Whoever wants to claim the 43rd Tour of the Alps (April 22-26), will find on his way the most 2019 successful squad in World cycling, Astana Pro Team, on time in the euro-regional stage race’s spotlights. From 2013 onwards, the Kazakh team grabbed at least one stage-win in each edition of Giro del Trentino and Tour of the Alps then. Astana Pro Team’s Sports Director Giuseppe Martinelli hopes to continue the winning streak, betting on Pello Bilbao’s magic moment. The Basque rider will be the team’s leader in the absence of Miguel Angel Lopez, on the way to becoming a father in the last week of April.
Last year, Tour of the Alps consolidated Bilbao’s ambitions in the stage races as the 29-year-old rider from Guernica took 2018 TotA’s first leader jersey after winning in Folgaria, paving the way to a successful edition for his Team with two further stage wins by his teammates Miguel Angel Lopez (Alpe di Pampeago) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Lienz). On those occasions, Astana’s athletes dedicated the wins to Michele Scarponi, the unfortunate Italian rider who took his last career joy at Tour of the Alps 2017, in Innsbruck, before tragically passing away just a few days later on his home roads.
Astana Pro Team’s beautiful start of the season, characterized by twenty-one wins, gave a great boost towards the Tour of the Alps, as explained by the Sports Director Martinelli. “This year, I’ll lead our team at TotA and I’m happy for three reasons: first, a lot of my memories are linked to this event since Giro del Trentino. Second, the Tour of the Alps is one of the most beautiful races of the calendar. The third, we definitively aim for winning”.
Astana’s technical staff selected a strong line-up to support Pello Bilbao. The Czech climber Jan Hirt, overall tenth last year, will be the second option of the team, with Kazakh Andrey Zeits and Italians Dario Cataldo and Manuele Boaro as further valuable alternatives.
The Tour of the Alps will be presented in Kufstein, the venue of the 2019 edition’s depart, on Wednesday April 10th (11.00 am CET) at Kufstein Rathaus (Oberer Stadtplatz).