There’s an old saying that goes "you always go back to where you've done well," and to prove that point, the INEOS-Grenadiers team has always been at ease on the Euroregional roads of Tirol–Südtirol/Alto Adige-Trentino, winning in 2017 with Geraint Thomas and scoring a splendid one-two finish in 2019 with Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart.
These three star racers, who’ve already thrilled audiences at the Tour of the Alps, will be back to do battle from April 17 to 21, 2023. Joining them is another athlete who’s also performed well at the Euroregional race: Thymen Arensman, who finished third last year wearing the jersey of Team DSM. These racers will be the four spearheads with which the British team will take aim at the podium when the race starts out from Rattenberg on Monday, April 17.
"The Tour of the Alps occupies a perfect spot on the calendar to see where the guys are at with their form," explained Matteo Tosatto, director sportif for INEOS-Grenadiers. "In recent years we have seen how those who win stages or the general classification at the Tour of the Alps are usually the ones-to-watch at the Giro d'Italia as well. It’s a demanding course that tests you and it’s a perfect lead-up to a grand tour."
Such a fierce lineup, which is rounded out by Salvatore Puccio, Laurens De Plus, and Ben Swift, is well aware of the difficulties in the Tour of the Alps however, the British team deserves to rank among the favorites for final victory. The other big names that will be at the start will have to reckon with the different cards that DS Tosatto will be able to play at different times during the race.
"We will arrive with a very competitive lineup, which will also serve as a preview of who will represent the team in the Giro d'Italia," explained Tosatto. "Everyone is coming back from a period of training in the highlands; we’ll start with the ambition to win.”
Regarding which of the four will don the captain's stripes for the race, the Venetian coach holds his cards close to his chest. "Thomas had physical problems at the beginning of the season but showed good form at the Volta a Catalunya; we will decide stage-by-stage with him. Geoghegan Hart and Arensman will take aim at climbing the ranks in the overall classification, same for Sivakov. It's a race we can win and, with the men at the ready, we can also strategize different plans of action."
For sure the 2023 Tour of the Alps’ demanding and explosive route will exploit the individual talents of the four "grenadiers." In this sense, there’s ideal terrain in each stage to suit each rider, but it’s the third stage (162.5 km from Ritten/Renon to the uphill finish in Brentonico San Valentino) that promises to be a watershed moment in the general classification.
"The first stages are beautiful but not very hard – suitable for Tao Geoghegan Hart," remarked Tosatto. "The hardest stage, however, is definitely the third one, with a very demanding final climb where goods legs are necessary and where there could be race-defining gaps".
Other racers campaigning for the Melinda Green Jersey, like Jack Haig and Aleksandr Vlasov, haven been warned: to win the 2023 Tour of the Alps, they will have to shatter the resistance of the British grenadiers.