Your Saturday Daily News Digest

by Neal Rogers

July 8, 2017

In today’s Daily News Digest: Marcel Kittel narrowly three-peats on Stage 7 of Tour de France; O’Connor solos to victory on Stage 5 of Tour of Austria, Denifl retains GC lead; Lucinda Brand takes solo win at Giro Rosa despite late-race crash; Winder take a second stage win at Tour de Feminin; Italian Claudia Cretti in critical condition with brain injury in Giro Rosa crash; MTB world champion Nino Schurter invites Peter Sagan to race off-road; Meet Philippa York: Robert Millar first high-profile cyclist to go public about gender transition; Armstrong co-defendants reach $158K settlement in federal case; Video: Heartbroken fan creates ‘Since U Sagan’; Video: Inside the Quick-Step Floors bus on Stage 6, Marcel Kittel’s second stage win; Video: Orica-Scott’s Backstage Pass, Tour de France Stage 7; Video: GoPro’s Tour de France Stage 7 highlights

O’Connor solos to victory on Stage 5 of Tour of Austria, Denifl retains GC lead

by Neal Rogers

Australian Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data) took a solo victory in St. Johann-Alpenbdorf on Stage 5 of Tour of Austria. Austria’s Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) finished in 10th place to keep the yellow jersey, while O’Connor moved up to fifth place overall.

With 213km and more than 3000 meters of climbing to overcome, Stage 5 was one of the hardest in this year’s race. O’Connor attacked on the first of four categorized climbs. The 21-year-old Australian jumped away from the peloton to join a small group of riders at the front. The group began to split up as it reached the HC climb Hochtor, as only two riders could follow O’Connor’s pace. Stage 4 winner Miguel Ángel Lopez (Astana) attacked from the peloton and managed to bridge across, ultimately leaving only him and O’Connor at the front.

With 40km to go, O’Connor put in yet another attack to go solo. However, as the chase group behind him grew in size, he didn’t get far. With 20 km left to go, he attacked once again, together with Riccardo Zoidl (Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels). The duo quickly opened up a gap and left the chase group behind for good.

As the two riders took on the final kilometer, the road kicked up again. Soon after O’Connor put in his final attack, soloing away to take his first victory for Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

“This has been an absolutely magical stage for me,” O’Connor said. “It was super long and super tough. I actually had a small crash at the start but I managed to get back on my bike right away. I then saw a chance and bridged across to the front group. We worked well together and later Lopez joined us. Then, in the headwind, we were able to sit in and save a little energy. In the final part of the stage, I managed to slip away with Zoidl since the group wasn’t very organized. As we started on the final climb, I knew Zoidl was suffering, and since I felt really good myself, I took my chance with 600 meters to go and just went full gas. I managed to drop him and take the win. This is really incredible.”