Tour of Austria #1: Looking ahead to the first sprint opportunity

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While one part of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is fighting in the Tour de France, another part of the team started out Tour of Austria this Sunday afternoon.

The opening stage was a very short prologue of just 800 meters. However, despite its short distance, this definitely wasn’t an easy day. The riders were climbing all the way from the start to the finish in Graz with an average gradient of over 10 %. Furthermore, many riders also had to battle slippery roads on the steep slopes towards the top.

Mekseb Debesay (photo) finished as the team’s best rider on the stage, 18 seconds behind the winner Oscar Gatto (Astana). Debesay now sits in 51st place before tomorrow’s 193.8 km stage 2 into Vienna. With a flat finish, the stage is expected to end in a bunch sprint and here, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will put its faith in Ryan Gibbons. The young South African has had an impressive first season with the team, winning Tour de Langkawi overall and making Top10 no less than six times in Giro d’Italia.

Alex Sans Vega:
“This was a very explosive way to start the race. We lost a little more time than we expected with Mekseb [Debesay] and Ben [O’Connor]. However, much bigger time gaps will be made on the queen stage to Kitzbüheler Horn later in the race. Now, we just focus on tomorrow’s stage with Ryan [Gibbons] as it looks to be a very good chance for us”.