First Endurance rider Michael Albasini (Columbia-HTC) was crowned the overall winner in the Tour of Austria on Sunday, while teammate Andre Greipel added to the team’s celebrations by blasting to victory in the final stage. Albasini moved into the lead thanks to his victory in the second day’s racing to the mountain top finish of Kitzbüheler Horn, then held the yellow jersey all the way to Sunday’s final stage from Podersdorf am Neusielder See to Vienna. Greipel was equally successful in the points competition, winning the green jersey outright thanks to his three stage victories.
“I’m very proud of this win because it’s the first stage race victory for Columbia-HTC this season, and it was a real team effort, too” Albasini said. “We only had six riders for a lot of the race, and that made it difficult to control at times, but we managed to do it. I’m very grateful to my teammates for all the hard work they did. Over the last two years I’ve worked hard to improve my climbing and that has helped me win here. It’s very encouraging. Time trialling remains my biggest weak point, but I managed to get through the race’s time trial and then after that I could begin to think about celebrating overall. Now I’ll go on to do the Tour of Poland and the Tour of Spain, as part of my build-up for the World Championships.”
Greipel’s stage victory on Sunday was his 13th win of the 2009 season, just one fewer than his 2008 total of 14. “We only got back the last break of the day with a kilometre to go and there were some tram lines 200 metres from the finish, but I felt really good and sure of my chances. It wasn’t too hard a win. We’d done ten laps of the finishing circuit so I knew what I had to face, and I had a good lead-out as usual. My team did a great job. Now I’ll go on to the Tour of Saxony in Germany and try and get some more wins there.”
After Sunday’s double success, Columbia-HTC’s total of victories in 2009 has climbed to 56, the highest tally of wins for any professional team this season.
NEW OPTYGENHP COMING SOON-
First Endurance develops and tests new product prototypes is by getting them in the hands of their sponsored athletes. Input and trials from these athletes allow the First Endurance research and development team to continue to push the limits of endurance. Team Astana & Columbia-HTC have been testing a new OptygenHP prototype since early February. First Endurance plans to launch the new, upgraded version of OptygenHP later this year.