The 2020 Tour of the Alps will include some 13,000 metres of total climbing across its five days, while next year’s route also sees a reduction on transfers between stages as part of the race organisation’s bid to reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
The event, which takes place from April 20-24, serves as a mountainous warm up for the Giro d’Italia and once again features stages in both Italy and Austria. Previously run as the Giro del Trentino, the Tour of the Alps took on its current, cross-border format in 2017, when Geraint Thomas secured overall victory. Thibaut Pinot won the race in 2018 while Pavel Sivakov took the honours this year.
The 2020 Tour of the Alps will form part of the new UCI ProSeries of race. The route was presented in Milan on Tuesday morning and the event is composed of five short but potentially explosive stages in the Tirol, Südtirol and Trentino regions. The average stage distance is 143km.
“Ours is a modern race, designed to provide spectacle,” said Tour of the Alps general manager Maurizio Evangelista. “You only have to look at how we have distributed the climbs, but just as important is how we have distributed the descents, which are also a source of spectacle.”
The opening stage begins in Bressanone in Italy and crosses into Austria by way of the Brenner Pass en route to Innsbruck. The 142.8km stage features three laps of a finishing circuit over the Axams climb, which was on the time trial route at the 2018 World Championships.
Stage 2 from Innsbruck ends with a summit finish at Feichten im Kaunertal and includes a total of 2,640 metres of climbing in just 121km, including two ascents of the Piller Sattel. The finishing climb features ramps of 12% that could serve as a springboard for late attackers.
The race crosses back into Italy on stage 3 with 164km leg to Naturno that includes the longer climbs of the Passo Resia and Frinig ahead of the short and sharp ascent to Tarres, the summit of which comes 18km from the finish.
The longest and most demanding stage comes on the penultimate day, as the gruppo takes in 3,380m of total climbing on the 168km between Naturno and Pieve di Bono. The first ascent is the 1,706m-high Passo Castrin, the highest point of the Tour of the Alps, which is followed by the Campo Carlo Magno.
Both ascents feature on stage 18 of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, although they will be climbed from the opposite side on that occasion. The Tour of the Alps stage concludes with the short climb of Selle Giudicarie and then the 10km haul up to Boniprati, before a 7km plunge to the finish line.
The final stage is a short but demanding affair from the Valle delle Chiese to Riva del Garda, which includes the category 1 Passo Duran, as well as twin ascents of the climb of Pranzo before the finish on the northern shore of Lake Garda.
Three of the 2020 Tour of Alps stages start in the previous day’s finish town. “That’s a way to favour the teams’ and riders’ recovery, but also to mitigate the emissions of the accompanying vehicles, as part of an increasing effort for sustainability,” the race organisation said.
As in 2019, there will be 20 teams at the start of the Tour of the Alps, and the organisation again expects to attract interest from WorldTour squads. The teams will be announced in January.
This year’s race proved a reliable indicator of form ahead of the Giro. Overall winner Pavel Sivakov went on the place 9th at the Giro, while Vincenzo Nibali, third at the Tour of Alps, finished second behind Richard Carapaz in the corsa rosa. Fausto Masnada, winner of two stages at the Tour of the Alps, was an aggressive presence at the Giro, winning a stage in the opening week.
2020 Tour of the Alps route
Monday, April 20 – stage 1: Brixen/Bressanone – Innsbruck, 142.8km
Tuesday, April 21 – stage 2: Innsbruck – Feichten im Kaunertal, 121.5km
Wednesday, April 22 – stage 3: Imst – Naturns/Naturno, 163.9km
Thursday, April 23 – stage 4: Naturns/Naturno – Valle del Chiese/Pieve di Bono, 168.6km
Friday, April 24 – stage 5: Valle del Chiese/Idroland – Riva del Garda, 120.9km