[Underneath article was written before the start of the Tour of the Alps and has not been updated]
The Tour of the Alps is a rare exception to the unspoken rule that stage races should feature at least one time trial. Which makes the race pre-eminently a chance for pure bred climbers.
Arguably, the 2nd stage offers one of the best opportunities to distance your rivals. It’s not the stage with the most vertical metres – 2,640 -, but since virtually all climbing is packed together inside the last 55 kilometres it’s likely to have an impact. First a 7 kilometres climb at 8.2% and after a section in the valley the same climb, Piller Sattel, on another side. This way, the ascent is 6.6 kilometres long and averages more than 10%. The downhill leads onto the 14 kilometres finish climb, which goes up at shallow gradients.
Stage 2 serves the only ‘uphill finish’ on the Tour of the Alps. Attacking on the steeper sections of the penultimate climb and staying ahead in the finale could be a winning strategy.
Another likely GC clash arrives on stage 4. This race adds up to 168.6 kilometres and includes an elevation gain of almost 3,900 metres. After the last climb – 10 kilometres at 6.8% – the finale is a technical drop to the line of 8 kilometres.
Still active former winners of the Tour of the Alps – and its antecedent the Giro del Trentino – are Vincenzo Nibali (2008, 2013), Domenico Pozzovivo (2012), Richie Porte (2015), Mikel Landa (2016), Geraint Thomas (2017), Thibaut Pinot (2018), and Pavel Sivakov (2019).
None of the participants in 2021 did win a race this season. Aleksandr Vlasov comes closest; the Russian finished second on Paris-Nice.
Favourites 2021 Tour of the Alps
*** Pavel Sivakov, Simon Yates, Aleksandr Vlasov
** Pello Bilbao, Hugh Carthy, Romain Bardet
* Jai Hindley, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Thibaut Pinot