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Gianni Moscon attacks to clinch opening stage in Tour of the Alps

Gianni Moscon won the first stage of the Tour of the Alps on Monday as Chris Froome finished more than five minutes off the pace

Gianni Moscon attacks to clinch opening stage in Tour of the Alps

Froome is targeting a start on the Tour de France in June on his long journey back from life-threatening injuries suffered in a high-speed crash into a wall at the Criterium du Dauphine two years ago.

The world’s top paid cyclist, on a 5.5 million euros a year deal with Israel Start-Up Nation, Froome came to this five-day race on the back of a disappointing Volta a Catalunya.

On a relatively flat run to Innsbruck on Monday local resident Moscon broke for the line with 4km to go. Idar Andersen went with Moscon, but the Ineos man easily beat him in a dash for the line as the peloton closed in on them, finishing right on their tails.

“Knowing the roads was an advantage, especially psychologically. I knew what was coming and knew how to judge my effort. Of course you need the legs, too, and it worked out perfectly,” Moscon said.

"It's really the best way to get back into the race," Moscon commented. "It's an unbelievable emotion to win after such a long time (nearly three years), especially here in Innsbruck. My knowledge of the roads certainly helped, but it's the legs that made the difference. I didn't expect to be able to win in my comeback race, but this is the demonstration that if you really believe in it, it is possible to achieve big results.

"Tomorrow is my 27th birthday, I gave myself a double present in this green leader's jersey and a success that is worth a lot: my Tour of the Alps will continue in the sign of determination, and whoever from Ineos Grenadiers wears the green jersey in Riva del Garda, we'll be happy with that."

Stage 2 to Feichten Im Kaunertal is a 121km race with two mountains along the way, perfect for some of the world’s top climb specialists present test their fitness ahead of the Giro d’Italia that starts May 8 in Turin.

VIDEO: 2021 Tour of the Alps Stage 1 Highlights

2021 Tour of the Alps Stage 1

1 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 3:29:24
2 Idar Andersen (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
3 Alexandr Riabushenko (Min) UAE Team Emirates
4 Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
5 Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Team BikeExchange
6 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
7 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8 Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo
9 Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
10 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Qhubeka Assos