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"I am happy with fifth place because I didn't really expect to finish so close. It's been a long time since I have been able to do a race for myself, so I kind of surprised myself," Hermans says

Photo: Sirotti

BEN HERMANS

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TOUR OF AUSTRIA 

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07.07.2014 @ 12:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Having recently done the Giro d'Italia in support of Cadel Evans, Ben Hermans is known as the loyal teammate but in this week's Tour of Austria he has a rare chance to ride for himself. Yesterday he got the race off to a fantastic start when he finished fifth in the first stage.

 

Ben Hermans of the BMC Racing Team rode to a season-best fifth place on Sunday's summit finish on the opening stage of the Tour of Austria. Spanning 182 kilometers from Tulln, the peloton crested two categorized climbs before the mountain-top finish in Sonntagberg.


Five riders enjoyed a more than five-minute lead before the last of them was caught 14 km from the finish. British national road champion Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) soloed out of a select group to take the win 11 seconds ahead of Oliver Zaugg (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 18 seconds ahead of Javier Moreno (Movistar Team). Hermans arrived three seconds later while teammate Yannick Eijssen was 21st, 1:26 back of Kennaugh.

After the inclusion of time bonuses, Hermans stands fifth, 31 seconds off the lead of Kennaugh, with seven stages to go.

"I was happy I could climb into the top 10 and could be there to do a result," he said. "Kennaugh attacked at 1.5 km to go. I just held on my tempo and climbed in third position until 400 meters to go, where I got passed by two other riders. I am happy with fifth place because I didn't really expect to finish so close. It's been a long time since I have been able to do a race for myself, so I kind of surprised myself.

 

"I am a little disappointed about the 21 seconds lost. But we will try to do some good results in some stages before thinking about the GC (general classification). It is a good day for my confidence anyway. I hope I can stay on this level for the rest of the week."

"We went in with the plan of Yannick and Ben trying to have a good finish on the climb," sports director Jackson Stewart said. "I knew the climb from last year and it was a short, hard climb. We are really happy with how Ben rode. It is nice to see him come out strong and at least get us top 10 on the stage and something to shoot for in the general classification."

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