Felix Grossschartner took 5th place on the hardest stage of Tour of Austria, making another step towards the overall podium.
Info: Stage 5, 7th of July, Kitzbühel – Alpendorf, 212,8km
Course: mountainous (Felbertauern – 14km, avg. 6,4%, cat. 1; Iselsber – 7km, 5,2%, cat. 2; Hochtor – 17,4km, 8,3%, cat. HC; Fuscher Thorl – 1,9km, 8,4%, cat. 3)
How it unfolded
The breakaway of the day was established on cat. 1 climb Felbertauern. This was where 5 riders went away and the peloton broke in pieces. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac), Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Pieter Weening (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij), Riccardo Zoidl (Team Felbermayr – Simplon Wels) were part of the move, gaining nearly 3 minutes over reduced, to just 60 men, peloton. The main field included six “riders in orange” and among them there was 5th in GC, Felix Grossschartner.
Weening, O’Connor and Zoidl dropped their fellow escapees and took on the biggest climb of the race in the front. Few kilometers before the top of the highest surfaced mountain pass road in Austria – Hochtor, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) bridged across, making it a 4-man group.
Weening won the most points, at HC GPM, ahead of Zoidl, while Grossschartner reached the top in 11-man chasing group, 1:30 behind.
In the descent Lopez and O’Connor distanced Weening and Zoidl, but soon they were all brought back in. Zoidl and O’Connor refused to give up though and went away again, with less than 30km remaining. Their relentless effort resulted in holding off the bunch and fighting for the stage win. Dimension Data rider came off that battle victorious.
Felix Grossschartner had to dig deep in the final kilometers, since his 4th place (after Rein Taaramae’s loses) was in jeopardy. With 3km to go the leading duo had 2 minutes in hand and that was exactly the gap, that Austrian had over Australian in GC. At the end of the day Grossschartner came in in 5th, 1:48 behind, after attacking from the small group late in the stage, and was able to move up to 4th place in general standings. Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) retained the leader jersey. CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider sits 1:06 behind and is only 6 seconds away from the podium.