The Russian Alexey Medvedev and the Swiss rider Katrin Leumann are the winners at the 13th Alpentour Trophy 2011. Johnny Cattaneo from Italy and Mary McConneloug dominate the final stage. With a fifth place today, last year’s race winner Uwe Hochenwarter secures the third position overall as best Austrian in the event.
On the fourth and last day of the Alpentour Trophy with over 50 km and 2,000 Hm the sun was out for the riders at the stage race in the Schladming-Dachstein-Region right from the start. And it was a welcome weather change for the 276 remaining riders after the previous wet and cool conditions. “I love the sun”, explained the Italian rider Johnny Cattaneo his “good legs” during today’s race compared to the previous stages. With a brilliant performance in the downhill sections the Full-Dynamix-rider was able to escape a four-man leader group, which had formed about half-way into the stage, and crossed the line as today’s stage winner with 2:14:19.
After about 20 seconds a trio arrived: Ilias Periklis (GRE), who did secure his hotly desired second overall place, Alexey Medvedev (RUS) and Kristian Hynek (CZE). “Today was hard for me, because I suffered from cramping during the first downhill. Therefore I’m even more satisfied with my third place in today’s stage”, said Medvedev. Even more content was the Russian with his adopted country Italy about his overall win. He paved the way for his victory with two stage wins on Thursday and Friday and in the end he won the race with a clear lead of 8:28 minutes. “It was an awesome race in a beautiful country with great people”, beamed the elite rider for Elettroveneta Corratec and admitted being a bit of an Austria-fan, hoping that his run of good luck here would go on for another week – for the European Marathon Championships in Kleinzell/Upper Austria.
Best Austrian: Uwe Hochenwarter, third
Huge was the jubilation of Austrian Uwe Hochenwarter, when he heard that he had saved his third position overall with only 2 seconds to spare. Said the winner from last year, “I owe that gap to my team mate Matthias Leisling. He rode the entire stage today for me.” After a disastrous race yesterday, the 24-year old was able to dig deep and stir his last remaining energy into action. Second place overall still went to Ilias Periklis – only 16 seconds had separated the two riders in the morning; in general, however, the Muskelkater Genesis-Racers is satisfied with his performance – especially because he was able to take out the Elite Team category with his team mates Matthias Leisling (GER) and Hannes Metzler (AUT).
The only female Austrian at the start line of the Alpentour Trophy was Christina Verhas (Trek Mountainbiker.at). With a consistent performance across all four race days the rider from Vienna secured herself the 6th position in the Elite category. The thrilling duel for the overall win happened in the Female Sport Category – only four seconds were in between the Dutch rider Wendy de Graaf and the German Hana Bergh and today’s race resulted in a surprising turn of events: The Netherlands took out the win, the German rider even had to surrender her second position to Italian Nadia Foutrero.
Swiss overall female winner
For the American Mary McConneloug her heart’s desire came true during the final stage of the Alpentour Trophy. After 2:46:19 she crossed the finish line as today’s fastest female rider. “I started conservatively in the undulating valley, found good pace makers during the long climb and was very mindful of my body and energy reserves. Only on the top of the Hauser Kaibling I realized that I could do it”, said the exceptionally gifted downhill rider. Content was also overall winner Katrin Leumann from Switzerland, who crossed the line after two first places and one third position today with half a minute gap as second. “Actually, the Alpentour Trophy was only the replacement event for a cancelled Tour de France for mountain bikers. But now I’m really glad that I came here. It was great fun and good training for my season highlights, the Cross Country European and World Championships”, concluded the incumbent European XC Champion.
Training races, overseas trips, team building
Also for Robert Novotny (CZE) the Alpentour Trophy was the ideal training ground for his upcoming races. The Masters winner deferred to the Italian Mauro Bettin only on day one (“didn’t want to risk too much at the downhill”) and now believes he is properly prepared for the next events of the Czech cup and the Zillertal Bike Challenge.
Others however, like the second-positioned at the Adventure Trophy, Roman Cech and Klaus Hannawald, or sport category overall winner Daniel Jung (ITA), used the four-day stage race in Schladming as preparation for the Transalp race. “This year it was harder than in 2010, because of the difficult Giglachsee-stage and because my competitors were much stronger. But I’ll be back in 2012 for sure”, said the rider from Southern Tyrol, who defended his lead in the sport category successfully, despite three mechanicals.
That they would like to come again confirmed also the much farther travelled riders from the U23-squad of the Australian Mountain Bike Association. Similar to the South Africans, who used their Europe-stint to promote a new chain lubricant, the Aussies were enthusiastic about the challenges of the Alpentour Trophy and enjoyed, as much as possible during the race stages, the scenic charms of the Schladming-Dachstein region (and apparently the culinary treat of an Austrian Schnitzel is on the menu tonight).
Concept catches on
And there is another detail that makes the stage race in Styria so different from other races in the world and which qualifies it for a mandatory entry into the calendars of the 300 participants from 24 countries: “It’s so comfy to be based in Schladming. No change of hotel, the family can come without any troubles, and you meet so many people”, said SK 3-rider Reini Woisetschläger.
The mixed teams of the Adventur Trophy category particularly enjoyed the social aspects of the stage race. “You always have someone by your side, who can support you, understands you and can share your impressions”, said Daniel Polman (CZE), who won this category together with his fellow country man Ondrej Mikule. After twice racing in Schladming individually he can compare his experiences directly and is sure, “In pairs the Alpentour Trophy is even more fun.”
And with all these enthusiastic statements also race organiser Gerhard Schönbacher is content with the 13th Alpentour Trophy: “With about 300 starters this year we achieved a rider record. The race was exciting and also the time trial was well received among the participants. Our special thanks go to all the athletes and their supporters, but of course also to all the sponsors, volunteers and everyone who made the Alpentour Trophy possible.”
RESULTS of stage 4 Alpentour Trophy, 5.6.2011
1. Johnny Cattaneo (ITA) Team Full-Dynamix 2:14:19
2. Ilias Periklis (GRE) Team Protek 2:14:38
3. Alexey Medvedev (RUS) Elettroveneta Corratec 2:14:41
4. Kristian Hynek (CZE) Ceska sporitelna–Specialized MTB team 2:14:43
5. Uwe Hochenwarter (AUT) Muskelkater Genesis Team 2:15:34
1. Mary McConneloug (USA) Team KENDA/Seven/No Tubes 2:46:19
2. Katrin Leumann (SUI) Ghost Factory Racing 2:46:48
3. Mirre Stallen (NED) Cub – Nutswerk MTB Team 2:52:09
1. Robert Novotny (CZE) Ceska sporitelna – Sweep cycling 2:28:17
2. Mauro Bettin (ITA) Team Full-Dymix 2 2:31:20
3. Markus Bless (SUI) Tower Sports-VC Eschenbach 2:31:54