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With a powerful sprint, Moser took his first win for more than 2 years when he held off Tanner and Venturini in the bunch sprint on the final stage of the Tour of Austria; de la Parte took the overall victory

Photo: Sirotti










12.07.2015 @ 15:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Once described as one of the biggest cycling talents, Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Garmin) finally broke a long victory drought when he won the reduced bunch sprint on the final stage of the Tour of Austria. The Italian held off David Tanner (IAM) and Clement Venturini (Cofidis) while Victor de la Parte (Vorarlberg) finished safely in the bunch to take the overall victory.


Few riders have had the same kind of amazing start to his professional career as Moreno Moser. In his first year in the pro ranks, he won Trofeo Laiguegli, Rund um den Finanzplatz and two stages and the overall at the Tour de Pologne and one year later he triumphed in Strade Bianche.


Since then nothing has gone to plan for the talented Italian who has barely finished in the top 10 on a single occasion since that marvelous win on the gravel roads. However, he has shown signs of improvement in 2015 and today things finally came together when he won the final stage of the Tour of Austria.


The hilly course with two category 1 climbs was perfect for attacks and the stage turned out to be a very animated one. Several different breaks were created throughout the day and at no point it looked like a bunch sprint would be the end scenario.


At one point, the main group was whittled down to just 14 riders but as the final part was a lot easier, a regrouping took place. There were still constant attacks though and in the end, it seemed that a strong trio of Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale), Egor Silin (Katusha) and Linus Gerdemann (Cult) would ride away with the win.


However, the chase got organized and with less than 3km to go, it came back together for a reduced bunch sprint. Here Moser proved that he has a strong turn of speed as he beat previous stage winner David Tanner and Clement Venturini in a close battle.


Victor de la Parte found himself isolated at one point but managed to respond to the attacks from his key rivals and so became a hugely surprising winner of the biggest race for his Vorarlberg team. He had a comfortable winning margin of 1.21 over Ben Hermans (BMC) while Jan Hirt (CCC) was third at 1.32.


Jan Tratnik (Amplatz) won the points competition while Felix Grossschartner (Felbermayr) was the best climber. BMC took a comfortable win in the teams classification.


With the Tour of Austria done and dusted, the Tour de France gets full attention for the next week. The next major stage race to start in Europe is the Tour de Wallonie which kicks off on July 25.


A mountainous stage

After yesterday’s flat stage, it was back into the mountains for the final stage which brought the riders over 184.3km from Innsbruck to Bregenz. The stage included a category 3 climb and two category 1 climbs in the first two thirds but the final 65km were mainly descending or flat, with just a small uncategorized rise 10km from the finish.

As it has been the case throughout the race it was a nice sunny day when the riders gathered for their final ride of the 9-day race. Many expected it to be a day for a breakaway and so it was no surprise that it was an aggressive and fast start with lots of attacks.


9 riders take off

Felix Grosschartner (Felbermayr) was among the most active and he was part of the four-rider break that looked like it had a chance. He was joined by Lukas Pötslberger (Tirol) and riders from Ag2r and MTN-Qhubeka but that group was brought back after 10km of racing.


An 11-rider group was the next promising move but as they hit the first climb at the 25km mark, the peloton was back together. Here seven riders, including Amael Moinard (BMC), Julien El Fares (Marseille), Matej Mohoric (Cannondale) managed to escape before Chris Anker Sørensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Quentin Jauregui (Ag2r) bridged a 1.30 gap to make it 9 riders in the lead.


KOM points for El Fares

El Fares won the first KOM sprint to move closer to the lead in the mountains competition before the escapees again started to cooperate. At the 50km mark, they had extended their advantage to 2.20 and here Sørensen won the first intermediate sprint.


The gap went out to 3.45, meaning that Sørensen had moved into the virtual second place on GC, but as they hit the first category 1 climb, the gap came down. At the 58km mark, the escapees were only 2.20 ahead.


The break is caught

Felbermayr knew that Grosschartner’s mountains jersey was under threat and so they started to chase hard. They whittled the main group down to just 12 riders, including de la Parte, Hirt and Hermans, and they were now only one minute behind the front group.


The front group had been whittled down to seven riders while another two riders joined the chasers to make it a 14-rider group. Those two groups merged at the 67km mark where another few riders bridged the gap to make it 25 riders in the lead. El Fares was first over the top to take over the virtual lead in the mountains competition.


A new break takes off

As soon as they hit easier terrain, the door was open for attacks out of the small group and at the 70km mark, a 7-rider break was formed. Moinard and Mohoric were again part of the action and they were joined by Hubert Dupont (Ag2r), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Larry Warbasse (IAM) and Stephan Rabitsch (Felbermayr).


Hirt crashed on the descent but he managed to rejoin the peloton which was 45 seconds behind the leaders at the 98km mark. Several riders rejoined the group and it was Roompot who hit the front to lead the chase behind the seven escapees.


A third break gets up the road

There was no cooperation in the front group and so they were brought back at the 110km mark. That opened the door for new attacks as they hit the final climb of the race where Manuel Senni (BMC), Warbasse, Ben King (Cannondale), Grossschartner and Jesus Hernandez (Tinkoff-Saxo) escaped and quickly built an advantage of 50 seconds.


Linus Gerdemann (Cult) did an impressive job to bridge the gap to the leaders who had an advantage of 1.10 as they approached the summit of the climb. Grossschartner managed to win the final KOM sprint to secure the victory in the mountains competition.


A new break is formed

With 60km to go, the gap had gone out to 1.30 and 10km later the escapees had increased it to 1.50. Meanwhile, the attacking continued in the peloton and 10 riders, including Pierre-Roger Latour (Ag2r), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale), Marco Marcato (Wanty), Mohoric and Egor Silin (Katusha) bridged the gap.


Latour won the final intermediate sprint of the race but there was no cooperation in the front group which was just 55 seconds ahead with 35km to go. Hence, they started to attack each other and it was Slagter, Silin, Gerdemann, Marcato , Grossschartner and Lemoine who ultimately escaped.


The break is caught

As the escapees hit the uncategorized climb in the finale, the selection started when Slagter attacked. Silin reacted immediately before Gerdemann managed to rejoin the pair. With 6km to go, those tree riders had an advantage of 20 seconds over their three chasers and 45 seconds over the peloton.


The chasers were caught while the front group worked hard to maintain a 40-second advantage with 4km to go. However, they were caught close to the finish and in the end it came down to a bunch sprint.



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