Dennis Takes Confident Victory on Tour of the Alps Stage 218. April 2017, Innervillgraten (AUT) — Road Team
Rohan Dennis punched the air with delight on Tour of the Alps stage 2 after taking the stage win in a final uphill sprint for the line.
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.
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."
Sports Director, Max Sciandri:
"Looking at the stage this morning, we thought it would come down to a sprint and that it would be hard to get a breakaway going. Some strong guys moved on the top of the climb with around 30km to go, and Damiano Caruso was riding well, and he was able to jump in. In the end, it didn't go all the way, but it was a good situation for us. We didn't have to chase behind, and we were able to set Rohan Dennis up well in the finish, and he looked really strong."
"This is a pathway to the Giro d'Italia for Rohan, and there are still three hard days to come, but for sure, this is a good result here for us. For me, anything else is a bonus at this race now. The team will have a good morale going into the next few stages and we will see what happens."
Tour of the Alps
Stage 2: Vipiteno > Innervillgraten, 140.4km
Top 3: 1. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) 2. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) 3. Davide Barellini (Androni Giocattoli)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 1. Rohan Dennis 21. Brent Bookwalter 23. Tom Bohli