Tour of the Alps: Pozzovivo expecting big gaps on Pampeago finish

Italian within 20 seconds of lead after opening stage

Following the first tentative blows in the battle for the overall classification, the Tour of the Alps moves to stage 2 and its one and only summit finish at the Alpe di Pampeago.

The Pampeago is a climb that Domenico Pozzovivo knows well, having won on it in 2010 - when the race was still known as the Giro del Trentino - and he is hoping to shine on it once again. The 35-year-old believes that it will also force some definitive cracks between the GC contenders.

The ascent is the third of three classified climbs during stage 2 and averages close to 10 per cent over its 7.7 kilometres. It saves its toughest gradients for the second half with a maximum slope of 15 per cent. It has also featured in the Giro d'Italia on multiple occasions with Marco Pantani and Pavel Tonkov among those who have tasted victory on the climb.

"I hope that I will have good legs. I've already won on this finish so if I feel good then I will try something," Pozzovivo told Cyclingnews. "It is a very steep climb. It is one of the steepest in the region. I think in the last four kilometres then we will see a big difference between the contenders in the general classification."

There will be plenty to play for on stage 2 with most of the general classification riders crossing the line within a few seconds of each other. Pozzovivo sits just 20 seconds back from stage 1 winner and current leader Pello Bilbao. He was one of just three riders that were able to react to an attack from pre-race favourite Chris Froome but says that the Serrada climb was not a full representation of how the others are going.

"It was a long climb, not too steep, but the pace was quite hard from the start. At the finish, when Froome attacked, I tried to follow his wheel and I was in pretty good condition," Pozzovivo said. "In the final, I knew that it wasn't so suited to me but I raced in the wheel and it is good for me to be on the same time. For tomorrow, I think it is better for me.

"The battle was really over the last kilometres of the climb so we couldn't see quite well what the condition of the other GC guys was. I think that tomorrow will be a different climb. It's very steep and I think that it will be tomorrow that we will see the real condition of the GC riders."

Pozzovivo has been away from racing since he finished 14th overall at Tirreno-Adriatico last month. With his major goal of the Giro d'Italia only a few weeks away, the Italian is happy to get the legs spinning once again.

"It has been 40 days that I haven't been racing and so it is a good way to come back and go towards the Giro."

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