10 days left to the 2018 edition: the entry list of the Tour of the Alps (April 16th-20th) is taking shape. In addition to the big names of the cycling world – Thibaut Pinot, Miguel Angel Lopez, Fabio Aru, Domenico Pozzovivo and the 4-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome – a bunch of valuable opponents will try to give a hard time to the nine World Teams.
At the start of the euro-regional cycling event in Arco (Trento, Northern Italy) we will see the Italian National Team for the fourth year in a row. Coach Davide Cassani lines up a young roster led by the rookie Nicola Conci that will face the Tour of the Alps with a clear goal: make his best to be in the spotlight. “My debut at the Tour of the Alps will be very exciting – said Conci. – It’s wonderful to ride on the home roads: this event took the baton of my favourite race, the Giro del Trentino. It’s a very important race with many champions at the start: the route is suitable to my skills but the technical level is very high”.
If the Italian National Team wants to give a chance to the national prospects, the four Italian Professional teams and the two Austrian Continental teams will try to disrupt the plans of the World Teams. Androni-Sidermec aims at winning during the intermediate stages with a solid line-up, led by the Italian Davide Ballerini (third last year in Innervillgraten), Mattia Cattaneo, Francesco Gavazzi and the new Colombian promise Ivan Ramiro Sosa, one year later the Egan Bernal explosion on the legendary Monte Bondone. Wilier Triestina, Bardiani-CSF and Nippo-Vini Fantini rounded out the contingent of the Italian Professional Team. The Italian/Japanese team will be led by Giro del Trentino’s serial winner Damiano Cunego (2004, 2006, 2007): the Italian veteran will try to claim the 50th victory in the race that represented the springboard of his career before the triumph at 2004 Giro d’Italia. “I owe a lot of my success to this event. Tour of the Alps represents one of the last opportunities before my withdraw. I really like the stage of Alpe di Pampeago, an iconic climb in cycling history”.
Two Continental teams, Tirol Cycling Team and Felbermayr Simplon Wels, and many valuable athletes: the Austrian contingent at the Tour of the Alps – that ends with an amazing showdown in the circuit of the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck – has never been that strong. Team Tirol will bet on a very young line-up whilst the Felbermayr team will rely on the veterans Riccardo Zoidl and Markus Eibegger.
However, the Austrian athletes with more chances are Georg Preidler (Groupama-FDJ), key man of Thibaut Pinot, and Bora-hansgrohe’s duo formed by Felix Großschartner and the first pink jersey of the 2017 Giro d’Italia Lukas Pöstlberger. “This race is very challenging -said Preidler – I will try to help Thibaut, ranked second last year behind Geraint Thomas. The Tour of the Alps is the big test in view of the Giro d’Italia and I look forward to being at the start”. As well as Preidler, Großschartner will be in the first line in the climb sections as marked by the tenth overall place at Paris-Nice. “Before the Giro d’Italia, the Tour of the Alps is my big goal as Bora-hansgrohe leader – explains the Austrian rider – The organizers had a really good idea with the final showdown on the route of the upcoming UCI Road World Championships”.
In addition, the Tour of the Alps will highlight two debutants Professional teams like Euskadi-Murias and Israel Cycling Team that represent an added value for one of the most uncertain, amazing and fascinating races of the World calendar.