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Having been part of an 11-rider breakaway, Sergent survives the selection on the Grossglockner before launching a solo attack to take the win; Kennaugh defends his lead

Photo: Sirotti












10.07.2014 @ 18:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jesse Sergent (Trek) used a combination of good climbing legs and excellent TT skills to take solo victory in today’s fifth stage of the Tour of Austria. Having been part of an early 11-rider breakaway, he survived the selection on the mighty Grossglockner before launching a powerful solo attack in the finale. Peter Kennaugh (Sky) sprinted to a top 10 result and defended his overall lead.


Jesse Sergent may be mostly known as a time trial specialist but today he proved that he is also a decent climber when he combined those skills to take a solo victory in stage 5 of the Tour of Austria. With the win, the Kiwi made up of some of the Trek disappointment after the American team has seen defending champion Riccardo Zoidl fall off the pace in the mountains.


Sergent joined an 11-rider breakaway early in the stage and dug deep on the Grossglockner, the highest mountain on the Tour of Austria, to keep up with the strongest climbers in the group. He then saved his energy for one final solo attack before time trialing his way to a fantastic victory.


The fifth stage was held on a 146.4km course from Matrei to St. Johann that included a heavy amount of climbing. After a flat opening, the riders tackled two category 2 climbs and the mighty Grossglockner at the midpoint before descending and following flat roads to the finish.


Like yesterday the riders took off in unpleasant weather condition and for most of the day, the raced under the rain and even faced 3-degree temperatures on the top of the Grossglockner. Rory Sutherland, Andreas Müller and Florian Schiplinger didn’t take the start.


The stage was expected to suit a breakaway and so it was a bit of a surprise to see than an 11-rider group got clear pretty early. Jesse Sergent, Jasha Sütterlin, Nicki Sörensen, Pavel Brutt, Sebastian Lander, Koldo Fernandez, Arman Kamyshev, Yohann Bagot, Kevin van Melsen, Andreas Hofer and Gregor Mühlberger were allowed to build a gap of 3.10.


While Bagot won the first sprint of the day, Bardiani started to chase as they had missed the move. They brought the gap down to 1.45 before giving up their efforts and instead the Sky team of race leader Peter Kennaugh took control. While Brutt won the first KOM sprint and Fernandez the second intermediate sprint, the escapees built a gap of 525 minutes and they started the Grossglockner with a solid advantage.


Hofer was dropped right from the bottom and soon after Bagot took off. Only Brutt could match his speed while Sergent and Mühlberger were their nearest chasers. While Cannondale joined Sky on the front of the peloton, Brutt fell back to the chasers while Bagot continued on his own.


Sergent managed to join Bagot and later Mühlberger also made the junction while Brutt fell further back. At the top, Mühlberger took maximum points while Bagot was first at the next summit that followed a few kilometres later.


Lander and Sørensen made the junction on the descent and after Bagot had won the final intermediate sprint, the BMC rider took off on his own. While the Dane fought hard to stay clear, the peloton was getting closer and had brought the gap down to 3 minutes.


Lander was brought back and moments later Sergent made his move. Going into time trial mode, he started to build a gap to his chasers that continued to attack each other.


Sergent held everybody off to take a solo win while Bagot escaped on his own to take second. The rest of the break was caught by the peloton and so Patrik Konrad could beat Damiano Caruso in a sprint for third.


Kennaugh finished 7th and so defended his 29-second lead over Caruso as he goes into tomorrow’s sixth stage of the race. Bringing the riders over three category 1 climbs, it is the final mountain stage of the race and with the final summit coming just 200m from the line, all is set for a big battle between the climbers.



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