Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka put in an impressive performance on stage 2 of Tour of Austria. The team took the front on the final kilometers to set up Mekseb Debesay for a late attack, which almost turned out victorious.
Early on the stage, five riders managed to get away and establish a gap of three minutes on the peloton. With three undulating laps to finish off the stage, many riders felt they had a chance to fight for glory today. Therefore, the breakaway never got too much of a gap.
With just under 20 km to go, the peloton caught the last rider from the early break. This instantly prompted new riders to try their luck but as Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka went to the front to set a high pace, nobody proved successful in getting a gap.
Yesterday, Debesay lost important time in the general classification as he crashed and finished nearly two minutes after the winner. Today, the Eritrean climber was eager to gain back time and just before the top of the last climb, he put in a powerful attack together with three other riders. The quartet quickly gained 30 seconds on the peloton and that proved to be enough to make it all the way. In the sprint, Debesay came very close to take the win but Tom Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac) narrowly beat him on the line. Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) is still leading the race overall, while Ben O’Connor moved up to 10th place after today’s stage.
Alex Sans Vega – sports director:
“The team was really good today. Everybody did a great job. We weren’t quite sure how it would go on the undulating laps. One of our plans was to attack with Mekseb [Debesay] and is exactly what happened. From the top of the last climb to the finishing line, it was downhill the whole way so we knew it would be possible to make it with a gap of just a few seconds. In the sprint, Mekseb almost managed to beat Slagter. It was really an impressive performance by him”.