In the first 40 years of the Giro del Trentino history, Great Britain had never found great fortune on the peaks of the stage race organized by GS Alto Garda. With the advent of the Tour of the Alps, however, the story has changed. The first edition in 2017 was won by Geraint Thomas, while in 2019 Tao Geoghegan Hart came close, finishing second with two stage wins. The TotA brought excellent fortune to both, thrusting them the following year towards titles at the Tour de France, the former, and the Giro d’Italia, the latter.
After a couple of seasons of mixed fortunes, Simon Yates hopes to be the next Briton to experience the ‘Tour of the Alps effect’. The Team BikeExchange captain, the winner of 2018 Vuelta a España and 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico, targets the Euro-regional stage race scheduled for 19-23 April 2021 to find the best feelings ahead of a new assault on the Giro d’Italia.
“It will be my first time at the Tour of the Alps. I think it’s an exciting race to go to. I’ve watched it a lot on TV and wanted to take part for a long time,” said the Briton, runner up in Tirreno Adriatico’s queen stage in Prati di Tivo. – This year, it fits perfectly with the approach towards Giro d’Italia.”
Tirol, South Tyrol, and Trentino‘s roads will shine a light on the 28-year-old BikeExchange leader’s chances of winning the pink jersey. The five stages of the Tour of the Alps, short but demanding, suit the punchy climbing skills of the athlete from Bury, near Manchester. “As per usual, the Tour of the Alps is going to be a very hard race,” Yates explained, “with many good climbing stages. I’ve had a look at the route, and I think all days are challenging and offering something new.”
“Before the Giro d’Italia,” added 2018 Vuelta a España winner, “it’s ideal to do short but intense stage races that help to find the race pace and get your legs moving. We’re used to doing longer races and training sessions, but we also need to work on intensity, and the Tour of the Alps is a perfect launching pad.”
Two years ago, after a month without racing, Yates was leading the Giro d’Italia until his pink dream dashed away with just a few stages left. This time at the Tour of the Alps, Yates will be looking for the mix of endurance and fast rhythm he needs to compete at the highest level and try to fulfil his pursuit of the Maglia Rosa in Milan.
“I hope so, we’ll see…“. Simon’s answer sounds like something more than a wish or a hope. The only certainty is that the verdict lies on the roads, and the Tour of the Alps’ roads never lie.