With six editions already under its belt, the Tour of the Alps presented its 2024 route on Tuesday, November 21, in Milan, as well as the goals that the G.S. Alto Garda aims to achieve in collaboration with the Euregio territories that have been architects and protagonists of this project since its inception: Tirol, Südtirol/Alto Adige, and Trentino.
From April 15 to 19, the cross-border event through the Euroregion seeks to reaffirm itself and continue to thrive through the innovative format that earned it its fortunes on the international level.
The five-year agreement signed with Infront – a global leader in sports marketing with a top-level portfolio – is the big-time novelty of the 2024 edition and confirms the rising trend of a project that somehow breaks away from traditional cycling benchmarks.
Around the race and its established technical depth, the Tour of the Alps increasingly affirmed itself as a universe of values, where the word “value” can be interpreted in different ways: technical, economic, promotional, environmental, and social.
Making the traversed territories - along with the teams and athletes - protagonists of a beautiful race, extremely popular also among TV fans, has been a distinctive trait of the Tour of the Alps from the start, further established over the years by a professional organizational team that also enhances the skills of those who contribute on a purely voluntary basis.
Similarly, the ever-increasing effort to create animation and involvement of local communities is a call for people to come together and enjoy a special occasion along the caravan, that cherishes the warm welcoming of the host locations: this lends a much broader significance to the sports event.
In terms of content and themes, the 2024 edition will bring a number of new appointments and initiatives, such as the Bike Experience promoted by Infront to introduce the event to a group of opinion leaders, as well as the collateral activities planned to raise public awareness on general interest topics, culminating on the last day with a social ride by prominent personalities. This, and much more, constitutes the universe of values of the Tour of the Alps.
The press conference in Milan Bicocca was attended by GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini, UEC President Enrico Della Casa, Austrian Cycling Federation President Harald Mayer, Trentino Marketing's CEO Maurizio Rossini, Tirol Werbung's Head of Research and Innovation Dpt Christian Wührer, IDM Südtirol's Chief Financial Officer Andrea Zabini, Gazzetta dello Sport's Vice Director Pier Bergonzi, Infront Italia's Managing Director Alessandro Giacomini and Tour of the Alps' GM Maurizio Evangelista. An overview on the route of the 2024 Tour of the Alps was given by Daniel Oss, former cycling champion Giuseppe Saronni, former Italian TC Davide Cassani and Eurosport commentator Riccardo Magrini.
CHALLENGING ROUTE WITH THE NEW “STRADA DEI BAITI”
The 47th edition – also counting the 40 years of the Giro del Trentino, upon whose roots the new event has founded its success – was received with great interest at the official presentation of the route. A well-designed mix of short, sparkling stages with surprises always around the corner, and constantly offering extraordinary views: after all, respecting and enhancing these territories and their mountains is what has made the Tour of the Alps a product appreciated by teams and spectators worldwide.
Twenty teams will participate, about half of which are expected to be World Teams. Starting in Südtirol/Alto Adige, among the vineyards of the Winestrasse/Strada del Vino, and finishing in Trentino, among the mountains of Valsugana, with two days in Tirol in the lower Inn valley, in Silberregion Karwendel: this is the summary of the 709.3 kilometers and 13,250 meters of total elevation gain of the course, that includes the absolute novelty of the “Strada dei Baiti”, a still unexplored (by professional cycling) and very challenging side of the Vetriolo Pass in Valsugana. It will be one of the decisive moments of a stage, the fourth, likely to significantly influence the fate of those aiming for the final victory.
NEUMARKT/EGNA, KURTINIG/CORTINA, SALURN/SALORNO (AND THEN LEIFERS/LAIVES): SÜDTIROL/ALTO ADIGE TAKES CENTER STAGE
Faithful to the rotation among the three territories, the start of the Tour of the Alps returns to Südtirol/Alto Adige: three years ago, it was Brixen/Bressanone, this time it’s Neumarkt/Egna. After the teams’ presentation on Sunday, April 14, the charming center nestled along the Weinstrasse/Strada del Vino, elected among Italy’s most beautiful villages, will welcome on Monday, April 15, the teams and champions at the start of the first 133.3 km stage, arriving in Südtirol/Alto Adige in Kurtinig a Weinstrasse/Cortina sulla Strada del Vino.
After leaving Neumarkt/Egna, the caravan will enter Trentino to tackle the long but regular climb to Andalo. Then, the riders will return to the Weinstrasse/Strada del Vino, heading towards Kurtinig/Cortina, where a circuit to be repeated twice begins, marked by the Penon/Penone climb (4.3 km at 9.4% average gradient). From the second summit, just 17 km remain to the finish: five of technical descent and the last 12 flat towards the finish line.
