It took several days, but the home side finally scored: Austria put stage victory in the bag, courtesy of René Haselbacher and his abilities. The Astana man from Wien, second place finisher at Wolfsberg 24 hours earlier, tried again, with better results: he took line honours in Thursday's undulating stage of 179.7 kilometres from Wiener Neustadt to Bad Vöslau, with three small (third category) climbs in the second half of the parcours.
After several earlier attacks, none of which took more than 25" out of the attentive field, were quickly chased down, Haselbacher made the winning breakaway around km. 35, alongside Lampre's Emanuele Bindi. The pairing built up a substantial lead of eleven minutes on the peloton, that was too hesitant initially, and when Team Columbia put in some kind of chase it was just too late. The two escapees, neither of whom was a GC threat, held on to an advantage of 02 minutes and 33 seconds as they crossed the finish line, with the 30-year-old Austrian beating the Italian in the two-man sprint in order to clinch his first ever success in this race after staying clear for almost 145 kilometres. "(Team) Columbian" Andre Greipel couldn't take his second stage victory in a row but got some (little) solace in winning the bunch sprint for third place ahead of young(er) teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Haselbacher, runner-up at Volta ao Algarve in Portugal the past season, and overall winner of the Rheinland-Pfalz Tour in Germany, said that "There was perfect agreement between Bindi and myself; we even exchanged our bottles. But up on the last mountain, a few kilometres from the finish, I attacked in order to test his legs. I wasn't able to break away from him but realized that he was very tired. So he just had no chance in the sprint to the finish." Next Sunday Haselbacher will marry his girlfriend Suzanne from South Africa, they will have a baby in August: "Private things are going very well, and I'm very pleased that I also managed to win a Tour of Austria stage."
Albeit the top overall competitors basically saved legs - as much as they could in such hot weather and with the pack riding at 52 kph in the first hour - for Saturday's crucial ITT of 26.2 km. around Podersdorf/Neusiedlersee, something worthy of mention occurred on the GC side of things: yellow jersey holder Thomas Rohregger (Elk Haus) was more careful than many of his challengers in the last mile and gained four more seconds on them, extending his advantage over Ukraine's Ruslan Pidgornyy (LPR) up to 13", with Team CSC Chris Anker Sörensen (Denmark) currently sitting in third place 31" back, and two seconds clear of Astana's danger man Vladimir Gusev. Haselbacher's strong performance also put him atop the Points ranking while Caruso and Astana continue to dominate the KOM and Teams classifications respectively.
And now, let the clock do the talk! Hopefully (for Rohregger) not in the same way as it did twelve months ago: the Podersdorf ITT costed him the victory in the 2007 edition, when he lost the stage and the overall to Stijn Devolder of Discovery Channel, but also some 90 seconds to Ruslan Pidgornyy, a time gap that would easily turn the Ukrainian into race winner under current circumstances ...
Stage 5 (Wiener Neustadt to Bad Vöslau, 179.7 km): Top 20 Places
1. HASELBACHER, René (Aut - ASTANA) - 04h22'35" (15")
2. BINDI, Emanuele (Ita - LAMPRE) - s.t. (11")
3. GREIPEL, André (Ger - TEAM COLUMBIA) - at 02'33 (08")
4. BOASSON HAGEN, Edvald (Nor - TEAM COLUMBIA) - s.t.
5. NAPOLITANO, Danilo (Ita - LAMPRE) - s.t.
6. VIGANŇ, Davide (Ita - QUICK STEP) - s.t.
7. HONDO, Danilo (Ger - DIQUIGIOVANN-ANDRONI) - s.t.
8. WROLICH, Peter (Aut - GEROLSTEINER) - s.t.
9. GATTO, Oscar (Ita - GEROLSTEINER) - s.t.
10. LEEZER, Tom (Hol - RABOBANK) - s.t.
11. SEROV, Alexander (Rus - TINKOFF) - s.t.
12. FERRARI, Roberto (Ita - TEAM LPR BRAKES) - s.t.
13. RIEBENBAUER, Werner (Aut - RC ARBÖ) - s.t.
14. WALKER, William (Aus - RABOBANK) - s.t.
15. KORFF, André (Ger - TEAM VOLKSBANK) - s.t.
16. SCHWAGER, Sebastian (Ger - TEAM MILRAM) - s.t.
17. FINETTO, Mauro (Ita - CSF-NAVIGARE) - s.t.
18. KNOPF, Michael (Aut - ARBÖ-KTM) - s.t.
19. HORRILLO MUNOZ, Pedro (Spa - RABOBANK) - s.t.
20. RADOCHLA, Steffen (Ger - ELK HAUS-SIMPLON) - s.t.
* Complete stage results here (pdf file)
60th Tour of Austria - GC after Stage 4: Top 20 Places
1. ROHREGGER, Thomas (Aut - ELK HAUS-SIMPLON) - 23h40'10"
2. PIDGORNYY, Ruslan (Ukr - TEAM LPR BRAKES) - at 13"
3. SÖRENSEN, Chris Anker (Den - TEAM CSC) - at 31"
4. GUSEV, Vladimir (Rus - ASTANA) - at 33"
5. CARUSO, Giampaolo (Ita - FLAMINIA-BOSSINI) - at 01'35"
6. REBELLIN, Davide (Ita - GEROLSTEINER) - at 02'20"
7. PEDRAZA, Walter (Col - TINKOFF) - at 02'51"
8. BRAJKOVIC, Janez (Slo - ASTANA) - at 03'02"
9. GOLCER, Jure (Slo - TEAM LPR BRAKES) - at 03'29"
10. MOSER, Leonardo (Ita - DIQUIGIOVANNI-ANDRONI) - at 03'32"
11. TRAMPUSCH, Gerhard (Aut - ELK HAUS-SIMPLON) - at 04'19"
12. BARRY, Michael (Can - TEAM COLUMBIA) - at 04'44"
13. FREI, Thomas (Swi - ASTANA) - at 05'05"
14. STALDER, Florian (Swi - TEAM VOLKSBANK) - at 05'05"
15. PICHLER, Michael (Aut - RC ARBÖ) - at 05'13"
16. LLOYD, Matthew (Aus - SILENCE-LOTTO) - at 05'38"
17. SESTILI, Luigi (Ita - FLAMINIA-BOSSINI) - at 05'51"
18. SERRANO GONZALES, Ricardo (Spa - TINKOFF) - at 05'53"
19. SIMEONI, Filippo (Ita - FLAMINIA-BOSSINI) - at 08'13"
20. GESINK, Robert (Hol - RABOBANK) - at 08'28"
* Full GC after Stage 5 here (pdf file)
Points: 1. HASELBACHER, René (Aut - ASTANA) - 34 p.
(Full standings here - pdf file)
Mountains: 1. CARUSO, Giampaolo (Ita - FLAMINIA-BOSSINI) - 57 p.
* (Full standings here - pdf file)
Teams: 1. ASTANA - 71h06'33"
* (Full standings here - pdf file)
* 60th Tour of Austria - Prologue & Stage 1
* 60th Tour of Austria - Stage 2
* 60th Tour of Austria - Stage 3
* 60th Tour of Austria - Stage 4