Dennis Takes Confident Victory on Tour of the Alps Stage 2

Rohan Dennis punched the air with delight on Tour of the Alps stage 2 after taking the stage win with a final uphill sprint for the line.

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Dennis Takes Confident Victory on Tour of the Alps Stage 2

After heavy snow saw the start line relocated from Innsbruck to Vipiteno, 44km into the previously planned 181.3km route, the race eventually got underway. The peloton set a fast pace over the first 25km before a four-rider breakaway went clear and built up an advantage which settled at around two minutes. But, with 60km to go, and the day’s only categorized climb still to come, the gap began to fall.

As the race headed towards the climb to St. Justina, a huge increase in pace from the main bunch saw the breakaway reeled in as the road began to rise with 28km remaining.

Attacks began early on the 4.8km climb with four riders extending a slight advantage as they went over the summit. Behind them, Damiano Caruso attacked off the front of the main bunch and rode solo to bridge the gap. Inside the final 10km, the group of five were holding onto a 40-second advantage over the main bunch before only Caruso, Mikel Landa (Team Sky), and Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani – CSF) were left out in front.

The trio continued to push on, but the bunch was chasing hard behind and with less than a kilometer to go the race was back together and heading for an uphill sprint to the line. With only meters to go, an explosive burst of acceleration saw Rohan Dennis put some daylight between himself and the bunch before storming across the line to victory.
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The Winner’s Interview with Rohan Dennis

Congratulations, Rohan! How are you feeling after today’s win?
“I’m feeling really happy after today. I didn’t expect to win, to be honest. I was just playing it by ear really. We knew that the finish was slightly uphill so I thought that if I was in a good position, I would give it a crack and see how I went. Today it worked perfectly.”

“The team did a great job for me today, and I maybe used their energy at the wrong times on a couple of occasions today. But, I can definitely learn from that and I am really glad that I could repay them with the win.”

Talk us through the final sprint.
“I was probably a little too far back when I launched my sprint, but I just said to myself ‘go for it!’. I maybe got a bit lucky when the guys went a little too early in front of me, and it kicked up a bit more than they thought. Normally the tenth wheel would be too far back in a sprint, but today, it worked out perfectly for me.”

Does today’s win give you some confidence ahead of the Giro d’Italia next month,
“I have come here for the final bit of top-end racing to prepare me for next month, and this gives me a bit more confidence going into the Giro d’Italia for sure. Yesterday didn’t go exactly to plan, and it knocked me a little bit, but I didn’t let that get to me as I know I have done a lot of work recently. Today, that turned around but this wasn’t the toughest stage of this race, and we will see more of where I am at over the next few stages.”

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky):
“When Mikel attacked on that climb with 25km to go I wasn’t sure if it would stick because Astana were riding but he managed to pull out a good lead. I was hoping he’d stay away, but in the last 10km FDJ and Cannonade started riding hard. There was a lot of guys chasing so unfortunately they got caught. It was a decent day though – everyone got stuck in.”

With a nasty drag to the line the final sprint was a tough one and ‘G’ found himself slightly boxed in. “I wanted to try and leave it late in the sprint and come from behind,” he explained, “but I just got a little boxed in. A few guys were going backwards and I lost my momentum a bit which was a shame – I wanted to win. But it’s all looking good for tomorrow – personally and as a team.”

“We’ve only got six guys here, but we’ve always got six guys at the end, so it shows that everyone is strong. We’ll get stuck in and see what happens”. He continued: “I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel coming here after that block in Tenerife, plus a couple of Giro recons that involved a lot of travelling over the few days prior to the race, but I feel like that work has paid off. I’ll get a good block of racing here then a good spell of rest, because that last week of the Giro is going to be super hard. I’ll go into the race nice and fresh, raring to go.”

Tour of the Alps

Stage 2: Vipiteno > Innervillgraten, 140.4km
1. DennisRohanBMC Racing Team
2. Thibaut Pinot FDJ
3. Davide Ballerini, Androni Giocattol

5. Geraint Thomas Team Sky
54. Hugh Carthy Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
90. Peter KennaughTeam Sky 5:29
1. Thibaut Pinot FDJ56:52:18
2. Michele Scarponi Astana Pro Team
3. Geraint Thomas Team Sky 0:04

9. Hugh Carthy, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 0:18



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