Cycling: The first stage winner and first holder of the Wiesbauer East Tyrol-Lead jersey is called Pete Kennaugh. The Sky professional today dominated the opening stage of the 66th International Tour of Austria ahead of Swiss Oliver Zaugg. Best Austrian was Patrick Konrad from Lower Austria (Gourmetfein Simplon) in sixth place. Last year's winner Riccardo Zoidl had a bad day and lost 1:53 minutes.
In front of many spectators and in bright sunshine, it was the expected hectic start on the 1st stage from Tulln to Sonntagberg over 182 kilometers. Even before the first lotteries-Sprint classification Schloß Grafenegg, five drivers were able to break away from the field: Martin Weiss (Team Tirol), Maxim Belkov (Trek), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Andreas Hofer (Team Voralberg) and Dennis Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol) quickly built one Lead of over five minutes out.
On the ascent to the category 2 mountain classification Jauerling, the leading group had a lead of 5:10 minutes. Around 70 kilometers before the finish, the pace increased in the field and the lead melted down to around 2:30 minutes. But after Wieselburg, the lead at the top increased again to over three minutes. On the climb to the last Wiesbauer-Mountain classification Ybbsitzer Höhe, the two Austrians Hofer and Weiss lost contact with their flight companions. 25 kilometers from the finish in Ybbsitz, the lead of the trio was only around 1:30 minutes. Around 14 kilometers before the finish, the field was closed again.
British champion Pete Kennaugh (Sky) quickly took the initiative on the three-kilometre-long final ascent, with a maximum gradient of 14 percent, up to the Sonntagberg pilgrimage basilica, where thousands of spectators once again welcomed the professional cyclists. With around 1,5 kilometers to go, he took the lead and brought an eleven-second lead over the Swiss Tinkoff-Saxo pro to the finish. The Spanish Movistar professional Javier Moreno was third in the stage.
“Those were very long final meters for me. I already had very good legs at the British Championships last week and I was able to show that again today. I'm here in Austria to go for stage wins. And now it worked right on the first day”, beamed the 25-year-old stage winner and first winner of the Wiesbauer East Tyrol-Leadership jerseys at the finish.
Patrick Konrad from Lower Austria from Gourmetfein Simplon delivered a great performance in the Sportland Lower Austria. He finished just 25 seconds behind Kennaugh in stage sixth and will be wearing that tomorrow Tchibo-Jersey of the best Austrian. “That was the longest three kilometers of my cycling career. This first stage went perfectly for our Gourmetfein team: A sixth place for me, Jure Golcer was tenth and Martija Kvasina twelfth. A super team performance.”
Last year's winner Riccardo Zoidl from Team Trek lost 29:1 minutes to the stage winner in 53th place. With around 1,5 kilometers to go, the Upper Austrian was no longer able to follow the pace of the leaders. "I caught a bad day, but I assume that my team will drive for me up to the Kitzbüheler Horn", said Zoidl after crossing the finish line.
The first leader in the lotteries-Scoring is Pete Kennaugh. The breakaway Nathan Haas from Team Garmin-Sharp will wear the leader's jersey tomorrow. In the Wiesbauer-Mountain classification is led by the Russian Maxim Belkov from the Katusha team.