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Cycling: Ö-Tour: Hermans wins – Pernsteiner second

Cycling: Ö-Tour: Hermans wins - Pernsteiner second


Cycling: Ö-Tour: Hermans wins – Pernsteiner second

As expected, the final stage of the tour of Austria on Saturday did not change anything. The Belgian Ben Hermans triumphed at the 70th edition just ahead of Hermann Pernsteiner. Third place went to the Italian Dario Cataldo, who had tried a futile attack on Hermans on the way from Scheibbs to Wels.

However, the Belgian finally defended his lead on the section without any major mountain classifications. The stage victory on the 163.2 km section went to Giovanni Visconti in a wafer-thin decision. In the sprint of a five-man runaway group, the Italian ensured his third stage victory and the fifth for the dominant Pernsteiner team Bahrain-Merida.

“I don’t know what to say. I am very happy with this week and for my team,” Visconti cheered. The 35-year-old had already won in Fulpmes and Matrei.

Pernsteiner and the other overall favourites reached the finish line of the eighth leg in the main field at the same time. After eight days and 1,172 km, the Lower Austrian only missed 18 seconds on the tour victory. Pernsteiner crashed on Friday on the Sonntagberg leg, injuring his left shoulder and one finger.

But he had not been able to endanger Hermans, who was successful at the Kitzbüheler Horn, even before that on the Grossglockner and in the Styrian hills.

“I’m super happy to finish. The tour was incredible for us, I have to thank my team mates,” emphasized Pernsteiner. He felt his damaged shoulder especially in the morning. “But as soon as the starting shot was fired, I was able to suppress it well. It fit relatively well.”

The Neo World Tour pro, who surprisingly finished sixth on his debut in 2016, fulfilled the high expectations after his already strong season. “I’m super pleased. The podium was the goal I achieved. Congratulations to Hermans, he was the strongest this week. You have to accept that,” said the lightweight climber from the hunchbacked world.

But of course he wants to make up for his narrowly missed victory as soon as possible. “I still have a few years ahead of me, maybe I can win again.”

Second best Austrian was Riccardo Zoidl in fifth place. The overall winner of 2013 was more than one minute behind on the horn. After that, he couldn’t find a cure for Hermans either.

Zoidl and Pernsteiner, who wanted to stand in for the defending champion Stefan Denifl, who had a concussion, did not manage to win the stage, just like the numerous other Austrians. Lukas Pöstlberger clinched his last victory of the day so far in Innsbruck in 2015.

Meanwhile, Hermans celebrated his greatest success so far on a round trip. In 2015, at that time still in the service of the first division racing team BMC, he had already been second overall on the Austrian Tour. This time the 32-year-old fought off all attacks with the help of his team Israel Cycling Academy after the narrow horn victory over Pernsteiner.

“I’m really happy, today it wasn’t a surprise anymore, but at the Kitzbüheler Horn it was almost more emotional. I am glad that we defended it at the Grossglockner and on the Sonntagberg”, said the winner of this year’s red jersey for the first time.

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