Alexey Lutsenko (Team Astana) won the 6th stage of the Tour of Austria, out sprinting his breakaway companion, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida). Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) took 3rd on the stage.
Stage 6 of the Tour of Austria took in a fair amount of climbing once again, and the 167km route presented a good opportunity for a breakaway. This common consensus saw a fast start with big fight to form the early break.
Eventually it was just two riders who went clear, Lutsenko and Mohoric, with a chase group of 6 riders following and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Lachlan Morton as part of the chase. The peloton was greatly reduced after the fast start and so as they eased up, to regroup somewhat, the attackers were able to open their gap over the rest of the field.
The impressively strong leading duo was able to hold off their immediate chasers, with the gap constantly being clocked between 45-60 seconds throughout the stage. Morton’s chase group became 5 riders when Wout Van Aert (Verandas-Willems) was distanced around 15km to go.
With the finish in Wenigzell approaching, it was clear Lutsenko and Mohoric would decide the stage and Morton’s group would sprint it out for 3rd. The rider from Astana easily won the sharp uphill kick from Mohoric while Eiking jumped his chase group early, Morton responded but the Norwegian just held on for 3rd.
4th place for our Australian was a strong result nonetheless. The reduced peloton came sprinting home just over 2 minutes down and our Ben King was 12th on the stage with Louis Meintjes also finishing safely in the main group.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was a tough day. The stage was 170km but over the last 100km there was over 3000m of elevation. So we knew it was like a mini Ardennes stage. From the start everyone wanted to be in the break and after 50km a group of 25 riders went away with Ben King inside. When we hit the first climb the break split and more riders attacked from the peloton. Eventually at the top of that climb Mohoric and Lutsenko were the only two that remained from the initial 25 rider break. Behind it was 6 riders chasing, including Lachie (Morton) and that’s how it would stay. At some moments Lachie’s group got close but the two riders up front are world class and they stayed away. It was nice for us to see Lachlan riding at the level we always knew he is capable of and have expected of him since he joined our team.