TotA 2018: Meran and Lienz await the champions before the grand finale
After the first edition had started by Kufstein (Austria) and ended in Trento (Italy), passing through the Euroregion southbound, the Tour of the Alps (April 16th-20th, 2018) goes backwards, moving up three territories from South to North, while maintaining its trademark “formula” made of short and intense stages. The Tour of the Alps’ first two days, entirely in Trentino with finishes in Folgaria and Alpe di Pampeago, could cause a shake-up in the overall standings, but more crucial moments will be proposed by the following stages in Südtirol and Tyrol.
Tour of the Alps’ stages 3 and 4 will be much more than transitional stages. The top GC riders will need to pay attention to the course’s tricks to avoid wasting time in view of the final showdown in Innsbruck (Austria) on the circuit of the 2018 UCI Road World Championships.
Entirely in Südtirol, stage 3 will start from Auer (Italy) on the Adige left riverbank, on Wednesday April 18th to end in Meran (Italy) after 138,3 Km. The early part of the stage, characterized by the “Mendolina” ascent, will be a warm-up for a finale where the athletes will face the Mendel Pass (18 Km at 6,3%) and the Gampen Pass (13 Km at 4,1%). From the top of the last climb, 26,3 km will be left to the finish. After 24 years, Meran will return to host the finish of an international cycling event after 1994 Giro d’Italia stage 14, made famous by the first pro’ win of the late Marco Pantani.
“We are proud to host a stage of a prestigious event like the Tour of the Alps. Meran has an history with big cycling races, starting by the Giro d’Italia, and is looking forward to welcome athletes and teams with warmth, starting from the fans on the roads. With the Tour of the Alps, Meran confirms its vocation to attract international events”, said Ingrid Hofer, President of Meran Tourism Office.
The race remains in Südtirol for the start of the stage 4, 134,3 Km from Klausen (Italy) to Lienz (Austria), on Thursday April 19th. The Austrian city repeatedly hosted the Giro del Trentino, also staging the race start in the 2013 edition. Terenten climb is the first categorized ascent of the day, whilst after the following downhill, the peloton will face the Pustertal valley floor before crossing the Austrian border. The riders will proceed on the B100 road, before the passage in Abfaltersbach lifts the curtain on a tough finale. First, the athletes will tackle the Anras climb - stage finish at 2016 Giro del Trentino with the success of Mikel Landa - with its 4 km at a 7% average gradient, with steep sections peaking at 10%. After the descent and a short stint through the valley floor, will start the second categorized climb of the day in Thal-Aue, the Bannberg, where Marco Pantani and Michele Bartoli first showed up on the big scene at the 1994 Giro d’Italia. 7 km at a 6,5% average gradient will represent the final springboard towards the Hauptplatz in Lienz, where a reduced group will probably have the opportunity to contest the day’s win.
“From 1995, we are related to Giro del Trentino and the Tour of the Alps – said Franz Theurl, President of Osttirol Tourism Office. - In recent years, many stages have crossed the Osttirol, hosting cycling superstars such as Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich. Osttirol is a cycling stronghold, an elected destination for road and Mountain Bike cyclists, offering ideal routes for training. From last year, World Champion Peter Sagan and his teammates of the Bora-Hansgrohe also train on our roads. In addition, there is a strategic partnership between the German team and Osttirol. I’m happy that the Tour of the Alps is back in Osttirol: it is a very important event that strengthens the connection between the Euregio territories”.