Mathieu van der Poel hopes to book a stage victory in Tirreno-Adriatico, just like last year.

The winner of Strade Bianche does not expect that he will participate in the overall victory in the Italian stage race, which starts on Wednesday.

"I don't really have any classification ambitions for this Tirreno," said 26-year-old Van der Poel on Tuesday through his Alpecin-Fenix ​​team.

"I'd rather try to win a stage."

In last year's Tirreno-Adriatico, which was ridden by the corona pandemic in September, the Dutchman finished 45th, more than 24 minutes behind winner Simon Yates.

This season the list of participants of the WorldTour race is perhaps even stronger.

Yates hopes to extend his title and Tadej Pogacar, Wout van Aert, Julian Alaphilippe, Jakob Fuglsang, Egan Bernal, Vincenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot, Nairo Quintana and Romain Bardet have also traveled to Italy.

Moreover, the fourth stage on Saturday certainly seems a bit too tough for Van der Poel.

That stage finishes in the ski village of Prati di Tivo, after a climb of almost 15 kilometers with an average gradient of 7 percent.

Mathieu van der Poel impressively won the penultimate stage of the Tirreno last year.

Mathieu van der Poel impressively won the penultimate stage of the Tirreno last year.

Photo: Pro Shots

'I keep Milan-San Remo in the back of my mind'

There are plenty of chances of a stage victory for Van der Poel, with two flat stages and three hilly stages.

"I look at it from day to day and will also keep Milan-San Remo in the back of my mind," says the Dutch champion about the classic that is scheduled for next Saturday.

"We were very successful here last season, we want that again now."

Six months ago, Van der Poel won the penultimate stage of the Tirreno in a very impressive way.

On a short but steep final climb, he was far too strong for the competition at the time.

That victory showed some comparisons with his special win of last Saturday in Strade Bianche.

"That was one of my better victories, especially because of the way in which", says Van der Poel three days later about Strade Bianche.

"It was a great start to my classic season, but there is a lot more to come this year."

The 56th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico starts on Wednesday with a stage of 156 kilometers with start and finish in Lido di Camaiore.

The last 90 kilometers are flat.

See also: The cycling calendar of 2021