Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and the rest of the peloton were in for a fast day on stage 1 of Tour of Austria. In the final sprint Youcef Reguigui finished in fifth place, while Ryan Gibbons crossed the line as number eight.
As soon as the flag dropped at the official start, multiple riders tried to get away. This made for a very fast start to the day and it took a while before five riders finally managed to establish a gap on the peloton. The quintet worked well together and the pack didn’t mind letting the gap grow to over five minutes.
With about 30 km to go, a crash occurred within the peloton. Mekseb Debesay was amongst the riders who went down but luckily, the strong Eritrean was able to continue. However, the crash caused the pack to split up into three groups. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had multiple riders in the first group. Both of the team’s sprinters, Reguigui and Gibbons, had made the cut and with the expected bunch sprint in Vienna, the chances of a top result looked good when the last rider from the breakaway got caught with three kilometers to go.
However, the final kilometers were very chaotic with several riders attacking. Gibbons were quick to follow the moves but the efforts left him empty when it all came down to the sprint. Jay Thomson did well to lead out Reguigui on the left side of the bunch for the fast Algerian to take fifth place, while Gibbons avoided a late crash and cruised to eight place. Elia Viviani (Italian National Team) took win in front of Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) moved into the overall lead of the race.
“I got a bit too excited and I spent all my energies so I couldn’t contest for the win. I’m very disappointed as I feel I had super legs today but it was my own fault, going with everything leading up to the sprint. I think tomorrow’s stage will be similar to today with a reduced group making it to the line. Hopefully, I won’t make the same mistake again”.