Bookwalter Brings Tour of the Alps to a Close With Podium Finish on Stage 521. April 2017, Trento (ITA) — Road Team
The final day of racing at Tour of the Alps was also the longest and saw Brent Bookwalter head onto the podium after finishing second in a reduced bunch sprint for the line.
A fast start to stage 5 saw riders battling to get into the breakaway with Manuel Senni and Kilian Frankiny both part of early attempts. But, it wasn’t until the peloton had covered almost 30km, of the 192.5km course, that Rosskopf was able to make a move as part of a nine-rider group.
The successful breakaway soon began to establish a solid lead over the peloton, and as they approached the bottom of the first categorized climb, Passo Durone, their lead had extended to over five minutes.
As the kilometers passed by, the gap between the peloton and the Rosskopf breakaway remained steady at 5’30”. However with 80km to go and the day’s second categorized climb, Monte Bondone, on the horizon, the chase from the peloton began to heat up.
Rosskopf continued to push on as the breakaway began the 19.4km climb but the gap continued to fall, and eventually, attacks from the reduced bunch behind saw them brought back into the fold with less than 50km remaining.
Riders were immediately scattered across the road as the main General Classification contenders tried to get the measure of one another. But, as they neared the summit of the climb, a group of fifteen riders, which included Brent Bookwalter and Rohan Dennis, was sitting at the head of the race.
At the end of a long, fast & technical descent and with only 20km to go, it was clear that the stage win would be contested from this leading group of riders.
Inside the final 10km, riders began to attack before the top four riders on the General Classification went clear; Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) and Michele Scarponi (Astana Team).
As they have been doing all week, Dennis and Bookwalter worked hard to bring the group back together and ultimately the race headed towards a bunch sprint.
With only meters to go, Pinot launched his sprint with Bookwalter gritting his teeth behind him and holding onto his wheel before taking an incredibly close second place on the line and BMC Racing Team's third podium finish of the week.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"It was a really technical finish today, and we had some great information relayed to us from the team who had gone ahead to Trento. So, we knew there were cobbles and that the last corners were going to be tight, but we didn't know exactly. From that, we could tell that positioning was going to be really important, and in the end, I was close but just not close enough."
"I went into that last corner telling myself I needed to be in first or second position and I did that, but I had to go on the inside and just lost a little speed against Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who is also quick on a finish like that."
"Today was a really big mountain stage. The stages here have just been getting harder and harder and today was a long day with a lot of climbing, and I was suffering for a while. I definitely wouldn't have been in that front group if it hadn't have been for Joey Rosskopf and especially Rohan Dennis."
"When Joey got caught, he did a great job pacing me back, and Rohan backed off to help pull me over the top and rode for me the rest of the way. It was really an honor and privilege to have the team throw their support behind me, and I am grateful for the opportunity. It was just a shame that I couldn't get the big prize at the end. But, I am proud of our effort. For me to be up there with that caliber of riders at the finish is a good sign and a testament to the work I have been doing."
Sports Director, Max Sciandri:
"It was a fantastic move by Joey Rosskopf at the beginning of the race. Every day he has been doing an incredible job helping Rohan and the team so, today, he had a free role, and he got in a good break. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, and then the race was on again."
"We had Rohan and Brent Bookwalter up there at the front, and they did a great job together. It was another sprint, and you can never predict how a sprint will play out so, I think we came out with a good result."
"Overall we have had a good week. We have had ups and downs like every team, but I think we can be positive coming away from the race."
Tour of the Alps
Stage 5: Smarano > Trento, 192.5km
Top 3: 1. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 2. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) 3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Brent Bookwalter 13. Rohan Dennis 17. Manuel Senni