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Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers) lit up the final 100m of stage 1 of the 2021 Tour of the Alps to take his first win since 2018.
Moscon, who calls Innsbruck, Austria home, attacked at 4km to go, and immediately got a gap of eight seconds.
“There’s no better way to get back racing after two months away due to an injury,“ said the Ineos Grenadier rider. “I’ve lived in Innsbruck for three years and so I was really motivated to try to win at home.”
In the closing 1.7km, Idar Andersen (Uno-X) heroically bridged from the main group to Moscon.
After Moscon recognized he had company, he was content to let Andersen do the work, even while the 21-year-old Norwegian continuously flapped his left elbow from 800m to 200m to go to signal Moscon to pull through.
With the peloton breathing down their necks, the two could not let up, and the experienced Moscon forced Andersen to open the sprint.
And with 100m to go, the experienced Italian flipped on the afterburners to take the stage win, while Anderson barely managed to hold the pursuers.
“It gave me that bit extra that made the difference. Knowing the roads was an advantage, especially psychologically; I knew what was coming and knew how to judge my effort. Of course, you need the legs too and it worked out perfectly.”
How it happened
With two rated climbs in the nearly 141km route, the Parcours took riders up two laps of the finishing circuit with a short climb on each lap. This circuit was familiar to those who raced at the UCI road world championships in 2018.
Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), and Felix Engelhardt (Tirol-KTM) moved out early and were allowed some gap by the main bunch.
De Marchi rode Dina and Engelhardt off his wheel on the first of the two climbs on the stage, as the main group was just 90 seconds back.
Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) and Atilla Valter (Groupama-FDJ) motivated the bunch to bring back De Marchi, while Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Nicolas Roche (Team DSM) also contributed to the chase.
But when Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) attacked the bunch, the move stuck.
Daniel Savini (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo), and Santiago Umba (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) joined Bilbao and the four blasted the descent of the final circuit for the first of two times.
With just a 10 second gap under the 10km banner, a motivated peloton was able to bring back the four escapees inside of 4km.
Immediately on the catch, Moscon launched his attack, catching nearly the entire group by surprise. Using knowledge of the roads, Moscon was able to add padding of nearly 8 seconds through narrow, twisting roads.
In the flat final 1,700m, Andersen pushed a massive gear to bridge from the main group, now just 5 seconds back, to Moscon, and as soon as he made contact, the experienced rider on his “home” roads was content to let the youngster from Uno-X Pro Cycling take the lead under the red kite.
Despite repeated motioning for Moscon to pull through to the front by Andersen, the tall Italian was tactically superior to the lesser-experienced Andersen. Moscon launched his winning move to come around Andersen at 100m to go and gained enough speed to hold the main group.
Moscon scored his first win since taking the win in the time trial at the 2018 Italian national championships, as well as the overall at the Tour of Guangxi where he also won the best young rider category.
What’s to come
Stage 2 of the Tour of the Alps will test the climbers — and De Marchi in the polka dot jersey — with a Cat 2 climb and a Cat 1 climb before the final ascent to the finish in Feichten im Kaunertal.
Tour of the Alps Stage 1 Results
- Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers), 3:29:24
- Idar Andersen (Uno-X Pro Cycling), at s.t.
- Alexandr Riabiushenko (UAE-Team Emirates), at s.t.
- Fabio Felline (Astana-Premier Tech), at s.t.
- Nicholas Schultz (Team BikeExchange), at s.t.
- Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani CSF Faizané), at s.t.
- Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), at s.t.
- Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo), at s.t.
- Natnael Tesfazion (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), at s.t.
- Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Team Qhubeka Assos), at s.t.