Like the last two seasons, Tirreno-Adriatico started on Monday with an individual time trial in Lido di Camaiore, although the route was quite different. Over a distance of ten kilometers, the first stage was made for the pure time trialists. Yet, the versatile Romain Grégoire still managed to show himself and take tenth place on the day, twenty-two seconds behind the winner Juan Ayuso. This is his first top-10 in the race against the clock at WorldTour level, which bodes well for the rest of the week.

Just like in the recent past, the 2024 edition of the “Race of the Two Seas” was set to start from Lido di Camaiore on Monday. However, the route of the opening time trial really changed compared to the two previous years, since the riders no longer headed North for the intermediate check point, but South towards Viareggio, before turning back. As for the distance, it was reduced to ten kilometers. “We simply knew the first kilometre and a half, because it was previously the finish,” said Nicolas Boisson. “I think that it was a much nicer circuit than in previous years, especially because there were no speed bumps. The second part was completely new, with a very nice asphalt. It was a great course for specialists with portions for pure rouleurs.” For the Groupama-FDJ cycling team, Fabian Lienhard was the first to start at 12:39 p.m., and Romain Grégoire the last, at 3:09 p.m. “Some raced the Strade Bianche on Saturday, so we didn’t ask them too much, but they still had to do it well, just to get the race going and start a good momentum”, Nicolas added. “Then, we asked Valentin, Romain and Clément to do it 100%.”

“It gives confidence for the whole week”, Romain Grégoire

The French champion and Clément Davy were however unable to come close to the best time set early by Juan Ayuso in 11 minutes and 24 seconds. “Valentin had not recovered fully from the Strade,” noted Nicolas. “Clément was sick last week and felt it today. So all our chances were on Romain, and that’s also why we looked closely at the weather and placed him at the very end.” If all the riders benefited from almost similar conditions, the young Frenchman set off under a blue sky and was immediately in the game. Eleven seconds back at the intermediate, in the top-15, he finished even stronger since he crossed the finish line in eighth provisional position, twenty-two seconds behind Ayuso, and with the same time as Jonas Vingegaard. Among the last competitors, only Filippo Ganna and Ethan Vernon passed him, allowing him to secure a top-10 in this opening stage. “It was my first time trial of the season, and I felt pretty good,” said Romain. “The work on aerodynamics carried out by the whole team seems to be paying off. I felt good in my position, and I managed to keep it the entire race. This gives a good time trial in the end! This flat profile didn’t especially seem to suit me, but I like this discipline, managing the effort and the lines. It’s super satisfying and it gives confidence for the whole week, whether for the team or me personally.”

“It’s always noteworthy for a young rider”, Nicolas Boisson

Nicolas Boisson also had a very positive assessment of this first day of racing. “Tenth in a WorldTour time trial is a very strong performance,” said the team coach in Italy. “It’s the first time for Romain, and it’s always noteworthy for a young rider. Even if some specialists are missing, there is still a very high level in this race. It’s really nice to see Romain join this top-10 in front of big names and with the same time as Jonas Vingegaard. The course was not completely made for him, but there were some important accelerations to make after the corners, and we know Romain’s qualities from this point of view. The second part was really very long with a front wind, which really favoured the strong men. Romain being in good condition, it helped him achieve a very good result. The Strade did not go as he would have liked with this crash, but a new race is starting, he knows he is in good condition, and he is very motivated for this Tirreno-Adriatico. It’s a good start to the week, where the objective will clearly be to seek a stage victory and get closer to the top-10 overall, particularly with Romain.”

No comment