Tour of the Alps
1st stage - Rattenberg-Alpbach: 127,5 km

Alpbach is one of the most beautiful, quaint and true villages in all of Austria: you only have to look around to be caressed by all that green, all that mountain, all that uphill road. That’s right, because at the Tour of the Alps there is very little flat. Uphill, then: the favorite terrain for our Fortunato, who returned to racing after a period of training in the highlands, and there was so much curiosity to understand his level of form. So, few doubts: Fortunato is fine, he’s great. Because to stay in front on a stage like this, on a climb like this, along with champions like these, you really need a great leg. The finish in Alpach saw Lorenzo cross the line in seventh place, just 10” behind winner Geoghegan Hart, who took the first stage and the race leader’s jersey. An excellent result for Fortunato, which really bodes well for the upcoming stages and an ever-closer Giro d’Italia.

But let’s tell a bit about the stage, because even before Fortunato’s finish there was a lot of EOLO KOMETA. In the six attackers of the day, escaped from the group after about ten kilometers, were our Garosio and Martìn: behind the Ineos did not give too much space to the breakaway, which never went beyond the 3-minute lead. For 100 kilometers, though, our guys were out front, showing off and taking the pulse of a team that appeared convinced and fit. The race then exploded on the Kerschbaumer pass, a narrow and winding road where it was easy to go off the pace: to take the top of the hill was a small group of only eleven riders including, very well, our Fortunato. After an attack attempt on the descent by Jack Haig, on the final climb there was an attempt by Hugh Carty overtaken, however, 300 meters from the finish line by Geoghegan Hart: just behind, along with the strongest, our Fortunato.

Garosio and Martin – Photo Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency

Lorenzo Fortunato: “I feel good, I feel really good and in fact I was able to stay up there at the front with the best. I like these climbs, it’s my favorite terrain and when the leg responds I can do some good things like today, and I’m really happy with this day. With this condition, I hope to bring something home in the next few days because, I’ll never get tired of repeating it, I didn’t come here to prepare for the Giro d’Italia. I came here to have a good Tour of the Alps.”

Jesus Hernandez: “The team rode very well, we managed to put two men in the breakaway with the hope that one of them would hold out until the last climb to give Fortunato a helping hand, however, they both did very well. And then, Fortunato showed great condition, and this will probably also change the way we race: we won’t go after breakaways, but we will all stay together with the captain.”

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