[Article was written before the start of the Tour of the Alps and has not been updated.]
Presumably, in terms of GC it comes down to the first two stages with a focus on stage 2. The 1st stage ends with a huge 20 kilometres climb before the riders drop down to the line. The final run-in features a kick up at 8%. The second day of action brings the Queen Stage. The 144.5 kilometres route takes in 2,900 vertical metres and a 7.9 kilometres closing climb with an average gradient of 9.6%. The last 4 kilometres are even worse, as this is all double digits material.
The last three stages are mountainous as well, but there will be no more mountain top finishes. Possibly, fast descenders will be able to put time into their opponents as all these races ends on a descent. Yet, huge time gaps are not to be expected.
Still competing riders who won the Tour of the Alps (and its antecedent the Giro del Trentino) are Damiano Cunego (2004, 2006, 2007), Vincenzo Nibali (2008, 2013), Domenico Pozzovivo (2012), Richie Porte (2015), Mikel Landa (2016) and Geraint Thomas (2017). Last year, Thibaut Pinot and Domenico Pozzovivo rounded out the stage.
The Tour of the Alps is a rare exception to the unspoken rule that stage-races should feature a time trial. Which makes the race pre-eminently a chance for pure climbers. Who are the major contenders to win the 2018 Tour of the Alps?
Favourites 2018 Tour of the Alps
*** Fabio Aru, Chris Froome, Miguel Ángel López, Thibaut Pinot
** George Bennett, Domenico Pozzovivo, Louis Meintjes, David de la Cruz
* Pello Bilbao, Ben Hermans, Felix Grossschartner, Sebastien Reichenbach
Tour of the Alps 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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