Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) sprinted to victory on stage 4 of the Tour of Austria. Wout Van Aert (Verandas Willems – Crelan) was 2nd and Michael Bresciani (Bardiani-CSF) placed 3rd.
The 4th stage of the Tour of Austria ended in a standard reduced group sprint but it could have been so very different for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka if not for an untimely stroke of misfortune. It was a fast start to the stage despite 2 tough climbs in the early part of the stage. The 2nd climb of the day was category 1 climb and our African Team was on the front foot, with Steve Cummings and Johann van Zyl attacking over the top.
Initially it was 10 riders over the top of the climb but coming down the descent, just 2 other riders remained up front with our attacking duo, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) and Georg Zimmermann (Tirol). The peloton had the quartet in sight with 80km to go and were chased for all their worth, but Cummings, Van Zyl and Mohoric were really putting in some big turns to extend their lead.
The gap reached a maximum of 1’40” before the peloton started to reverse the time difference. Cummings, in his typical style, then took matters into his own hands and went solo just before the final 10km climb to the line began, with the peloton still a minute behind. Unfortunately for Cummings, as he started the climb his gearing mechanism faulted, forcing our Brit to stop his pursuit for victory.
As the bunch passed a stranded Cummings, Lachlan Morton tried a late attack but it was to no avail. A reduced group came to the line together, sprinting it out for the win, with Visconti taking his 2nd stage win of the race.