The Tour of the Alps and the Tirol-Südtirol/Alto Adige-Trentino Euroregion: they are two entities that represent the bond between three lands and the desire to go beyond borders and to cooperate for a greater and more ambitious future. It’s no coincidence that the 46th edition of the Tour of the Alps was introduced at the Congress Center in Alpbach, where the GECT “Euregio Connect” deal was sealed in 2020.
Here's where the starting teams and preliminary race operations were presented on Sunday 16 April, with 19 squads ready to do battle on a racecourse lasting 752 kilometres with 15,000 meters of climbing.
It was an evening of anticipation and excitement ahead of the start, scheduled for tomorrow, Monday 17 April, with a fully Tirolean 127.5-km stage starting in Rattenberg (official start at 11:55 a.m. local time) and finishing in Alpbach, just a stone's throw away from the Congress Center.
In total Tour of the Alps style, Stage 1 will stir things up from the start with a twitchy, stuttering course with only a few moments of respite. The two main climbs are the Brandenberg (Gran Premio della Montagna Category 3 featuring 6.1 kms with an average grade of 6.1 percent) and the Kerschbaumer Sattel (GPM Category 2 featuring 5.2 kms at 10.1 percent average grade). Look up, however, even at the finish because the last five kilometres are all uphill with grades ranging from three to five percent, until the final kilometre, which soars skyward with double-digit sections.
VLASOV, HAIG, AND THE INEOS-GRENADIERS TEAM ARE READY FOR THE CHALLENGE
Curiosity was also piqued as to determine who will wear the Melinda Green Jersey among the high-profile starting field that’s in keeping with Tour of the Alps tradition. One team that raised eyebrows in Tyrol was certainly the well-equipped INEOS-Grenadiers with its four spearheads who know the Euro-regional roads well. Geraint Thomas won the first edition of the new Tour of The Alps format in 2017, while Pavel Sivakov won in 2019 ahead of Tao Geoghegan Hart, who later won the 2020 Giro d'Italia and who will also be at the start in Rattenberg. Thymen Arensman, third last year in a Team DSM jersey, completes this high-profile quartet.
Trying to sink the British battleship's plans will be two teams that have always performed well at the Tour of the Alps: Bahrain Victorious and Bora-hansgrohe. The former will try to launch Jack Haig, backed by Santiago Buitrago, who finished eighth last year and who appears to be on an upswing in this early season. To counter that talent, Bora-hansgrohe will deploy an exceptional duo consisting of Aleksandr Vlasov and Maximilian Schachmann, the German champ who’s already won two Paris-Nice races. Joining them will be Lennard Kämna, last year's winner of the Villabassa stage, and rising star Cian Uijtdebroeks.
Another one-to-watch is Hugh Carthy, the EF Education-Easypost Briton boasts a third place at the 2020 Vuelta a España and is aiming to improve on last year’s ninth place finish. Italian hopes are pinned to Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) and veteran racer Domenico Pozzovivo (Israel-Premier Tech).
For Austria, all eyes are on Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citroen), sixth in last year's edition, and Hermann Pernsteiner. The Austrian national selection will be captained by Lukas Pöstlberger, who claimed the first pink jersey at the 2017 Giro d'Italia. Among the Trentino riders, Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain Victorious), and brothers Davide and Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa) will be on the start line.
A WORLDWIDE SHOW
More than 100 countries around the world will be able to enjoy two hours of live TV each day starting tomorrow, thanks to the production efforts of PMG Sport, assisted by Infront Sports&Media.
Audiences will be able to follow the Tour of the Alps with two hours of live coverage each day, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. local time, with the exception of Stage 3 on Wednesday, April 19, when the broadcast will be from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. In Italy, live coverage can be seen on RaiSport networks with live coverage streamed on the Raiplay web platform.
Live coverage will also be on Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, and Eurosport Player channels, which will broadcast the race in Europe (including Italy), East Asia, the U.S., Canada, South America, Central America, the Pacific area, and the Indian subcontinent.
In addition, the Euro-regional stage race will also be available on the Global Cycling Network, and other online platforms, starting with PMG Sport's Facebook page and YouTube channel, La Repubblica newspaper, the Tuttobiciweb.it website, and the Italian Cycling Federation portal.
RATTENBERG AND ALPBACH READY TO PARTY
Alpbachtal is also preparing to host the start of the 2023 Tour of the Alps with an extensive program of ancillary events. Tomorrow, Monday, April 17, 2023, the start in Rattenberg will be enhanced by music from the local band and a send-off from school and kindergarten children, while Alpbachtal Tourism CEO, Markus Kofler, and Rattenberg mayor, Bernhard Freiberger, will welcome the first leader of the 2023 TotA at the finish.
We’ll get the first taste of the festive atmosphere that the Tour of the Alps has promised to bring back to the Euro-regional roads after enduring a few years conditioned by the pandemic. Between the Euro regions and the hospitality and enthusiasm of their people, the thrill of cycling never ends at the #TotA.