Jan Hirt claimed 6th place in PRO Ötztaler 5500 (1.1). The Austrian event featured arguably the hardest course of all one-day races in UCI calendar. There were 5500 meters of total elevation gain across 217 kilometers, awaiting.
Info: 25th of August, Solden – Solden, 217,4km
Course: mountainous, four massive climbs – Kühtai (1200m of elevation gain, 18,5km long, max. gradient 18%), Brennerpass (777m, 39km, max. 12%), Jaufenpass (1130m,15,5km, max. 12%), Timmelsjoch (1759m, 28,7km, max. 14%).
How it unfolded
First climb of the day saw forming the breakaway of the day. It included Ruben Plaza (Orica-Scott), Matteo Spreafico (Androni-Sidermec), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF), Marco Bernardinetti (Amore & Vita – Selle SMP presented by FONDRIEST), Roland Thalmann (Roth Akros), Nicola Gaffurini (Sangemini – MG.Kvis), Michele Gazzara (Sangemini – MG.Kvis), Daniel Lehner (Felbermayr Simplon Wels). They recorded the highest gap – 5:30 – before Brennerpass and on the next climb, to Jaufenpass, Plaza and Gazzara left other escapees behind. Spaniard dropped Italian before the top and approached the downhill alone, with 2-minute lead over the reduced to just 30 riders peloton, which included Jan Hirt and Felix Grossschartner.
After a fierce chase in the downhill, Ronald Thalmann (Roth-Akros) bridged to the lone leader, but that move didn’t have too big of an impact on the race’s outcome.
They both got caught on Timmelsjoch climb. 28 kilometers of ascending reduced the main pack to just 9 riders. Jan Hirt looked quite comfortably trying few times to shake things up and blow the field apart. Those attacks cost him some energy though and eventually Czech lost contact with the 4-man leading group – Robert Power, Roman Krezuger (both Orica-Scott), Simon Spilak (Katusha Alpecin) and Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani – CSF) – 4km from the top.
Just before the summit that quarter broke into 4 solo riders, who approached the final 25 kilometers of mostly descending, going alone. Downhill didn’t change much, as nobody was able to close the gap. Kreuziger, who crested the top of the last ascent in first place, took the win, ahead of Spilak and Ciccone.
Jan Hirt arrived to the line together with Riccardo Zoidl (Team Felbermayr – Simplon Wels) and Pierpaolo Ficara (Amore & Vita – Selle SMP presented by FONDRIEST). After 3-man sprint, he finished that mountainous one-day event in 6th place.