabel, Mario Traversoni, Jeroen Blijlevens, Federico Colonna and Massimo Strazzer, who have already had wins this year and others like Jan Svorada and Silvio Martinello.
Cipollini said: "If I find my best condition I won't have a problem with any of them. I'm afraid that I'm a bit behind in my form".
Which you one do you consider to be your most dangerous adversary?
"They are all going well. The most solid one is Minali, although I don't see big differences. At Siracusa, Nicola won in a photo finish ahead of Martinello and Svorada. Also Leoni is going well. Traversoni has the numbers, but he's young and doesn't have many wins. Zabel seems to be less potent than usual, I think that his preparation is gearing towards the great Classics like Milano-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders and is thinking less of the sprint finish."
The TeamsThere are 23 teams registered with 14 Italian and 9 foreign, composed of 184 riders:
Saeco-Cannondale, Mapei-Bricobì, Festina-Lotus (Fra), Telekom (Ger), Rabobank (Ola), Casino (Fra), TVM-Farm Frites (Ola), La Francaise des Jeux (Fra), Team Polti, Cofidis (Fra), Asics-CGA, Vitalicio Seguros (Spa), Mercatone Uno-Bianchi, Cantina Tollo-Alexia Alluminio, Ballan, Scrigno-Gaerne, Ros Mary-Amica Chips, Brescialat-Liquigas, Riso Scotti-Aiwa, Kross-Selle Italia (Col), Vini Caldirola-Longoni Sport, Amore&Vita-ForzArcore, Mobilvetta-Northwave.