Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) won the final stage of the Tour of Austria from a 5-rider breakaway that made it all the way to the line. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) finished in 2nd place and 3rd went the way of Nick van der Lijke (Roompot).
The final stage of the Tour of Austria took in 163km before finishing with a flat circuit in Wels. While on paper it looked like a good day for the sprinters, a strong breakaway of 5-riders formed in the opening 20 kilometers which would really test the peloton. Lachlan Morton was part of that 5 rider group for our African Team together with Visconti, Lutsenko, van der Lijke and Nikolay Mihaylov (Delko Marseille Provence KTM).
The gap got to just over 4-minutes before the main pack started to try and reel-in the escapees. The quintet was working well together and their firepower was proving to be too much for the chasing pack. Coming onto the final circuit, the gap was still a healthy one for Morton and co. as they started the final 8km lap with still 2-minutes lead.
With Visconti and Lutsenko the two notable fast finishers in the group, Morton did not want to leave the stage down to a sprint and tried to attack just before the 1 kilometer to go banner. Lutsenko was onto him in a flash though, not prepared to give up the stage. Morton then tried to go long from 500m out but again, Lutsenko followed with Visconti on his wheel.
Visconti was in the prime position to start sprinting off Lutsenko’s wheel at 200m to go, and though the Kazakh rider pushed the Italian all the way to the line, it was Visconti who took the stage. After his two late attempts to take the stage win, Morton crossed the line in 5th place. Another fine attacking ride by our Australian.
Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) finished safely in the main pack to win the Tour of Austria overall. Louis Meintjes was our best placed rider overall, finishing 14th, as he prepares for the Vuelta a Espana.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Today, on paper it was supposed to be a sprint day but their wasn’t that many sprinters. So we decided from the start we wanted to be in the break and give it a try. All our guys were up there ready to make the break and it was Lachlan that made it in the end. It was a very strong group of 5-riders, with some serious power. There were about 4 teams chasing but they were not strong enough to close the gap before the finish. We knew Lachlan was probably the slowest out of those guys in a sprint so he tried two attacks in the final kilometer but he was followed both times and that was it for us. We have to be happy with today and how the guys have raced this week. They showed good commitment all through the week and we didn’t get a win but we still put in a good performance.