IN STANS AND SCHWAZ, TIROL HOLDS SURPRISES IN STORE
The longest stage is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16, a 189.1 km effort from Salurn/Salorno, in Südtirol/Alto Adige, to Stans, in Tirol. After a long valley floor section and the climb to the Brenner Pass/Passo del Brennero, the athletes will cross the state border before reaching the Inn Valley.
The stage will then come alive with the climb to Gnadenwald (4.5 km at 7.6%), the summit of which is less than 15 km from the finish, and a final kilometer all slightly uphill towards Stans.
An all-Ti rolean stage, the third, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 17, 127 km with start and finish in Schwaz, the main town of the Silberregion Karwendel. The route can be divided into two parts: the first 90 km travel the rolling roads of the Inn Valley, after which the riders will face the Weerberg (3.2 km at 9.9%) and Pillberg (3.2 km at 10.3%) climbs, to be tackled in quick succession, and to be repeated twice. An explosive finale, worthy of an Ardennes classic but set in the heart of the Alps.
Returning to Südtirol/Alto Adige with a fast transfer after the two Tirolean days, the TotA will set off from Leifers/Laives for the fourth stage on Thursday, April 18, ending after 141.3 km and just under 4,000 meters of elevation gain in Borgo Valsugana, in Trentino.
Having conquered the climbs of the San Lugano Pass and the Redebus Pass, a long and flowing descent will lead towards Pergine Valsugana, and then the Compet Pass climb (10.2 km at 8.3%) looms ahead of the athletes. The subsequent fast descent towards Levico Terme is interrupted to tackle an unprecedented side of the Vetriolo Pass (9.4 km at 8.7%), the “Strada dei Baiti”. After the KOM, a long descent leads to the valley floor, which the riders will soon leave to start the last challenge of the day, the Colle San Marco. From the top, the menu features 7 km of easy descent and 2 km of flat road towards the finish line set in downtown Borgo Valsugana.
BETWEEN BORGO AND LEVICO TERME, THE GRAND FINALE HIGHLIGHTS VALSUGANA
The final stage of the Tour of the Alps on Friday, April 19, entirely in Trentino in Valsugana, with start and finish in Levico Terme, features a reduced distance of 118.6 km but numerous difficulties that can shuffle the deck.
The initial part is characterized by a first circuit with two passes on the finish line of Levico Terme. Later, having passed Pergine Valsugana, the race enters the Mòcheni valley with a second loop of about 25 km to be repeated twice, featuring the double ascent of Palù del Fersina (12.5 km at 6.2%).
After the second descent, a few kilometers of flat precede the last climb of the race, the Tenna Pass, followed by a gentle slope that ends about 5 km from the conclusion. Most of these are downhill, but the thrilling last thousand meters uphill in the center of Levico Terme have all the characteristics to offer a worthy finale to the Tour of the Alps.
MANY PARTNERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: WITH INFRONT A NEW CYCLE BEGINS
In addition to the territorial bodies, numerous brands have believed in the Tour of the Alps and have confirmed their confidence to continue this successful journey also in 2024: this is the case for prestigious names such as Melinda, Cassa Centrale Banca, Alé, Vittoria, Suzuki, Sportler, and Autostrada del Brennero.
At the same time, the advent of Infront opens a new strategic cycle, destined to consolidate the relationship with historical partners, as well as opening ways for new companions to join: in the coming weeks, significant news is expected in this regard.
A strategic partnership, therefore, destined to give additional value to the Italian-Austrian stage race, already recognized as a reality of organizational and communicative excellence by cycling stakeholders and insiders.
Among the official suppliers, the refined Trentino wines of Val di Cembra and Acqua Eva (which springs from the highest source in Europe) are just the first of many realities called to let their excellences be appreciated among those – protagonists, enthusiasts, and professionals – who are already looking forward to embarking on this new adventure.
THE PROGRAM: 5 STAGES, 709.3 KM, AND 13,250 METERS OF ELEVATION GAIN
Here is the program of the Tour of the Alps 2024: 709.3 km divided into five stages, with 10 KOM and a total of 13,250 meters of positive elevation gain.
Monday, April 15, 2024
Stage 1: Neumarkt/Egna – Kurtinig an Weinstrasse/Cortina sulla Strada del Vino, 133.3 km
2,060 meters of elevation gain. Difficulty: ***
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Stage 2: Salurn/Salorno - Stans, 189.1 km
2,510 meters of elevation gain. Difficulty: **
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Stage 3: Schwaz - Schwaz, 127 km
2,360 meters of elevation gain. Difficulty: ***
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Stage 4: Leifers/Laives – Borgo Valsugana, 141.3 km
3,830 meters of elevation gain. Difficulty: ****
Friday, April 19, 2024
Stage 5: Levico Terme – Levico Terme, 118.6 km
2,490 meters of elevation gain. Difficulty: ***
Enrico Della Casa, President of the UEC, Vice President of the UCI
“The Tour of the Alps is a special race that fully embodies the UEC philosophy of uniting people. It is a beautiful project characterized by an always sparkling race. We see TotA as a cycling "laboratory", and event that is not afraid to innovate, combining two territories. This is another reason why I hope that the Tour of the Alps will be included in the World Tour calendar from 2026, when there will be a complete calendar reform. This race has all it takes".
