Located north of the Alto Garda valley, Arco hosts the G.S. Alto Garda headquarter and the start of the 2018 Tour of the Alps opening stage. A famous touristic destination thanks its microclimate, favored by the geographic location near the Lake Garda and protected by the mountains, Arco is dominated by a wonderful medieval castle, built on a rocky cliff.
Folgaria is located on a plateau at 1,150 meters asl. The village hosts a ski area with 70 km of slopes, while in summer it’s a popular destination for family vacations, providing the opportunity to practice road cycling, mountain bike, hiking, golf, horseback riding and climbing.
The 2018 Tour of the Alps opens with a rather short but insidious stage, with a 2.530 mt overall altitude and a finale with several options. After a flat start, the road starts pointing up after Sarche, with a mix of slopes and falseflat sections, all the way to the Lago di Molveno and Andalo. The climb’s gradient never gets over 8%, and even the last km before the top of the first categorized climb of the day, after 50,3 km, hardly goes over 4%. From there starts a long and fast descent, with open bends in the first part and wide hairpin bends in the lower section. After a wide 3,5 km tunnel, the peloton will ride in the Adige river’s valley, passing close to the city of Trento. The flat stint ends in Rovereto, where the day’s intermediate sprint – in Corso Antonio Rosmini, in the very heart of the city, after 108,8 km – barely precedes the foot of the second ascent of the day.
It is a 19,2 km long climb up to Serrada, where the KOM sprint is located after 128,4 km; from there, only 6,2 km will be left to the finish. But even those will not be easy: a descent with short countergradients will leave way, with less than 2 km to go, to a long downhill straight ending with 700 mt to go with a sharp bend to the right. From there, the riders will have to relaunch their speed on the final drag on Viale Trento, leading to the finish in Via Emilio Colpi. The decisive move will be made on this ending section, whose gradient peaks at 10%: those punchers who managed to keep something for the finish will have a shot to the stage win and the first leader’s jersey.