Transalp Stage 7: Trento to Arco – 53.6km and 2042m climbing
The Transalp 2016 ends today, and with it almost a thousand people go from facing the simple struggles of pushing bikes and bodies over the mountains back to the complexity of every day life. We will all take away different memories from the final stage, and the race overall, of trials and tribulations from the sublime to the absurd. But we will all remember where we were for this week in July 2016. And as the strain fades, we’ll all contemplate our sanity, and think about doing it all again.
Pernsteiner and Geismayr cap overall title with fifth stage win | Reiners and Trommer victorious in women’s race
Hermann Pernsteiner & Daniel Geismayr stamped their authority on the 2016 BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma, locking in this year’s title with their fifth stage win. Team Centurion Vaude 2 covered the soggy 53.6km from Trento to Arco in 2:44.10,6 hours, edging out overall second ranked Team Bulls 1 consisting of evergreen Karl Platt and Urs Huber, as well as third spot Johnny Cattaneo and Tony Longo of Wilier Force 1.
All told, the victorious Austrians spent 22h49m in the saddle to complete the total distance of 519km and 17,736 metres of climbing from Imst to Arco to bring home their career’s first Transalp title. By today’s finish, they had a gap of 16m35s on runners-up Platt and Huber. In doing so, Geismayr and Pernsteiner continued the success story of the Ravensburg-based squad, which already celebrated a title hatrick with Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess between 2013 and 2015. However, the dethroned champions had to settle for fourth overall this year with a deficit of almost half an hour on their teammates.
How the race unfolded
After five kilometres, Pernsteiner and Geismayr launched an attack in the climb to Bocca Vaiona, the last real mountain of the seven-day stage race, which none of their rivals was able to counter. After successfully breaking away, they were able to extend their lead, so as to maintain it on the demanding and slippy technical singletracks from Cavedine to Marocche. They crossed the line victorious in the final stage town, Arco, which hosted the finish of the world’s most popular MTB event for the first time in 19 years of Transalp racing.
“We gave it all in once more. When we entered Arco, we finally knew that we had done it. It’s an unbelievable feeling”, said Hermann Pernsteiner at the finishing line. His teammate Daniel Geismayr added: “We had a fantastic Transalp as well as a very good back-up team which had been victorious over the course of the last three years. That, combined with the great team support made it easy to just concentrate on mountain biking. Nevertheless, it was very hard but I think that we are well-deserved winners taking our five stage wins into account. I’m very happy to finally having been able to break the spell.”
First title for Reiners and Trommer
Thanks to their fourth stage win Sarah Reiners & Cemile Trommer have secured their career first Transalp title. Team Nutrixxion Focus RAPIRO, who had a slow start to the race week, rolled into Arco after 3h53m, also winning the final stage and the overall like the men’s winners, in a time of 32h30m. “We were getting better and better into racing mode. So we decided to invest all we had once again to bring home the title. I’m speechless that we finally made it,” said Cemile Trommer.
Defending master’s champs do it again
Just like 2015, Massimo Debertolis & Andreas Laner have once again maintained a clean sheet. By bringing home all seven stage wins Wilier Force 2 kept a tight grasp on their title in a time of 25h13m. The mixed title went – as expected – to Topeak Ergon Racing pros Sally Bigham and Ben Thomas, who needed 26h40m to cover the total distance. However, they came in second today behind of overall second ranked Team Herzlichst Zypern I with Silke Ulrich and Sascha Schwindling.
Grand master’s early leaders crowned
In the grand master category the title winners also finished the final stage as second best team. While Thomas Damm and Peter Vesel of Scott Fahrradladen Gudensberg claimed their fifth stage win, Hansjuerg Gerber and Daniel Annaheim of baumat/Bikeholiday.ch were able to defend a lead of 5m47s to crown themselves Transalp champions.
In the additional categories, the so far leading racers were also able to triumph: Igor Mauro Baretto prevailed in the MAXXIS Enduro Challenge, Manuel Zorn won the best climber category, the SIGMA Vertical Ride and Martin Frey wrapped things up as best U23 athlete.
You can find all results of stage seven, and the overall rankings here
Time for gelato
What a week! I came into this race thinking I knew what to expect and yet every day it has surprised me. In hindsight I would definitely have trained more and better so for me the climbing has been incredibly tough. Chris has been the perfect teammate in this respect helping me when I needed it and not getting upset when I shout at him when really I’m just frustrated with myself.
Whilst I suffered the climbs, it was worth it for the descents. I had heard the Transalp was a roadie race – anyone who thinks this needs to think again. There have been several really challenging downhills which were not only technical but tens of kilometres long. Chris and I are no great downhill riders, but our rise up the ranking has simply been through our ability to ride these trails. Today’s first descent will probably be the one I remember best. Slippy rock, mud (yes as a final treat for us Brits it rained) and a queue of people up ahead we were just about hanging on to enough traction to keep going. The trail was so physical that I actually blew, no energy, nada, on a descent!
Then finally I have to talk about the stage towns. Staying in the Transalp camp we have seen first hand the hospitality of the various locations. Best food – probably Trento, but although it seems like a year ago now, Imst was also very good. Best camp – Nauders, a big hall so we didn’t feel like we were sleeping on top of each other and hangers for drying kit – a big win! Emotional experience – Bormio, we were sleeping in the curling rink at the winter olympic venue and poor Chris was so unwell, it was all rather, well, emotional.
So that’s it. We’re done. It’s been crazy and awesome. Time for gelato!