After four days of very cold and sometimes wet weather, the final day of the Tour of the Alps dawned bright and sunny, with forecasters predicting temperatures in the high teens and perhaps a little beyond for the race’s finale, which includes the legendary ascent of Monte Bondone.
It was rather surprising, therefore, that as the peloton rolled out through the apple orchards surrounding the hill-tip village of Smarano, six riders were missing, including two in the top 10 who still had an outside chance of overall victory: Cannondale-Drapac’s Davide Formolo, who was lying fifth at 31 seconds behind leader Geraint Thomas, and BMC Racing’s Damiano Caruso, who was eighth at 42 seconds.
As well as those two, Bora’s José Mendes (16th), Formolo’s teammate Davide Villella (28th), and Aqua Blue Sport’s Larry Warbasse (35th) and Stefan Denifl (82nd) also failed to start.
The Tour of the Alps race organisation said it had had no previous news of the withdrawals, but social media soon revealed all six feature among the starters at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
Cannondale subsequently posted a message on Twitter, stating: “Fielding questions about Formolo’s #TotA withdrawal. Both he and Villella were non-starters for one extra day of recovery before #LBL.”
Soon after, BMC followed suit: “#TotA @CarusoDamiano will not start today to allow him to recover well from four tough days of climbing before his next races.”
The organisers of the Tour of the Alps only comment was to say it was completely focused on those riders who were already racing towards Monte Bondone, who include Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r), Luis León Sánchez (Astana) and Pete Kennaugh (Team Sky), who are also due in Belgium on Sunday.
Regarding those racing apparently on four wheels towards local airports, they made no comment.