Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Mekseb Debesay tried his luck on the queen stage of Tour of Austria with an impressive attack on the final climb. Daniel Teklehaimanot finished in 14th place.
With a total distance of just 82.7 km, today’s stage was the shortest one of the race but definitely not the easiest one. A break got away early on the stage but the pack never let the gap grow to more than a couple of minutes.
Therefore, it was no surprise that the peloton caught the front riders just as they started on the 7.6 km towards the top of Kitzbüheler Horn. With an average gradient of staggering 12 %, only the best climbers in the race had a chance to fight for glory. The pre-stage favorite Miguel Ángel Lopez (Astana) attacked early on the climb and he quickly established a gap on the others. Debesay later put in a strong attack and bridged across to the Colombian but despite putting up a big fight, the Eritrean had to let go with just 4 km left to go.
Lopez went on to win the stage, while the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders did well to pace themselves on the sleep slopes towards the finishing line. Teklehaimanot was 14th, while Debesay took 19th place, just ahead of his teammates Ben O’Connor and Igor Antón. Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) finished second on the stage and moved into the overall lead. Teklehaimanot is now 6th, while O’Connor sits in 12th place in the general classification.
Alex Sans Vega – Sports director:
“The plan was for Mekseb [Debesay] to follow the early moves and then for Daniel [Teklehaimanot] and Ben [O’Connor] to keep their own pace on the climb. Unfortunately, they suffered a little bit more than we expected but they really put in a big effort. Tomorrow is another super hard stage with over 3000 meters of climbing. Anything can still happen in the race”.