The Welshman attacked to form the decisive group on the final climb of the opening stage, but couldn't beat Scarponi to the line

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) showed his strength on stage one of the Tour of the Alps, but couldn’t take victory on the final climb to the finish.

The Welshman had attacked from just over 1km out on the final ascent, but wasn’t able to beat Michele Scarponi (Astana) in the final sprint for the line after the Italian had tracked him.

>>> Mikel Landa hoping to show he’s back on form at Tour of the Alps alongside Geraint Thomas

The final climb to the finish, at only around 3km or so in length, was never going to be enough to put significant time gaps between any of the GC contenders, but Sky took control right from the bottom as Kenny Elissonde worked hard on the front for Thomas.

Ag2r were the first team to send a man on the attack, with one of Domenico Pozzovivo’s men making a move that was immediately tracked by Thomas and Rohan Dennis (BMC).

Pozzovivo himself and Hugh Carthy (Cannondale) then tried to make a move, but nothing was sticking despiteriders constantly being shed out the back due to the hard pace initially set by Sky.

Geraint Thomas then broke free, but his solo effort was short lived as Italian Pozzovivo then bridged across. They were looking like they could approach the finish as a pair, but veteran Italian Scarponi and Mattea Cattaneo (Androni-Giocattoli) were eventually able to work their way up to them.

Scarponi looked to be struggling as he held on behind, with pace slowing enough to let the likes of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Davide Formolo (Cannondale) back into the group within the final 500 metres.

As the race approached the line, Thomas powered on the front, attempting to hold off his rivals. Only Scarponi was able to then move up in front, with Thomas unable to do anything to stop the Astana man taking a long awaited win.

Stage one is the first of three summit finishes, with the other two on Tuesday’s stage two and Wednesday’s stage three before two more massive mountain days on the final two stages.

Scarponi now leads the race with a four second advantage over Thomas and a six second advantage over Pinot, with time bonuses of 10, six and four available on the line.

Result

Tour of the Alps, stage one: Kufstein – Innsbruck/Hungerburg (142.3km)

1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, in 3-32-15
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team, all same time
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli, at 4s
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 7s
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 10s
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, st

Overall classification after stage one

1. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team, in 3-32-15
2. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 4s
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 6s
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, at 10s
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team, all same time
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli, at 14s
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 17s
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 20s
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team, st