Jan Hirt retained his overall lead and Maciej Paterski finished 6th on Stage 5 of Tour of Austria.
First day of defending the yellow jersey started with lots of breakaway attempts and very high pace. In the first hour of racing the average speed was around 50km/h so it was impossible to established an escape. CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were riding at the head of the bunch, making sure that nobody who is a GC threat breaks away and that there is at least one team’s representative in case of a big leading group.
The breakaway was formed with over 70 into the stage, when Rémy Di Gregorio (Marseille 13 KTM), Yoann Paillot (Marseille 13 KTM), Adrien Petit (Cofidis), Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Quentin Jauregui (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Clement Koretzky (Team Vorarlberg) pulled away. Their maximum advantage reached 4 minutes, but the peloton, led by the “orange squad” alongside BMC Racing and IAM Cycling, started to chase early. The escapees were brought back in when it was 60 kilometers left.
Grischa Janorschke (Team Vorarlberg), Lukas Pöstlberger (Tirol) and Johann Van Zyl (MTN – Qhubeka) were part of the next move. When the gap was at 2:10 the pace in the main group picked up and the riders in the lead couldn’t be sure to survive all the way to the line.
Final kilometers were going slightly uphill, so very hard finish was expected. Especially for those who were in the front. Van Zyl took off with 3 kilometers to go, while Pöstlberger and Janorschke got caught. MTN-Qhubeka cyclist managed to hold off the peloton and claimed the victory. Davide Tanner (IAM Cycling) was the strongest from the bunch and Maciej Paterski was the first CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider, to cross the line – in 6th place.
Jan Hirt arrived at the finish in the main group, in 30th, with the same time as his biggest GC rivals. Czech protected his overall lead and will wear the yellow jersey on tomorrow’s mountain stage.
We are very satisfied with the way the stage unfolded. We completed the plan in 100% – we retained the lead and we saved some energy before the next, very demanding stage. Today other teams helped us and took on the responsibility of leading the peloton – Sławomir Błaszczyk, sporting director of CCC Sprandi Polkowice said.