The expectations for an highly-exciting 2018 edition of the Tour of the Alps, the 2.HC Euroregional stage race taking place from April 16th to 20th, have risen even higher after GS Alto Garda, the organizing company of the race, has revealed the official list of the starting teams in a press conference in Seefeld in Tirol (Austria), on Thursday January 25th.
In the Media Center of the Nordic Combined World Cup event currently underway in Seefeld, Tour of the Alps General Manager Maurizio Evangelista proudly presented the 20 teams that will be looking to shine over five demanding stages, from the start in Arco to the grand finale on the 2018 UCI Road World Championships’ circuit in Innsbruck, passing through Trentino, Südtirol and Tirol.
“Tirol is a great region for sports, in which the role of cycling is increasingly big, partly thanks to the 2018 World Championships, but the consistency of our commitment on the two-wheels is represented by the Tour of the Alps, where together with our friends from Südtirol and Trentino we share the common values of our territories in a great Euroregional project,” told Josef Margreiter, Tirol Werbung’s Director.
The 2018 Tour of the Alps sets its new historical high for World Teams’ participation with nine, boasting some of the most competitive lineups in the World and further establishing its role as key dress rehearsal ahead of the Giro d’Italia. Among them there is Team Sky, whose riders won the last three editions of the Tour of the Alps (formerly known as Giro del Trentino) and four teams making their first appearance in the race: Bahrain-Merida, Dimension Data, Lotto.NL-Jumbo and UAE-Emirates.
Joining the TotA peloton will be also eight Pro Continental teams, two Continental teams and one National selection. Teams from no less than fourteen Nations will show up at the start in Arco (Italy, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, France, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, South Africa, Netherlands, Russia, Israel, Poland, Spain), each one fielding seven riders.
AG2R-La Mondiale (France)
Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan)
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team (Bahrain)
Dimension Data (South Africa)
Team Sky (Great Britain)
UAE-Emirates (United Arab Emirates)
PRO CONTINENTAL TEAMS
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec (Italy)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel)
Nippo-Vini Fantini (Italy)
Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia (Italy)
Tirol Cycling Team (Austria)
Team Felbermayr-Simplon (Austria)
Not every team has its line-up already set up. Team Sky, the winning team of the last three editions with Richie Porte, Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas, has its list still on hold, waiting for the unfolding of the position of 4-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who had set his sight on the Tour of the Alps as final testing ground ahead of his Giro d’Italia bid. Either way, the starting field will undoubtedly be very competitive, starting with UAE Emirates’ leader Fabio Aru, fellow Italian Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), South African Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data), New Zealander George Bennett (Lotto.NL-Jumbo).
In the year of the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria will field two Continental teams: Tirol Cycling Team, in its second participation after 2017, and debutant Team Felbermayr-Simplon.
SANTINI (GS ALTO GARDA PRESIDENT): “WE HAVE STEPPED UP ANOTHER LEVEL”
GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini openly expressed his satisfaction for the appreciation expressed by top-tier teams towards the Tour of the Alps and its new project, started a year ago by the partnership between Tirol, Südtirol and Trentino under the aegis of Euregio. “We feel proud to present such a prestigious list of teams, and we are already looking forward to the show they will be able to bring on our roads. Top teams have come to us expressing their interest in the race even earlier than in the past, and to welcome a big number of first-time teams this year is another reason for satisfaction. We feel like we have moved up another level.”
“Once again last year, the Tour of the Alps has showed to be the perfect ground for the Giro d’Italia contenders to test themselves and refine their conditions: all of the TotA top protagonists went on to feature prominently at the Giro. If not for his unfortunate Blockhaus crash, who knows if Dumoulin would have beaten Geraint Thomas. And of course, we would have loved to see what Michele Scarponi could have done in another GC run. That’s why I am sure we will see a great list of top riders lining up in Arco,” Santini concluded.
Special guests of the presentation were two important Italian Winter Sports athletes like Alessandro Pittin and Ilaria Debertolis, and a great cycling champion from the past, Maurizio Fondriest.
“I know both Garda Trentino and Val di Fiemme very well, and I am a rider myself, so I know how extraordinary these routes are,” said Nordic Combined specialist Alessandro Pittin, whilst Cross Country skier Ilaria Debertolis added: “I have covered some of those climbs on skirolls, and I look forward to see the show of the Tour of the Alps, that will be assured by the difficulty of the routes and the quality of participants.”
Maurizio Fondriest, celebrating the 30 years of his World Championship in Renaix 1988, has analyzed the five stages: “The route follows the tradition of this race, a very demanding challenge with two decisive stages: the finish in Pampeago and the one on the UCI Road World Championships’ circuit in Innsbruck.”
THE 2018 TOUR OF THE ALPS ROUTE
The five stages of the 2018 Tour of the Alps have been unveiled in the race’s official presentation in Milan, in November 2017.
Stage 1 – Monday April 16th
Arco – Folgaria, km 134,6
Altitude: 2530m. Difficulty: ***
Stage 2 – Tuesday April 17th
Lavarone – Fiemme/Alpe di Pampeago km 145,5
Altitude: 2900m. Difficulty: ****
Stage 3 – Wednesday April 18th
Ora/Auer – Merano/Meran km 138,3
Altitude: 2600m. Difficulty: **
Stage 4 – Thursday April 19th
Chiusa/Klausen – Lienz km 134,3
Altitude: 2300m. Difficulty: ***
Stage 5 – Friday April 20th
Rattenberg – Innsbruck km 161,6
Altitude: 2770m. Difficulty: ***
Five racing days, 714,3 km overall distance, 13.100 mt overall altitude, 10 categorized climbs: the Tour of the Alps features all the elements of a modern race, that after the 2017 success confirms a spectacular formula made of short and intense routes.