Milan (AFP) – French climbing specialist Thibaut Pinot won cycling’s Tour of the Alps on Friday with Ukraine’s Mark Padun claiming victory in the fifth and final stage.
British four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome finished fourth overall but the Sky leader was happy with “the perfect build-up to the Giro d’Italia”.
“I think I’m a lot closer to being ready for the Giro than I was at Tirreno-Adriatico and we’ve still got two weeks now,” said Froome.
FDJ rider Pinot becomes the second French winner after Luc Leblanc in 1997. Italy’s Domenico Pozzovivo finished overall second with Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez third, both at 0.15sec.
The race concluded after a 164km run from Rattenberg to Innsbruck, featuring a series of climbs, one of which peaked 12km from home before a 6km descent and a 6km dash for victory.
Padun made a late solo break to cross the line alone, 0.05sec ahead of New Zealander George Bennett with Czech Jan Hirt at 0.06.
It was the 21-year-old Bahrain–Merida rider’s first professional victory.
Froome — competing despite his case pending with the International Cycling Union’s anti-doping unit — finished the stage in eighth position.
The 32-year-old gave an adverse analytical finding for the asthma drug salbutamol at the Vuelta a Espana last September.
“The team has been fantastic this week and if you look at how they have controlled the race today it’s really impressive,” said Froome.
“The break had over 10 minutes at one point and in 40km we brought it to under a minute.
“It’s really going to give us an indication of who’s in good shape ahead of the Giro and the team will be selected in the next week or so.”
Froome has already finished 10th in the Ruta del Sol and 34th in Tirreno-Adriatico this year and is using the Tour of the Alps — formerly the Giro del Trentino — as his last warm-up for the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Israel on May 4.