Michele Scarponi (Astana) took his first win of the season on stage 1 of the Tour of the Alps. The Italian rider was part of an elite group that formed on the Hungerburg climb and outsprinted Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) to win the stage.
All of the race’s five stages feature significant mountain passes, but stage 3 might be the most decisive for the overall, with a 600-meter climb to the finish in Funes-Villnoss after 143km of racing. Though the final day does not have a summit finish, it is a brutal 199 kilometers and includes the 1,650-meter ascent of Monte Bondone.
Scarponi won the Alps Tour in 2011, back when it was known as Giro del Trentino, the same year he took Giro honors. It remains to be seen what he can do in this week’s race, but Scarponi is not likely to be considered a five-star favorite for the Giro. So far in 2017, Scarponi has finished top-20 overall the three other week-long tours he has started: Volta a la Valenciana, Volta ao Algarve, and Tirreno Adriatico.
Thomas and Pinot are expected to challenge for overall Giro victory alongside Vuelta a España champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) — a winner of all three grand tours.
“I’m super happy, quite surprise, but really pleased for this victory that is a very important sign for me and for the entire Astana Pro Team” those were the first words by the winner of the first stage of the new born Tour of the Alps (formerly Giro del Trentino).
“My teammates did a very good job in today’s stage to avoid any risk and take the last climb to the finish in the best position – explained Scarponi – when I saw Thomas attacking quite far from the finish, I decided to follow him and the other attackers and I felt good legs… then we arrived pretty fast on the final straight and at 200 meters from the finish I did my attack that was also a sprint: the roads was still steep and I wasn’t sure I was going to win until I crossed the finish line.”
Tour of the Alps 2017 – stage 1 results:
|1||Michele Scarponi (Astana)||3:32:15|
|2||Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)||,,|
|3||Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)||,,|
|4||Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac)||,,|
|5||Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R)||,,|
|6||Dario Cataldo (Astana)||,,|
|7||Mattia Cattaneo (Androni-Sidermec)||+04”|
|8||Hugh Carthy (Cannondale-Drapac)||+08”|
|9||Rohan Dennis (BMC)||+11”|
|10||Damiano Caruso (BMC)||,,|