Tour of the Alps ready for its second run (with Scarponi in its heart)
Just a few days after the closure of a long season, cycling has lived an important preview of what’s coming in the next with the presentation of the 2018 Tour of the Alps, held today – Tuesday November 7th – in Milan at the Sala Buzzati. The professional stage race born in the name of the Euregio, uniting three incredible territories - Tyrol, Südtirol and Trentino – in a unique project, returns from April 16 to 20, 2018 coming off the success of the inaugural edition (its visibility revenue was estimated in over 10 Million Euro), the encouraging feedbacks and the emotional wake it left behind.
A virtuous example of territorial marketing, the Tour of the Alps has managed to represent in an exciting way the beauties of Tyrol, Südtirol and Trentino, as well as the common spirit that unifies them inside the Euregio. The three regions identify themselves in shared values (not only in sports) that are key to solidify a touristic system strongly characterized by the two wheels.
“A year after, we are back here to tell a story of success,” – told the representatives of the three territorial boards, Maurizio Rossini (Trentino Marketing CEO), Thomas Aichner (IDM Südtirol Head of Marketing) and Josef Margreiter (Tirol Werbung Director). “Our territories have allied in the name of the two wheels, an integral element of our culture and values, and one that takes over 25 million people to Trentino, Südtirol and Tyrol every year. The Tour of the Alps project shows that a successful alliance between close, and naturally “competitive”, territories is possible, if there are common values and intentions like we have.”
The high expectations on the Tour of the Alps are not exclusively due to the technical and mediatic success achieved in 2017. Along with its undisputable prestige, that makes it a cherished gem for any rider to add it to his resumé, the Tour of the Alps is naturally projected towards two more major moments of the season. The Giro d’Italia, starting exactly two weeks after the race’s conclusion, has always been the main reference of all the indications the race is able to provide, particularly on the conditions of the most expected contenders.
But the 2018 season will also bring the Road World Championship to Tyrol in September, and the Tour of the Alps will offer a first taste of what the riders should expect in the rainbow race, as well as of the passion and enthusiasm that will welcome them in Austria.
“The Tour of the Alps has always been a significant moment of the season, but this time, with the inclusion of the World Championships’ circuit, it becomes even more important,” told Italian National Team Coach Davide Cassani. “This year again, the GS Alto Garda managed to chart a well-rounded and spectacular route, with everything in place to test the most expected Giro d’Italia contenders. From a technical point of view, I believe this race to be the best step on the way to the Giro d’Italia: as it proved many times in the past, the Tour of the Alps can be a springboard towards pink ambitions.”
Five racing days, 714,3 km overall distance, 13.100 mt overall altitude, 10 categorized climbs: the Tour of the Alps features all the elements of a modern race, that after the 2017 success confirms a spectacular formula made of short and intense routes
The start of the 2018 Tour of the Alps returns to the origins of the Giro del Trentino, in the beautiful city of Arco, near to the North Lake Garda banks. In Arco, seat of the organizing company of the Tour of the Alps, the race will live an intense eve with the teams’ official presentation, and then the start of the 1st stage, that will take the peloton to the Folgaria plateau through scenic places, before tackling the final climb to the Alpe Cimbra venue, with a spectacular finish suited to punchy climbers.
The race remains in Trentino for stage 2, for a short trip from Lavarone to one of the iconic mountains of Italian cycling, the Alpe di Pampeago, in Val di Fiemme, where the only uphill finish of the Tour of the Alps is located. Before facing the final ascent, the riders will have endured a severe warm up on the Redebus pass: Tuesday April 17th will certainly be one of the crucial days of the event.
Südtirol will welcome the race for its stage 3, on Wednesday April 18th, running from Ora/Auer to the finish in the Merano/Meran city center. It should be a less demanding day, is spite of two significant Passes (Mendola and Palade) placed quite distant from the stage finish.
Chiusa/Klausen will be the start of stage 4, on Thursday April 19th, and after the first categorized climb of the day, Terento, the race will cross the Austrian border in the setup to an exciting finale in East Tyrol, with the climbs of Anras and Bannberg before another scenic finish in Lienz’s Hauptplatz.
A transfer will move the race to the starting venue of the final day, Rennenberg, where the start of the World Championships’ time-trials will also be given. This will be the longest stage of the 2018 edition: after a first stretch to reach Innsbruck, the race will enter the final circuit: Innsbruck will welcome an elite winner on Friday April 20th, tasting the great cycling atmosphere that will return five months later with the rainbow event.
The 2018 Tour of the Alps ends in Innsbruck, where the historical first stage of the new race taking over from Giro del Trentino had ended one year earlier. A stage fixed in the memory of all cycling fans due to its winner, Michele Scarponi, who would tragically pass away just a few days later on his home road, while training.
The personality of Michele Scarponi is indelibly bound to this race, and the Tour of the Alps’ organization is looking to preserve this emotional link. The Team Up award, created in agreement of Michele Scarponi’s family, with Michele’s siblings Silvia and Marco in attendance, and in collaboration with ACCPI – the Italian riders’ association – will reward the team providing the best collective effort on each day. The winning team will be called on the main stage at the start on the following day, and will deliver a Tour of the Alps’ contribution to a voluntary group active in the start city.
In the name of a shiny and unlucky champion, the Tour of the Alps wishes to celebrate the selflessness, the generosity, the solidarity, and the essence of cycling at its best, certainly embodied by the personality of Michele Scarponi.
The significant international media exposure of the 2017 Tour of the Alps is the starting point to create a highly-spectacular TV product in collaboration with PMG Sport, that once again will manage the TV production and distribution of the “Ciclismo Cup” events in agreement with the Lega Ciclismo Professionistico.
With the live TV coverage of the decisive phases of each stage, the Tour of the Alps is in the position to further extend its already very satisfactory reach, even outside Europe.
Twenty professional teams will be at the start of the Tour of the Alps (the list will be presented in January), with a significant presence of World Teams. Leading the teams’ list will be the one that conquered the last Giro del Trentino in 2016, with Mikel Landa, and the first Tour of the Alps in 2017 with Geraint Thomas – Team Sky. But a strong and highly competitive field of contenders is certainly to be expected.
“The growth of this project demonstrates that the path we took with the Tour of the Alps is the right one, and one that can take further upward the 40-plus-year history of the Giro del Trentino – told GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini, a first-hand witness of this beautiful adventure. “The challenge has risen up again this year, but so did the level of our organization, that keeps growing, renovating and pushing itself further and further.”
Here is the route of the 2018 Tour of the Alps:
Stage 1 – Monday April 16th
Arco – Folgaria, km 134,6
Altitude: 2530m. Difficulty: ***
Stage 2 – Tuesday April 17th
Lavarone - Fiemme/Alpe di Pampeago km 145,5
Altitude: 2900m. Difficulty: ****
Stage 3 – Wednesday April 18th
Ora/Auer – Merano/Meran km 138,3
Altitude: 2600m. Difficulty: **
Stage 4 – Thursday April 19th
Chiusa/Klausen – Lienz km 134,3
Altitude: 2300m. Difficulty: ***
Stage 5 – Friday April 20th
Rattenberg – Innsbruck km 161,6
Altitude: 2770m. Difficulty: ***