Restarting after a major success. The 2018 Tour of the Alps, concluded in Innsbruck six months ago with Frenchman Thibaut Pinot on the highest step of the podium has further established the race organized by GS Alto Garda (2.HC UCI category) among the standout fixtures of the international cycling calendar. A success in many different ways: participation, with a number of star contenders putting on a show in Tyrol, Südtirol and Trentino, audience (both on the roads and in front of a screen) and among the stakeholders. Now, it’s time for the organizers to take in the most demanding of challenges: repeating and raising the bar.
The first pedal stroke of the 2019 Tour of the Alps has been taken on Wednesday November 21st in Milan, at the Sala Buzzati, institutional venue of RCS and La Gazzetta dello Sport: the presentation reaffirmed the ambitions of the Euro-regional stage race that took the baton from Giro del Trentino in 2017, whose 43rd edition will be held from April 22nd to 26th, 2019. The upcoming Tour of the Alps will have another legacy to pick up, the one of the spectacular World Championships in Innsbruck, that took place in Tyrol in September.
The race that crosses all the three regions in five days, enhancing their excellences and peculiarity, but also – and mostly – the common values that blend them together: sustainable mobility, top-end hospitality, the love for sports and outdoor life, the respect for the nature while enjoying the experience of “living” the Alps. Three areas also united by history, in a special year for the Euroregion: in 2019 it will be 500 years since the death of Emperor Maximilian I of Hagsburgs, who in his era was a promoter of unity between Countries and cultures, and therefore considered “the first European” by historians. A very actual theme, perfectly matching with the principles and shared values that characterize the Tour of the Alps.
A race tha doesn’t stand with merely being a key dress rehearsal ahead of the Giro d’Italia, but looks to affirm its vision on how cycling races should be from a technical point of view. The climbs of course – many and tough, but avoiding extreme altitudes – and fairly reduced stage distances: that’s the policy chose and implemented by GS Alto Garda in the first two edition of the Tour of the Alps, eloquently rewarded by the feedbacks of the riders and teams, as well as from the audience from over 100 Countries all over the World.
Start from Tyrol, finish in Südtirol: from Kufstein to Bozen/Bolzano
After the 2018 grand finale in Innsbruck, prestigious prelude to the Austrian World Championships, in 2019 Tyrol will give the start to the Tour of the Alps. After staging the start of the Men’s Elite World Championship won by Alejandro Valverde, Kufstein is now ready to inaugurate the year 3 of the Euroregional project, like it did in 2017. On that April 17th 2017, the finish in Innsbruck/Hungerburg after 142,3 km was conquered by the unforgettable Michele Scarponi, to whom the “Team Up” award will be dedicated again this year.
After the eve of Sunday April 21st, Kufstein will be both start and finish of Tour of the Alps’ stage 1, on Monday April 22nd: 144 km without extensively long climbs, but featuring a lumpy profile from start to finish, leaving it open to a spectacular and unpredictable finale.
The second day, Tuesday April 23rd, will feature the longest and, arguably, the hardest stage of the 2019 TotA. The start will be given in Tyrol, from Reith im Alpbachtal, to finish in Schenna/Scena, in Südtirol, after 179 km and over 3.000 meters of elevation gain. The biggest obstacle on the riders’ way will be the Passo Giovo ascent (2094 mt, 15,1 km, 7,5% average gradient), but watch out also for the final 5 km, all on the uphill.
Day 3, third region. On Wednesday April 24th, the race will resume from Südtirol for the shorter stage of the edition, 106 km with start from Salurn/Salorno and finish in Baselga di Pinè, Trentino. It will be an intense effort, with practically no flat sections: the decisive showdown is expected to happen on the Montagnaga climb, but the strongest might come to the fore already on the Lago Santa Colomba ascent, peaking at 26 km to go.
The fourth stage, on Thursday April 25th, will be run entirely in Trentino, 134 km from Baselga di Pinè to Cles, the main town of the Valle di Non where cycling has deep roots, from Trofeo Melinda to big names in cycling such as Maurizio Fondriest, Gianni Moscon and Letizia Paternoster. Forcella di Brez and Passo Predaia are expected to make a selection, but with all chances it will be the “Puntara” ascent, with 5 km to go, to have the final say on the stage.
