Chris Froome was keen to warm-down and debrief with Team Sky staff after the opening stage of the Tour of the Alps on Monday, but he appeared quietly satisfied with his performance on the short but intense stage to Folgaria.
Froome finished fifth in the ski resort east of Trento, 10 seconds behind stage winner Pello Bilbao (Astana), one place behind Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) but four seconds ahead of Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates).
Froome had not raced since Tirreno-Adriatico in early March but has recently spent 16 days training at altitude before a weekend of Giro d’Italia recon in northern Italy. However, he was fresh enough to respond to the attacks and the high speed on the final climb.
After taking a drink from team staff, Froome opted to ride out the effort of the stage by adding a few kilometres to his day. He spoke about the stage as he spun his legs on the rollers in the shadow of the Team Sky bus.
“It was a very short, explosive racing but that’s what we thought it would be like coming into this race. I’m definitely heading in the right direction, my feelings are good,” Froome told Cyclingnews and the other media who had followed him up to his team hotel in Folgaria.
Everyone at Team Sky was upbeat at the hotel after the riders put in a solid performance controlling the pace on the Serrada climb. Team Sky let Groupama-FDJ use up their riders early and then carefully controlled an attack by Pinot, with the Frenchman’s former teammate Kenny Elissonde doing a long turn on the front to keep Pinot under control.
Decisive stage 2
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