The four day stage race attracted again a high-profile field of riders, including Olympic Champions (Bart Brentjens, NED), World- (Ralph Näf, SUI) and European Champions (Karin Leumann, SUI), as well as World Cup racers (Mary McConneloug, USA), stage race experts (Luis Leao Pinto, POR), as well as last year’s winner (Uwe Hochenwarter, AUT).
And it was the Austrian who quickly set the pace when a lead group formed right after the start this morning, heading towards the first peak and today’s mountain stage at the Türlwald-Hut at over 1600Hm. It had been a tough first climb, but he had adjusted well to the wet conditions, said the third Elite finisher back at the event centre in Schladming. “At the downhill we then lost the Russian rider [Alexey Medvedev] and couldn’t catch up any more”, added the World Cup racer who is keen to defend his victory from last year, supported by his Muskelkater Genesis Team mates Matthias Leisling (5th) and Hannes Metzler (11th).
Alexey Medvedev (RUS) won today’s stage in a time of 3:04:13 ahead of Kristian Hynek (CZE), who came across the finish line on the main square of Schladming 1:25 min later. “I was fighting for positions with Uwe Hochenwarter, whilst being chased by Matthias [Leisling] and Ralf Näf”, said the Czech rider who was happy about his second place. The Russian rider was able to keep his lead for the remaining race and didn’t let a crash after the second feed zone defeat him. “I was able to keep up a persistent performance, even though I felt my muscles tighten up after the fall”, the Elettroveneta Corratec racer admitted.
In the Elite Female field, part-time kindergarden teacher Karin Leumann (SUI) confirmed her top form on the bike, coming across the finish line in 3:47:54 as the fastest woman of the day ahead of US World Cup rider Mary Conneloug (3:55:30) and Mirre Stallen (NED).
Newcomers and heroes
With both young sprint athletes (Daniel Federspiel, AUT) lining up next to experienced racers (Mauro Bettin, ITA), elite road racers (Annika Schirmer, AUT) and Crocodile Trophy-heroes (Monique Zeldenrust, NED), also highly adorned representatives of other disciplines are on parade in Schladming. The list of “celebrities” includes Snowboard Double-World Champion Benjamin Karl from Austria. The first time MTB stage racer is racing in a team with Mario Färberböck in the Adventure Trophy category.
“I was a bit nervous, because I wanted to ride well”, said the Wings for life racer back across the finish line. “I really enjoyed the track, rode all the ascents and the downhill sections were awesome, but let’s see if I’ll manage to mount my bike in the morning”, he added grinning.
Adventure- and E-Bike-Trophy
This year the stage race in the well-known ski region Schladming-Dachstein, Ramsau, Reiteralm and Haus/Ennstal has attracted more Adventure Trophy riders than ever. Those racers have to complete the race in a team of two and have to finish each stage together. Therefore they can support each other to combat mechanical difficulties and personal lows throughout the race.
And in a separate E-Bike-Trophy riders are pedalling up to the daily mountain stage under power where today they enjoyed the culinary and musical treats and saw the athletes up close, before dashing back down the mountain into Schladming.
The Alpentour Trophy will run until Sunday, 5 June 2011 with three challenging stages to for a total of 220km and 8,800Hm, including an individual time trial onto the Planai (Schafalm) on the third day. All other stages will finish where they started: right on the main square in Schladming.
1. Alexey Medvedev / RUS Elettroveneta Corratec 3:04:13
2. Kristian Hynek / CZE Ceska sporitelna – Sweep cycling 3:05:38
3. Uwe Hochenwarter / AUT Muskelkater Genesis Team 3:06:13
4. Ralf Näf / SUI Multivan Merida Biking Team 3:06:46
5. Matthias Leisling / GER Muskalkater Genesis Team 3:07:44
1. Karin Leumann / SUI 3:47:54
2. Mary McConneloug / USA Team KENDA/Seven/NoTubes 3:55:30
3. Mirre Stallen / NED Cube – Nutswerk MTB Team 4:00:04
Link to full starter list: http://www.mtbfestival.at/at/alpentour6_teilnehmer.html
Link to full results: http://www.mtbfestival.at/at/alpentour5_ergebnis.html