6/30/2013 - NEWS!

Seeldraeyers climbs to victory in Tour of Austria opener

Zoidl second, Dombrowski third


Belgian Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) won the 135km first stage of the 65th Tour of Austria from Innsbruck to the Kühtai. Second place on the stage and the mountains classification jersey were captured by Austrian national champion Riccardo Zoidl (Gourmetfein Simplon).

Immediately after the start in Innsbruck, a four-man breakaway group set off. The break formed in the first two of six laps around Kematen and Axams. Besides the two Austrians, Josef Benetseder (WSA), Stefan Praxmarer (Tirol Cycling Team), Florian Bissinger (Vorarlberg) and Antonio Parrinello (Androni) were also present. They built up a lead to over six minutes, but just before the 20km long final climb to Kühtal, they were caught and the race started again.

An exciting race began, the peleton got smaller and smaller on the final climb. Approximately six kilometers from the finish, about five men remained, and the Belgian Omega-Pro Dries Devenyns attacked.

Eight hundred meters from the finish the 27-year-old Seeldraeyers set an attack and made up eight seconds on Zoidl. Third place went to Sky's Joe Dombrowski.

"This morning, our team leader Alexander Vinokorov told me about Kessiakoff's Tour victory two years ago. So he created a lot of pressure," the Belgian stage winner joked at the finish.

"Zoidl was extremely strong, and I actually thought that he would win the stage. Just before the finish, I surprised with an attack and kept my lead to the finish."

The 25-year-old Zoidl was happy. "This second place is perhaps more than the victory. So tomorrow we can leave the work in the field to Astana. Standings in the second stage are important.Last year, Zoidl took the Kitzbühel Horn to 16th place, but this year I'm stronger. Last year, I was a part of a breakaway long time, which has required a lot of energy."

Seeldraeyers is the first man in yellow for this year's race while the American Dombrowski is the first best young (U25) rider.

Stage 2, a mountain stage toKitzbüheler Horn, will start in Innsbruck and finish 157km later. The Kitzbüheler Horn, at 1670m, is one of the toughest challenges in the tour.

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Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) wins stage 1 of the Tour of Austria
Photo: © Mario Stiehl

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