Koch was in an ideal position when the sprint was launched and looked strong in the closing meters of stage one in Austria and while a messy fight for the line saw him edged out of position slightly, the German rider was still able to secure fourth behind eventual winner, Carlos Barbero (Movistar Team).
The day’s early seven-rider breakaway was able to open up an advantage of almost four minutes in the first 40 kilometers, of the 138.8-kilometer course, but with the road soon starting to rise towards the finish town of Freistadt, the peloton regained control of the race.
The gap was falling steadily heading into the second half of the day and by the time the peloton reached the first of three ascents of a short and punchy 600-meter long climb, which quickly led into the start of three local laps, it was sitting at just over one minutes 30 seconds.
As the bell rang to mark the start of the final 15.6-kilometer long circuit only Scott Davies (Team Dimension Data) remained out at the front of the race, one minute ahead of the chasing bunch which eventually made the catch the final ascent of the climb.
From there, Łukasz Owsian played an important role for CCC Team covering the late attacks that started to fly off the front of the peloton while, behind Koch, Zoidl and the rest of the team sat well-positioned ahead of the chaotic finish.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“It was a pretty messy finish. We knew that the downhill would be really dangerous but as a team, we managed the situation well and were on the front here with Łukasz covering the moves. The other guys did a great job at this point to keep Riccardo and me in a good position. Then, it was like being in a washing machine in the final kilometer but in the end, I managed it well thanks to the team. After the final corner, I was blocked a little and pushed into the barrier but I was able to recover and I am quite happy with my result.”
“Tomorrow looks like it could be another day for me to try something and I feel good so, I will definitely give it my best shot if the opportunity is there.”
“There was some really great teamwork from the guys today and while the stage started in bad weather, it cleared up towards the finish and my feelings were quite good again. The circuit was actually really hard and I thought about attacking on the last lap but you could see that Movistar Team was really trying to force the bunch sprint. On each climb, my legs were good and if I continue to feel better each day, it’s going to be a good week.”
Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria
Stage one: Grieskirchen > Freistadt (138.8km)
Top 3: 1. Carlos Barbero (Movistar Team) 2. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team) 3. Letten Emils Liepins (Wallonie Bruxelles)
CCC Team Top 3: 4. Jonas Koch 24. Łukasz Owsian Víctor de la Parte