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by Shane Stokes
April 17, 2018
Bilbao takes stage 1 of the Tour of the Alps; Froome: “I’m definitely heading in the right direction”; Teuns named as BMC Racing Team leader for Flèche Wallonne; Barguil says Di Gregorio should face criminal punishment over EPO positive; Cane Creek eeWing titanium cranks conjure the spirit of Sweet Wings; Video: 2018 Amstel Gold Race – Men & Women; Video: Cycling Motivation 2018 – For indoor trainer
Team Sky leader Chris Froome hasn’t raced much this season, but rode strongly on the opening stage of the Tour of the Alps on Monday and finished fifth. He drove the pace on the final climb and created the decisive break, gaining time on many others.
“It was a short stage with very explosive racing,” he said. “That’s what we knew it would be coming into this race. I’m definitely heading in the right direction and the feelings are good.”
Froome is under pressure because of an anti-doping test taken during last year’s Vuelta a Espana, which showed he had levels twice the permitted threshold of salbutamol. He is facing the likely loss of that race title, and also a potential suspension. Despite that, he plans to compete in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.
“Astana definitely had the numbers heading into the final and they used that to their advantage and rode a very good race,” he said, talking about the stage finale. “It was getting quite selective and I pushed on a little bit just to get back to the front of the race. It’s still early days and we’ll see how the next few days go. Tomorrow could be probably the most decisive day of the week.”
He said it is too soon to know how his rivals are going. “On a really short stage like that I don’t think you can read too much into who was where. It could be quite different. I’m just looking at the GC and I’m already 20 seconds back. Time bonuses could certainly be important in this race.”