Allez, Pinot! French star aims big at Tour of the Alps

The FDJ leader will be one of the riders to watch on the #TotA big climbs. Another French team at the start in Kufstein: AG2R-La Mondiale

It is going to be a fascinating and appealing challenge, the most proving test in view of the Giro d’Italia. The Tour of the Alps (April 17th-21st) prepares for the big battle between the Team Sky’s juggernaut, BMC Racing Team’s Australian Rohan Dennis and French climber Thibaut Pinot. The Frenchman will be one of the men to watch on the climbs, particularly after Fabio Aru’s scratch due a nasty crash during a training camp in Spain.

The 26-year-old athlete, overall third in the 2014 Tour de France, has started the 2017 season claiming a stage win at the Vuelta Valenciana and an excellent overall third place at Tirreno-Adriatico, showing brilliance in the climbs and great improvements in the time trials.

Attracted by the demanding course charted by G.S. Alto Garda’s organizers, the FDJ rider will look to test himself in view of the upcoming Giro d’Italia, a race he will start for the first time. Passo delle Erbe, the unknown Alpe di Rodengo, Forcella di Brez and Monte Bondone will be inviting springboards for the French climber, who lived in Italy the first highs of his pro’ career in 2011, finishing third at Tre Valli Varesine and winning the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda..

After Aru’s scratch for both the Tour of the Alps and the Giro d’Italia, Italy sees its chances decrease, but don’t count out Michele Scarponi, who will pick up the baton from Aru as Astana leader, and the leader of the other French Team in the race, Ag2R-La Mondiale: Domenico Pozzovivo. Giro del Trentino’s king in the 2012 edition after conquering the extreme Punta Veleno, has set a trend of giving the best of his qualities at this time of the year.

The French movement will be in the spotlight at the Tour of the Alps, 20 years after the only success in the Giro del Trentino history, claimed by Luc Leblanc back in 1997, when the race ended up in Lienz. This time, the Tirol region will host the first two stages of the new cycling event, that will be aired in France with a 1h30 daily live coverage and 8 hours overall thanks to Equipe 21, the TV channel of the most important French sports newspaper.