It is always a good feeling if you have something in mind to do and at the end you succeed with that but in cycling it is not always the case. Honestly speaking it is very rare that this happens as the sport is so complex and there are so many things that can take an influence. But today, there was exactly that day when the things come together and at the end you reach your goal.
After Patrick Lechner’s 6th place yesterday the team had a clear mission. On today’s schedule: 133 hard kilometers, with a steep climb of the first category 7 kilometers to the finish line. It should be the expected hard day that gave already a signal who the contenders for the GC are and how they felt.
The goal for the guys from Stradalli – BIKE AID was clear: keeping the captain Nikodemus Holler in a good position before the climb that he can put all his focus on delivering his best performance without any obstacles or the risk of a crash. Set and done, the guys protected him so well and especially Joschka Beck worked hard as a tank to bring his man in the final climb. Now it was all on Niko to show the performance that he delivered throughout the last couple of weeks. And what he did was amazing! He won the KOM and took the jersey for best climber, but when he turned around he saw just 4 other guys who were able to follow his wheel.
And now the direction was clear: full gas to the finish, all what they had! 7 Kilometers almost all downhill and just a slight uphill finish. It was the Brit James Gullen who risked everything and set the final attack with 500 meters to go when he made a gap to the other fellows.
At the end he won the stage by 2 seconds and Nikodemus finished 3rd after the Kiwi Aaron Gate. Also in the same time, former Ràs winner and favorite for the GC Clemens Frankhauser from Austrian Proteam “Tirol” who took the overall lead and the yellow jersey.
Niko is ranking 7th now in the GC with 10 seconds back on Frankhauser. A good position for the upcoming days!