Harald Mayer, President of the Austrian Cycling Federation
“We are proud and happy to be here. The Tour of the Alps is obviously very important for our federation, particularly on the heels of our most successful road season ever. Last year, Austria featured prominently with the Austrian National Team and a top rider like Felix Gall in a World Tour Team: we hope that Tour of the Alps can be the ground where new future champions can be discovered.”
Christian Wūhrer, Head of the Research and Innovation Department at Tirol Werbung
“The Tour of the Alps reflects the spirit of cooperation between three organizations that share a common home. The innovation of the Tour of the Alps was the idea of working together across borders, first in a traditional way, then in increasingly familiar and friendly relationships that paved the way for collaboration in new areas such as data science, data infrastructure and sustainability. TotA is a means of highlighting our country as an active country, ready to welcome any kind of rider, and that is why we have so much interest in hosting the race in the coming years.”
Andrea Zabini, Chief Financial Officer of IDM South Tyrol
“For us, the Tour of the Alps is a valuable opportunity to work on a joint project with other stakeholders with whom we share a vision, and at the same time an excellent showcase for the promotion of the territories. The development of the project over these seven years fills us with great pride. Cycling races are an excellent means of communicating the history and culture of the territories - an aspect that is of great importance to us. In addition, the April date shows that the areas are suitable for cycling tourism that lasts well beyond the summer, from spring to fall.”
Maurizio Rossini, CEO of Trentino Marketing
“Euroregional cooperation, of which TotA is a symbol, has grown over time, with an ever-increasing focus on nature and sustainability and an awareness of the need to develop the local economy to keep communities vibrant and dynamic. Sport is a key element, combining passion and sporting values with the pleasure and possibilities offered by cycling and the bicycle, which is now an important driver of tourism in our valleys. In this way, TotA becomes not only a great economic driver, but also an occasion to cover and shed a light on different themes.”
Giacomo Santini, President of the GS Alto Garda
“Our race has two important meanings. The first is the sporting one, because it is an organizational model for innovation and new intuitions that follow the evolution of a profoundly changed cycling. But there’s more to that: the Tour of the Alps has paved the way for an authentic, cross-border experience and shows how similar needs and characteristics can be brought together to transform competition into a dialogue and new opportunities."
Maurizio Evangelista, General Manager Tour of the Alps
“The agreement with Infront is a natural evolution of our path, from a small amateur cycling organization that today moves, acts, and thinks like a professional one. We want to continue to grow, benefiting from the good mood in the sector, but also with the public, who are attracted and enthusiastic about TotA. In this sense, having final circuits makes the stage venues and the local people happy. We really believe in the team we have put together, starting with the technical area that takes care of the course and the safety aspect in detail, which is fundamental for us: we want TotA to be an unforgettable experience for the entire caravan."
Alessandro Giacomini, Managing Director of Infront Italia
"After a three-year process, we have finally managed to start this project with the Tour of the Alps, a great event that we want to continue to develop over the next five years. We will do our best to find new partnerships and build together, just like the protagonists of the event in the territories. What convinced us about this project is the great commitment and reliability of those who are working on it. These are the best conditions to not be satisfied and to keep going. This year, for the first time, we will introduce a Bike Experience at the Tour of the Alps, to which fifty people will be invited to test all aspects of the local experience.”
Pier Bergonzi, Deputy Director of La Gazzetta dello Sport
“For us, it is an honor to stand alongside this race, which is also part of my personal history, as I followed the Giro del Trentino as a reporter in the 1980s. Cycling is the sport of memory and tradition, the history and geography of the Euroregion could be conveyed through the stages and routes of the TotA.”
“As usual, the Tour of the Alps will be a very tough race. It is thanks to the organization that it is a race with a recognizable character, feared and therefore respected by the teams and all cyclists. The Tour of the Alps is a race with a unique soul and a unique character, and everyone recognizes that today".
“The Tour of the Alps is a special race that knows how to overcome walls and borders. I really like the fact that three of the five stages include a circuit: it's an opportunity for the public to experience more parts of the race, something that brings people together. The 2024 route is balanced, hilly with short and challenging climbs on three stages, then a big queen stage on day four and a still challenging fifth stage. It's the ideal mix to celebrate a top-class winner, like Geoghegan Hart was last year."
“The Tour of the Alps experience has given me the thrill of pedaling again on the roads I rode as a child. The route of the Giro del Trentino and then the Tour of the Alps has never suited my technical characteristics, but it is an event that I have always experienced with affection and participation. When I discovered the roads of TotA, I was won over by the beauty of these lands, but also by the care and hospitality that characterize the people."