Cavendish the last surprise ahead of AIRace start in Mestre

Tomorrow, Wednesday July 24th, the Adriatica Ionica Race tackles the first night-time stage: the Brit returns on the scene alongside the golden boy Evenepoel, cobbles specialists (Gilbert and Vanmarcke) and climbers (Polanc, Dombrowski and Meintjes)

The Adriatica Ionica Race is gearing up for a prominent place in the cycling season starting tomorrow, Wednesday July 24th, with a big last-minute surprise. Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish, 2011 Road World Champion, joins the five-day stage race between Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia (Northern Italy), on the Serenissima routes, the domains of the historic Republic of Venice.

A night-time criterium taylor-made for sprinters opens the race in Mestre (Venice mainland), while the final stage is scheduled in Trieste, on Sunday July 28th, with plenty of dirt roads, Dolomites and hills amid. An intriguing course suited to all-around riders, like Remco Evenepoel, the NextGen representative of Deceuninck-Quick Step, one out of eight World Teams at the start.

As Evenepoel represents the future of cycling, his teammate Philippe Gilbert is an example of lifespan at the highest level. 2019 Paris-Roubaix’ winner is ready to put on a show in the northern classics-style stage finishing in Grado, head-to-head with Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Education First), Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Italian Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team) in the frontline.

Once the roads will go up, climbers are expected to take the scene. EF-Education First’s leader, US Joe Dombrowski, is one of the favourites for the overall win, beside Slovenian Jan Polanc (UAE-Team Emirates), South African Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data), the seasonal best newcomer Fausto Masnada (Androni Sidermec) and the Colombian Winner Anacona (Movistar) and Dayer Quintana (Neri Sottoli KTM), just to mention a few.

Last year Colombia celebrated Ivan Ramiro Sosa as AIRace first edition’s winner. Tomorrow, the Colombian riders might take up the thread again with Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE-Team Emirates), both among the favourites on a 2,7 circuit to be repeated 30 times, starting at 7:00 pm CET.

Further sprinters will contest the first overall leader jersey: Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Sacha Modolo and Moreno Hofland (EF-Education First), Kristian Sbaragli (Israel Cycling Academy), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Merida), Boy Van Poppel (Rompoot Charles) and youngsterMichele Gazzoli (Italy National Team).

Adriatica Ionica Race’s highlights will be aired on Eurosport. Tomorrow, the stage 1 in Mestre will be broadcasted from 11.30 pm CET.