With an early breakaway up the road, sweeping up the remaining bonus sprint points available, Koch had already secured victory in the Points Classification by the time he reached the bottom of the brutal final 7.3-kilometer climb up to Kitzbüheler Horn, which has an average gradient of 12 percent and pitched of 23 percent in places.
However, while Koch’s work was done at this point, the race was only starting for Zoidl who still had Víctor de la Parte with him when a group of 17 riders, including all the pre-race favorites, swept up the last rider from the breakaway and prepared to battle on the steep slopes up to the finish line.
Zoidl, who had made his intentions clear at the start of the race, launched a last bid for a stage win and overall victory, attacking an impressive attack off the front of the group to go solo with just a handful of kilometers, of the 116.7-kilometer stage, remaining.
His gutsy effort was eventually pulled back but that didn’t stop the Austrian rider from digging deep to finish with the best result possible and in the end, he crossed the line in eighth place behind stage winner Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo), and just ahead of his teammate de la Parte who finished ninth.
Although it wasn’t the result the 2013 overall winner was looking for on the General Classification, finishing seventh overall behind Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy), Zoidl still stepped onto the podium after securing the top prize in the Best Austrian Classification.
De la Parte, another former winner of the Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria, also finished inside the top ten overall, securing 10th in his first race back following a tough Giro d’Italia campaign.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“I am really happy to win this jersey. The plan was to get a breakaway to go away early and therefore the points would be won by riders who didn’t threaten us. That happened, which was nice, so I was able to focus on helping Ricci be at the front of the peloton when we hit the final climb.”
“It feels great to win my first leader’s jersey and it is a nice bonus to have after a hard week. I made some good results here but I missed out on the important victory. However, to win the Points Classification still feels special for me.”
“I feel good after today’s race. This was the first time that I have felt really good on this climb and I wanted to try something to finish on the podium in the GC and maybe even win the stage. I made my move in the second part of the climb and I felt good but I just missed a little bit of power in the final kilometer, I think I went just one kilometer to early. Of course, I would have liked a better result but overall I am happy and the team did a super job to bring me into position. It was a good show on the final climb and while, we didn’t get anything from it, I can take away a lot of positives with how I felt on the climb.”
Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria
Stage 6: Kitzbühel > Kitzbüheler Horn (116.7km)
Top 3: 1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo) 2. Patrick Schelling (Team Vorarlberg Santic) 3. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Team Dimension Data)
CCC Team Top 3: 8. Riccardo Zoidl 9 Víctor de la Parte 24. Łukasz Owsian
Top 3 on GC: 1. Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) 2. Eduardo Sepúlveda (Movistar Team) 3. Stefan De Bod (Team Dimension Data)
CCC Team Top 3 on GC: 7. Riccardo Zoidl 10. Víctor de la Parte 20. Łukasz Owsian