Third time lucky for Tour de France stage 16 winner Patrick Konrad: 'I told myself this time I would be the first to go for the win'

The 29-year-old has switched his focus from the general classification and now has his first-ever Grand Tour victory

Patrick Konrad
(Image credit: Getty)

Try, try and try again. For Patrick Konrad, it's a maxim that holds relevance, with the Austrian finally claiming a maiden Tour de France victory from a breakaway at the third attempt.

The Bora-hansgrohe rider had been part of the race's break twice before Tuesday's stage from Andorra back into France, but finished seventh on stage 7 and second on stage 14.

On stage 16, however, the Austrian champion was determined to right his wrongs and be bold, adamant that he had to take an opportunity to ride to what would prove to be his first ever professional victory outside of his home country.

A relentless day of climbing hadn't managed to split a large breakaway, but on the penultimate ascent of Col de Portet-d'Aspet, Konrad made his solo move and quickly distanced his fellow escapees.

It was a planned decision borne out of frustration of the past events. "This was my third time in the break and Bauke Mollema [on stage 14] and Matej Mahorič [on stage 7]  both went really early and we were waiting for the line," the 29-year-old said.

"I said to myself if I am in the break one more time, I will be the first to make a decision to go for the stage win.

"I knew I had the legs for it. The reasons the long-range attacks have been so successful is because always there is a big fight for the break.

"Everyone is tired, everyone is on the limit. If you attack in the right moment, you surprise the guys.

"If you have a gap of 30 seconds it can be super-hard for them to close the gap from behind. Sometimes it's even super-hard from 10 seconds.

"You have to go with your rhythm you can bring it to the finish line."

He is the second rider from his team to win a stage at this year's Tour, following in the wheels of Nils Politt who triumphed on stage 12. Wilco Kelderman, the team's GC leader, is sixth, 44 seconds adrift of a podium spot.

Konrad had been a solid if not spectacular GC rider in recent years, riding to seventh and eighth on GC in previous Giros d'Italia, third in the 2019 Tour de Suisse and a handful more top-10s overall.

But the Austrian, who indicated he was in good form with four top-10 finishes at the Critérium du Dauphiné, came to a recent agreement with his team that he would no longer target the overall.

"From the beginning I was here to put my focus on stages to try and go for the win," he said.

"It's my first big win as a pro, my first win in the WorldTour and it's at the Tour de France. 

"Last year the focus was always the GC but now I have completely changed my ambitions.

"Austria is not the biggest country and now I am a guy who has won a stage in the Tour. This makes me really proud."

Konrad will lead Austria'a three-man team at the Tokyo Olympics in the road race, and although he isn't yet thinking about the race in detail, he has thrown his hat in the ring as a potential winner.

"After this victory I have shown everybody that I can make a top result there," he added. "But now I am not thinking about the Olympics. We are here with Wilco in the GC and my job will be done in Paris."

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.