Jan Hirt claimed an overall win at Tour of Austria. He finished 11th in the final stage which ended with a short climb, while Frederik Backaert (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) took the win.
The final stage was very hard and stressful. Not only because of the last climb, but also due to strong crosswind throughout the day. Other teams tried to take advantage of that and launched attacks. We stayed at the head of the bunch though to bring attackers back in. In the end, on the climb I attempted to pull away, but my legs were not strong enough to go clear and decided to react to other moves.
I’m very happy about this win and the teamwork. Despite the fact that we had very young roster here in Austria, everything worked out perfectly for us. My teammates and the staff were great and everyone worked really hard for that victory.
Jan Hirt approached the stage with over 1-minute advantage over 2nd Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) in general standings. The profile was mostly flat with one hill right after the start and a punchy uphill finish, paved with cobbles, to Kahlenberg in Wien.
The opening of the stage was very lively and CCC Sprandi Polkowice had to make sure that the composition of the breakaway works in their favor. A 6-man group was let go and it included Nick van der Lijke (Roompot Oranje Peloton), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Thomas Koep (Stölting), William Clarke (Drapac), Julien El Fares (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) and Jannik Steimle (Felbermayr – Simplon Wels). The latter two were not able to stay up front and eventually the breakaway of the day consisted of 4 riders. The maximum gap reached 4:45 .
The bunch was in the control the entire time, calculating the chase to catch the escapees with 4km remaining. This is where lone leader Koep got reeled in.
In the final climb the pace picked up, attacks were being launched and the main field split. Frederik Backaert (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) went off solo, while Jan Hirt remained calm and stayed in the chasing group, not far back. Belgian managed to hold on to take the win and Jan Hirt came in 11th (13 seconds behind).
By doing so Czech rider secured an overall win. Thanks to his outstanding performance in the mountains and exceptional work done by his teammates, he completed the 8-stage event with 1:17 advantage on Martin and 1:29 on Patrick Schelling (Team Vorarlberg).