Nicolas Roche battles hard to take second place on final stage of Tour of the Alps
Felix Grossschartner secured the win on the shores of Lake Garda
Nicholas Roche of Ireland and Team DSM and Alessandro De Marchi of Italy and Team Israel Start-Up Nation during the 44th Tour of the Alps 2021. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images
Nicolas Roche salvaged a deserved and still hard fought second place on the fifth and last stage of the Tour of the Alps, the Irish rider part of a breakaway group for long stages of the short and hilly 120.9km finale around Lake Garda.
While Felix Grossschartner of Bora-Hansgrohe, the 27-year-old from Austria, broke away on the final climb to secure the solo win, Roche won the sprint for the runner-up position, 34 seconds down, the Team DSM rider just ahead of Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation) before the main peloton arrived six seconds later.
In there was Simon Yates of Team BikeExchange, the British rider finishing comfortably on the day to secure the outright the title, 58 seconds ahead of Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren), with Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) third on 1:06.
Also in the main group was Dan Martin, at one point also in the 16-man breakaway, who, after twice crashing on Thursday’s penultimate stage, finished 15th overall, 4:35 down on Yates. Roche finished 43rd on GC, 17:45 down, both riders taking plenty of encouragement the week ahead of the Giro d’Italia, now just a fortnight away.
Chris Froome, now Martin’s team mate Israel Start-Up Nation, finished in 93rd on the GC, 51:09 down on Yates, still it seems a long way off the rider looking to win a fifth Tour de France this summer.