It will be pure Südtirol for the fifth and final stage of 2019 TotA: from Kaltern/Caldaro to Bozen/Bolzano through 148 km. Those hoping to win the Tour of the Alps will definitely have to earn such honor, facing the Klobenstein/Collalbo climb before the Jenesien/San Genesio ascent, final categorized climb of the race, ending with 25 km to go. From there, it will be only descent and flat all the way to downtown Bozen/Bolzano.
Five stages, 13.000 mt elevation gain
Here is the program of the 2019 Tour of the Alps: 711 km to be ridden over 5 stages, with 10 categorized climbs and an overall elevation gain of 13.630 meters.
Monday April 22nd, 2019
Stage 1: Kufstein – Kufstein 144,0 km
2.100 mt elevation gain
Tuesday April 23rd, 2019
Stage 2: Reith im Alpbachtal – Schenna/Scena 178,7 km
3.050 mt elevation gain
Wednesday April 24th, 2019
Stage 3: Salurn/Salorno – Baselga di Pinè 106,3 km
2.650 mt elevation gain
Thursday April 25th, 2019
Stage 4: Baselga di Pinè – Cles 134,0 km
2.730 mt elevation gain
Friday April 26th, 2019
Stage 5: Kaltern/Caldaro – Bozen/Bolzano 148,7 km
3.100 mt elevation gain
Confirmed partners and new travel companions
Along with the three territorial boards, – IDM Südtirol, Tirol Werbung and Trentino Marketing – the 2019 edition already relies on Melinda, the Apples’ consortium of the Val di Non, whose brand will remain on the overall leader’s jersey.
Also in 2019, Northwave will manufacture all the race leaders’ jerseys, whilst new-entry sponsor Vittoria will also provide the neutral service in the race. The Brenner Highway has confirmed its commitment within the Tour of the Alps, with focus on big themes like sustainable mobility and road safety.
Gazzetta dello Sport remains media partner of the Tour of the Alps,along with PMG Sport, in charge of producing the “live” TV coverage of the event and distributing it in Italy and abroad, within the framework of the “Ciclismo Cup” project by the Lega Ciclismo Professionistico.
Twenty teams will line up at the start of the Tour of the Alps, and the race organizers expect to receive significant interest from World Tour teams. An Italy National Team will also be at the start, led by Team Coach Davide Cassani.
Giacomo Santini, GS Alto Garda President
“It’s not enough to be able to organize an event, or to field a number of international champions: the key of the Tour of the Alps’ success is turner borders into bounds. After 40 years of great history of the Giro del Trentino, we teamed with new partners to make it something new and greater.”
Maurizio Rossini, CEO Trentino Marketing
“For Trentino, the 2019 edition provides a chance to show a more rural area of its terrotory, one that gave birth to major names in cycling like Fondriest, Simoni, Moser, Moscon and Paternoster. Maybe there is even a relationship between these two aspects: the fatigue of everyday’s work and the great sportsmen and women of Trentino.”
Helmuth Zanotti, Product Manager IDM Südtirol
“The Tour of the Alps is an interesting project, and gives us the opportunity to relate with different realities. Sport is a good examples: team work between the three territorial boards helps making all of us better. It’s a unique experience.”
Thomas Rohregger, Radland Tirol Ambassador
“The Tour of the Alps represents an authentic and lasting alliance, a symbol of friendship, and goes well beyond a top-level sports event, or a territorial marketing project. Even from a technical point of view, I expect another highly-spectacular edition.”
Davide Cassani, Italian National Team coach
“Thanks to its stages’ distance, this race gives riders the best possibile opportunity to test themselves ahead of the Giro d’Italia, and there’s no better way than being highly competitive at the Tour of the Alps, and go for victory. To be at the front at the Tour of the Alps means being competitive at the Giro.”
Gilberto Simoni, former professional rider
“I won the Giro del Trentino in 2003, when it was not named Tour of the Alps yet. Even with a new name, this competition remains a premium dress rehearsal in the build-up for the Giro d’Italia. About the route, I would have liked to see another big uphill finish, but it will be a very open race, and the winner is sure to be a top-level international rider.”