Chris Froome challenges Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour of the Alps
In 2018, Tour of the Alps welcomed Chris Froome (Team Sky) for the first time, in his quest for the Giro d’Italia and the cherished “triple crown”. The four-time Tour de France winner was looking to refine his conditions, but eventually found much more than that: smile, serenity, and an aggressive racing approach that would end up being decisive for his first Maglia Rosa. In 2019, the seasonal goal of the Brit is certainly further – a fifth yellow jersey in Paris – but a key milestone will once again be set on the Euroregional roads.
That’s the major news announced on Wednesday April 10th in Kufstein (Austria) where the 43rd Tour of the Alps (April 22-26) will set off, and where a presentation was held with just 12 days to the start. Taking part in the press conference were Tirol Werbung's Executive Director Florian Phleps, Kufsteinerland Chairman Johann Mauracher, Kufstainerland Director Stefan Pühringer, Alpbachtal Seenland Head of Marketing Michael Mairhofer and Austrian former pro rider Thomas Rohregger.
A few months after the World Championships in Innsbruck, Tirol is about to stage another major challenge between cycling giants: Froome is set to test the ambitions of a major Giro d’Italia contender, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Ten grand tours won between those two: the Tour of the Alps is eager to welcome the two greatest GT riders of their generation, and among the very best in cycling history.
After crowning Geraint Thomas in 2017 and Thibaut Pinot in 2018, the Euroregional race looks set to add another major name to an outstanding winners’ list, that already features Nibali’s name twice – in its former inception as Giro del Trentino. In the year of his first Giro d’Italia success (2013), Nibali was coming off a resounding success in Trentino, and also the basis for the 2016 success was laid by taking part in the Giro del Trentino. Additionally, winning the Italian National title at Trofeo Melinda, in Trentino, Nibali took off towards his triumphant Tour de France.
Twenty teams will feature at thew Tour of the Alps, including five World Tour outfits: Team Sky and Bahrain-Merida will be joined by AG2R-La Mondiale, Pole Rafal Majka’s Bora-Hansgrohe, and Astana Pro Team, coming off three stage wins at 2018 Tour of the Alps, led by last year’s winner in Folgaria, Spaniard Pello Bilbao. The starting line-up in Kufstein will be rounded out by nine Professional teams - Italian Androni-Sidermec, Bardiani-CSF, Nippo-Fantini-Faizanè and Neri-Selle Italia-KTM, Spanish Euskadi-Murias and Caja Rural Seguros-RGA, French Arkea-Samsic, Russian Gazprom-Rusvelo, and Colombian Manzana-Postobon, - Italy National Team and five Continental outfits – Italy’s Team Colpack, Romania’s Giotti Victoria-Palomar and three from Austria, Tirol Cycling Team, Felbermayr-Simplon-Wels and Team Vorarlberg-Santic.
Tour of the Alps in Tirol
After staging the very first Tour of the Alps start in 2017, Tirol will once again getting the Euroregional race underway, in the same venue of then – Kufstein – that this time will be both start and finish of the opening effort.
World cycling has found a home in Kufstein, the second biggest city of Tyrol behind Innsbruck, and the Northern among all the major cities in the area. Between two Tour of the Alps starts, Kufstein has welcomed the start of the Innsbruck World Championships in 2018, won by Alejandro Valverde.
The symbol of Kufstein is its fortress: it’s eight centuries old and hosts the biggest the biggest organ in the World – the Heroes’ organ. The area surrounding the city is rich in bathing lakes, such as Längsee, l’Hechtsee and Walchsee.
Only 12 months have passes since when the Tour of the Alps crossed the Alpbachtal region: this time, the delightful Reith im Alpbachtal will host the start of the 2nd stage, ending in Scena/Schenna, in South Tyrol. Just a few kilometers away from the start rises Alpbach, crowned as the most beautiful village in Austria, and most beautiful Flowers’ village in whole Europe.
Both in Summer and Winer, Alpbachtal is a paradise for families, who can live active vacations immersed in the nature in a land with plenty of child-oriented services. With over 250 km of Mountain Bike trails, there is no better way to discover this land in an authentic way.
The winning formula
Short and demanding stages: that’s the option GS Alto Garda made in the first editions of the Tour of the Alps, rewarded by the appreciation of riders, teams, and the audience that followed the race on TV from 100 Countries all over the World. Again this year, cycling fans from everywhere will be able to follow the race thanks to the Live production by PMG Sport.
An exciting run is expected for the Fuchsia Jersey, that will once again show the Melinda logo on the chest, and the other leaders’ jerseys crafted by Northwave Custom Project.
Along with the three territorial boards, the Tour of the Alps partners’ field has welcomed two important new partners: Vittoria, also providing the race’s neutral servie, and Suzuki, the Japanese car manufacturer that therefore strengthens its already established relationship with cycling. Cassa Centrale Banca, Phoenix, Selle Italia, Acqua Pejo, Navigare and the Brenner Highway also confirmed their support to the Euroregional race.
Cooperation travels by bike: the Euregio Cycling Community
On the occasion of the Tour of the Alps presentation in Kufstein, a new project promoted by Euregio in collaboration with the three territorial partners – Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino – was presented, whose first initiative will be related with the Tour of the Alps.
Euregio Cycling Community is a new reality made by non-professional riders from the three lands, respresening the key values of the Euroregional cooperation in the most impoetant granfondo events. The first adventure of the new project will be connected to the Tour of the Alps: three riders for each territory will face the five jersey of the race some days before the event, showing an all-different perspective on it through a content series on the Tour of the Alps official channels.