Geraint Thomas fifth as Rohan Dennis powers to Tour of the Alps stage two
Thibaut Pinot moves ahead of Michele Scarponi into GC lead
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) proved the strongest in an uphill finish on stage two of the Tour of the Alps, with Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) fifth and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) moving into the leader’s jersey.
Shortened by 40km due to snow, the second stage of the Tour of the Alps saw a four-man break go clear, although Niccolo Salvietti (Sangemini – MG.Kvis), Patrick Gamper (Tirol Cycling Team), Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Simone Velasco (Bardiani-CSF) didn’t cause too much worry for the peloton with their maximum advantage of 1-50.
The breakaway was caught with 28km remaining just as the riders started the second category climb to St Justina, which provided a launching pad for attacks.
Alexander Foliferov (Gazprom-RusVelo) was the first to attack, taking the points at the top of the climb followed by Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) and Ilia Koshevoy (Wilier Triestina).
That foursome held an advantage of 13 seconds at the top of the climb with 24km remaining, but extended that advantage out to 40 seconds with 10km remaining, as Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) was able to bridge across.
However, there was a lack of cohesion in the attack, with Landa making a dig in the uphill final kilometres, with only Caruso and Pirazzi able to follow.
Over a tough finale, the peloton was able to claw back 30 seconds in the final four kilometres, making the catch after the flamme rouge to set up a reduced bunch sprint.
The uphill drag to the line provided a launching pad for Dennis to jump clear, opening a gap of a number of bike lengths to win the stage ahead of Thibaut Pinot.
Following his third place on the opening day, that position was good enough to move Pinot into the race lead as Michele Scarponi failed to finish in the top ten, while Geraint Thomas ensured that he remains in close attendance to the top of the GC with a fifth place finish.
The Tour of the Alps continues on Wednesday with a 143.5km stage culminating in a summit finish at Funes/Villnöß.
Tour of the Alps 2017, stage two: Vipiteno to Innervillgraten (140.4km)
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, in 3-20-12
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
4. Nick Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
6. Eduard Prades (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana Pro Team
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky
10. Matteo Busato (Ita) Wilier Triestina, all at same time
General classification after stage two
1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, 6-52-18
2. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, at same time
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 4 secs
4. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team, at 10 secs
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale, at 10 secs
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, at 10 secs
7. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 11 secs
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli, at 14 secs
9. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 18 secs
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, at 21 secs