Chris Froome will ride the Tour of the Alps (April 22-26) as he works to find his best form in the countdown to the Tour de France. The organisers of the Tour of the Alps confirmed the presence of Froome and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) in this year’s race at a presentation in Kufstein, Austria, where the race will begin on Easter Monday.
The Austrian-Italian stage race will almost certainly be Froome’s final race in Team Sky colours before the British WorldTour squad become Team Ineos on May 1 and races for the first time in their new black and burgundy colours at the Tour de Yorkshire (May 2-5).
Froome rode the Tour of the Alps in 2018 as he prepared to target the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double, finishing fourth behind winner Thibaut Pinot. This year Froome will race against Nibali, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), with five WorldTour teams and a host of strong Professional Continental and Continental teams on the start list. The five days of racing cover 711km between Kufstein and Bolzano, including ten categorised climbs and 13,600m of climbing.
Froome first hinted he would ride the Tour of the Alps while riding the Volta a Catalunya. The 33-year-old is targeting a record-equalling fifth Tour de France victory but has endured a troubled start to the season. He skipped the UAE Tour after he went deep in training and then crashed at the Colombia 2.1 race. He also crashed at the Volta a Catalunya.
Froome is expected to show off Team Ineos’ new colours at a special presentation before the Tour de Yorkshire. He will then ride the British stage race to further bolster his total of racing days before heading to altitude for a key block of training. As per tradition, the Criterium di Dauphine is expected to be Froome’s last major race before the Tour de France.
Froome is expected to share team leadership with 2018 winner Geraint Thomas, with the racing likely to reveal who will go on to be the team's protected leader.
Team Sky have often prepared for the Giro d’Italia by riding the Tour of Alps and its predecessor the Giro del Trentino. Bradley Wiggins, Froome, Richie Porte, and Geraint Thomas have all ridden in the past, with Porte winning in 2015 and Thomas in 2017.
Egan Bernal is expected to lead Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia but will not take part in the Tour of the Alps after recently winning Paris-Nice and finishing third at the Volta a Catalunya. Bernal is not expected to race again until the Giro d’Italia starts in Bologna on Saturday May 11.
Cyclingnews will be at the Tour of the Alps and have daily live coverage, stage reports, news and interviews.