Leonie and I are making a hasty get away up the A10 towards Salzburg in rather patchy weather after I finished the last stage of the Tour de Kärnten an hour or so ago. Stage 6 was a 70 km road race with no major climbs but lots of small ups and downs. The race was neutralised for the first 15 km at least and then it started into the longest climb of the stage, a gradual 5%-ish ascent. Same story as usual, I was too far back and had to ride hard to bridge a gap that had opened up as the bunch fell apart. I ended up in the third group and we could see the next bunch not far ahead. We chased hard (I say we, but really I was mostly towed – although I was pulling as we caught up) and after some time on the roller coaster that was the route we caught the next bunch. We continued hammering for a while until we came across a railway line and the complete 1st bunch there waiting patiently (peeing on the side of the road) for the train to come. This was good for us although it also meant that the next bunch behind us caught up.
We headed directly into a short steep hill. My legs were not happy with this and I slid backwards off the back of the bunch. A bit of a shame. If I had just been a little further towards the front of the bunch I would have slid to the back of it and not off it. I was also expecting a larger climb later on that never came. Still luckily a few others had also fallen off including one really strong guy with tree trunks for legs. He spent the majority of the rest of the race towing us along. The rest of the course was just as rolly which made it good fun. The pace was on until a few kms before the end when everyone was suddenly extremely tired. We jostled for not-first-position until 500 m before the finish. I was nicely placed in not-first-position as one of the guys in front started his sprint. I jumped on the back and he lead me out nicely towards the finish line. I started my sprint within a comfortable distance from the finish to insure my weak legs wouldn’t fade embarrassingly before I crossed the line. It all worked nicely and I powered across the line in 1st place… ermm.. well first in our bunch, what did I say about sprinting for 50th place? Apparently we weren’t far at all behind the leaders with a gap of less than two minutes to the first bunch. Another good stage and a good end to a great tour.
Above: Before Stage 6 started. Unfortunately there aren’t any pictures of my glorious sprint across the finish line despite how glorious and impressive it was.
Tour de Kärnten Stage 6 – Time: 01:26:25.3 (official time), 02:05:49 (neutralised) Dst: 69.3 km Avg: 33.1km/h Max: 76.7km/h Ascent: 840 m Place: 40 (overall men), 19 (open men)