Spotlights on Tour of the Alps as Chris Froome joins the field
Born in 2017 as an ambitious Euro-regional project gathering three different territories, the Tour of the Alps has quickly found a spot among the top-class international pro races, following in the prestigious tradition of the former Giro del Trentino. As a matter of fact, the Tour of the Alps looks destined to a resounding 2018 edition, in the wake of last year’s prominent debut.
With the confirmation of Chris Froome’s participation to the race taking off from Arco on next April 16th, the Euro-regional stage added another gem to an impressive field made of high-class teams and riders. The four-time Tour de France winner, who has set his sight on the Tour of the Alps as final dress rehearsal ahead of his Giro d’Italia bid, aims to lead Team Sky to an unprecedented record of claiming the same stage race four times in a row with four different riders.
Back in time, Brit Geraint Thomas opened the brand-new Tour of the Alps’ golden book by winning in 2017, while the last two editions of former Giro del Trentino celebrated two other Team Sky on the top of the podium, Spaniard Mikel Landa in 2016 and Aussie Richie Porte in 2015.
Despite an uneasy start up to his season, Froome will go looking for his first win in 2018 facing many top contenders, first and foremost Italian Fabio Aru and French Thibaut Pinot, the latter having been already in the spotlights last year on the Euregio roads.
The 2018 Tour of the Alps boasts nine World Team out of 20 overall at the start (each one fielding seven riders) as follows:
AG2R-La Mondiale (France)
Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan)
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team (Bahrain)
Dimension Data (South Africa)
Team Sky (Great Britain)
UAE-Emirates (United Arab Emirates)
PRO CONTINENTAL TEAMS
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (Italy)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel)
Nippo-Vini Fantini (Italy)
Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia (Italy)
Tirol Cycling Team (Austria)
Team Felbermayr-Simplon (Austria)
Unlike the last edition, that had moved from Kufstein to finish in Trento, Tour of the Alps rides northwards this time, taking off from the upper banks of the Lake Garda. On Sunday, April 15th, the eve day will unfold with the teams’ official presentation. The day after, April 16th, the race will take in a first testing finish in Folgaria, while stage 2 from Lavarone to Alpe di Pampeago/Fiemme will present the only uphill finish. After a third stage all within the Südtirol region from Auer to Meran, stage 4 starts from Klausen to cross the Austrian borders and end up to Lienz.
The last Tour of the Alps stage, from Rattenberg to Innsbruck, display an exciting finale with two laps over the circuit where the UCI Road World Championships will stage their final showdown among the contenders for the rainbow jerseys. A 90-minute daily coverage of the Tour of the Alps will be aired live all over the World, produced by PMG Sport, as Tour of the Alps is part of the “Ciclismo Cup” circuit powered by the Lega Ciclismo Professionistico.
THE 2018 TOUR OF THE ALPS ROUTE
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 164,2
Altitude: 2770m. Difficulty: ***
Five racing days, 716,9 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.