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While Haller breaks a 6-year drought for the Austrian riders in their home tour by winning the final bunch sprint, Kennaugh finishes safely in the bunch to win the Tour of Austria overall

Photo: Katusha / Tim de Waele

DAMIANO CARUSO

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JACOPO GUARNIERI

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JAVIER MORENO BAZAN

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MARCO HALLER

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PETER KENNAUGH

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR OF AUSTRIA 

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13.07.2014 @ 18:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Marco Haller (Katusha) brought a 6-year drought for the home riders in the Tour of Austria to a close when he won the big bunch sprint in Vienna on the final day of the 8-stage race, holding off Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana) and Raymond Kreder (Garmin). Peter Kennaugh (Sky) finished safely in the bunch to win the race overall ahead of Javier Moreno (Movistar) and Damiano Caruso (Cannondale).

 

In 2008, Rene Haselbacher took a home victory in the Tour of Austria but since then no Austrian has been able to claim a stage win in the race. Today the drought was finally brought to an end when Marco Haller won the final stage of the race in a bunch sprint in Vienna.

 

Haller had already been close to victory twice as he finished third in both stages 2 and 4 and had made it clear that he intended to make amends in the prestigious sprint in the capital. He did so by a very narrow margin, just holding off Jacopo Guarnieri and Raymond Kreder in a close dash to the line.

 

After yesterday’s time trial, the sprinters were expected to come to the fore in the 122.8km stage from Podersdorf to Vienna. The stage was completely flat and ended with 10 laps of a city circuit in Vienna, making it a traditional and fast finish to a national tour.

 

Having been plagued by bad weather for most of the race, the stage got off under calm, cloudy, hot conditions that were perfect for a bike race. Unfortunately, Rick Zabel (BMC) had fallen sick and failed to sign in for the final stage.

 

There were a few attacks in the early part of the stage before a 5-rider group managed to take off. Dan Martin (Garmin), Marco Minnaard (Wanty), Jan Tratnik (Amplatz), Christoph Springer (Vorarlberg) and Patrick Bosman (Tirol) made up the day’s escape that was allowed to build up a 2.20 gap.

 

The Sky team of race leader Peter Kennaugh took control before they got some assistance from Katusha. Those two squads combined forces to keep the gap stable before they started to accelerate as they approached Vienna.

 

As they crossed the finish line for the first time – with Tratnik winning the intermediate sprint – the gap had come down to 1.10 and for the first several laps, the gap was kept stable around that mark. Bardiani had now joined in on the pace-setting and soon after Sky decided that they had had enough, leaving the work to Katusha and the Italian team.

 

While Minnaard and Bosman won the final two intermediate sprints, Springer fell off the pace, leaving just 4 riders to press on. With 5 laps to go, they were 1 minute ahead but now they started to lose ground.

 

Unfortunately, rain started to fall which prompted the organizers to take the time for the GC by the time the riders crossed the line for the penultimate time. As they did that, they brought back Bosman who had made a late attack to become the longest survivor from the break.

 

Sky had taken control in the finale but on the final lap, the sprint teams started to battle. In the end, it came down to the expected bunch sprint where Haller beat Guarnieri and Kreder.

 

Kennaugh finished safely in the bunch and so won the race overall while Javier Moreno and Damiano Caruso completed the podium. The Brit also won the points jersey, Maxim Belkov took the mountains jersey, Patrik Konrad (Gourmetfein) was best young rider and best Austrian and Movistar took a comfortable win in the teams classification.

 

Most of the riders in this race will now take a small break before continental racing in Europe resumes towards the end of the Tour de France, most notably with the Tour de Wallonie in Belgium.

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