Israel Start-Up Nation got off to a good start in the mountainous Tour of the Alps stage race, as Alessandro De Marchi took the KOM jersey after a strong breakaway effort on stage 1. Israeli champion Omer Goldstein showed good shape as well, crossing the line in 15th place and as the best ISN finisher on the day.
With an uphill start to the stage, and a lumpy profile in general, everybody knew that a strong breakaway might have a chance to make it all the way. De Marchi was very eager to get up the road and he attacked several times to get away. Unfortunately, in the end, he only got away with two other riders.
The trio quickly got a big gap of five minutes on the peloton, which meant they could play for the KOM jersey. At the top of the first categorized climb, De Marchi had no problem winning the sprint to take the maximum points.
As the riders headed towards the local loop in the finishing town of Innsbruck, the peloton upped the pace quite significantly, bringing the gap down to under two minutes. De Marchi needed only to take one more KOM point on the last climb to secure the jersey, but with one kilometer to go, the Italian decided to leave his breakaway companions behind and go solo. Once again, he took maximum points at the top of the climb and he started to eye a possible stage win as well.
However, as De Marchi took on the final 20 km, more teams started to work in the peloton and, ultimately, it all came back together again. In the end, Gianni Moscon (INEOS) took the win with a late attack, while the peloton crossed the line just a few seconds down with Goldstein doing well to take 15th place.
Alessandro De Marchi: “The idea was to see if I could make it into the breakaway and use this stage as a small test to see how my shape was after my recent altitude training camp. With only three guys at the front, we knew from the beginning that it would be really difficult to make it all the way but you never know. I have learned that you can never give up from the start. There is always a chance so you have to go for it and see what happens. It didn’t work out today but it was important for me to be up there and go for it, also mentally. All in all, I think this was a good day and a good start of the race. There are so many strong climbers here, so it won’t be easy to keep the KOM jersey, but we will see what happens in the next days.”
Omer Goldstein: “I think this was a good day for me. I like the cold weather more than the warm weather and I really didn’t mind the snow during the stage. At the end, I was waiting for a team do start a leadout but it never happened and suddenly it was too late. I tried to take a good position but unfortunately, I got boxed in a little and had to settle for 15th place. I felt good today though.”