Carr Soloes to Victory in Stage 5 of Tour of the Alps
Friday’s fifth and final stage of Tour of the Alps 2023 was a 144.5-kilometer stage from Cavalese in Trentino to Bruneck/Brunico in Südtirol. Race leader Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos-Grenadiers) set out to defend his general classification lead on the mountainous route that featured a category 1 climb shortly aftet the start and a category 2 climb late in the stage before the riders would descend into the valley to reach the finish line. Biathlon World Champion Dorothea Wierer was set to be special guest at the finish line celebrations.
With the fifth stage being the final opportunity to secure a stage victory in this year’s Tour of the Alps, there was significant interest from a wide range of teams in joining the day’s breakaway group.
A 23-man breakaway group was eventually established. The group featured Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain-Victorious); Simon Carr and Georg Steinhauser (EF Education-EasyPost); Juri Hollmann (Movistar Team); Matteo Fabbro and Florian lipowitz (Bora-Hansgrohe); Geoffrey Bouchard, Nicolas Prodhomme, Valentin Paret-Peintre, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroen); Luis Leon Sanchez and Antonio Nibali (Astana Team); Omer Goldstein (Israel-PremierTech), Luca Covili (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane); Ådne Holter, Johannes Kulset and Magnus Brynsrud (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team); Damien Howson and Gianluca Brambilla (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team); Txomin Juaristi and Enekoitz Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi); Jose Felix Parra (Equipo Kern Pharma), and Moran Vermeulen (Team Vorarlberg).
As the front group approached the category 2 Mühlbach climb with 32.5 kilometers to go, the riders had a three-minute advantage over the chasing main peloton led by Ineos-Grenadiers. In the front group the Uno-X team riders were pulling in front.
With 27 kilometers left, Carr attacked from the front group, hoping to secure some well-deserved success for the EF Education-EasyPost team that has worked hard in all five stages of the race.
From the main peloton a duo attacked featuring Max Poole (Team DSM) and Matthew Riccitello (Israel-PremierTech).
Carr’s attack caused splits in the front group and 14 riders were dropped, while 8 riders initiated a chase. Carr formed a lead of 32 seconds.
Meanwhile, at the back, the Poole-Riccitello duo was caught by the main peloton led by Ineos-Grenadiers. Animating breakaway action was limited, given the cold and wet conditions and the fact that the Ineos-Grenadiers team had five strong riders dominating the front of the peloton.
With 19.5 kilometers left, Carr was still in front with a 37 second advantage on the chasing eight, while the main peloton had a four-minute deficit. Carr was facing a battle with the tarmac that was old and deteriorated. Adding to this the roads were wet and cold, and remains of melting snow could be seen here and there on the sides of the road.
11 kilometers from the finish Carr had increased his lead to 01:30 minutes while fighting hard on the descent to keep the chasers at bay.
Carr still led the race with five kilometers left of the stage by setting a fast pace on the small roads that were flanked by green fields and dandelions.
Carr soloed across the finish line in proud fashion, thereby securing the 14th victory of the season for his EF Education-EasyPost team. It was the second professional victory for 24-year-old Carr who grew up in Hereford, Great Britain.
Carr’s teammate Steinhauser won a three-man sprint across the finish line, despite one Bora-Hansgrohe rider trying to lock him in by pushing him towards the barriers in the final meters. Fabbro took third for Bora-Hansgrohe.
“I’ve been in a break on three occasions this week, so I’ve probably spent more time in the breakaways than in the bunch in this race, which was good fun,” stage winner Carr explained to Roadcycling.com. “I was really, really tired this morning. The plan was to get Steinhauser in the break today and we ended up having both of us in the group, which was exactly what we were hoping for.”
Geoghegan Hart won Tour of the Alps 2023 in 19:29:50 for Ineos-Grenadiers, while Hugh Carthy finished second, 22 seconds behind the winner. Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) completed the podium.
“Another amazing performance today by the team,” race winner Geoghegan Hart told Roadcycling.com before being celebrate on the podium. “The conditions today were testing and I’m super happy. I want to say thanks to all my friends and family. It’s not about proving anything; it is about winning the race. It’s a very beautiful race in a very nice area. I’m very happy to have won this Tour of the Alps and it’s nice to write another chapter in the history of this race,” Geoghegan Hart added.