Karl Platt (GER) and Thomas Dietsch (FRA) have clinched the seventh stage of the 2011 CRAFT BIKE TRANSALP powered by NISSAN, which led today from San Martino di Castrozza (ITA) to Trento (ITA). Team Bulls rewarded themselves for a strong race over the course of the 120 kilometers and 2,598 meters in elevation with their first stage win this year (4:00:40.6). Swiss overall leaders Urs Huber and Konny Looser of Team Stöckli followed as second (4:00:41.2) only 0.6 seconds behind and thus defended their lead of 3:14 minutes over the German-French pairing in the overall ranking – with only one last stage to come.
Third place went to Hannes Genze (GER) and Andreas Kugler (SUI) of Multivan Merida Biking, who were the best in a sprint of three teams for the last podium spot (4:04:20.6), thus edging off Germans Markus Kaufmann and Rupert Palmberger of Centurion-Vaude as well as Massimo De Bertolis and Johann Pallhuber of Silmax Autopolar Cannondale, who were able to recapture the third overall rank.
However, regarding the final ranking, Urs Huber and Konny Looser were the ones to make a huge step direction first Transalp title. The duo which was formed this year was the only one being able to keep up the high pace set by the Transalp experienced members of Team Bulls in the 20 kilometers long climb up to Passo Cinque Croci (2,017m).
Platt and Dietsch tried to pull clear several times but to no effect. “We noticed pretty fast that they couldn’t break away,” said Urs Huber, who is now close to bringing home the coveted Transalp title at his very first participation.
“That is – of course – an unbelievable feeling although I’m a little bit afraid of technical defects or other problems. But if it’s running as normal as over the last days, it should work out,” explained the pro based in Joni. “The title would be the perfect start for us as a team. We could go towards the future with confidence.”
Team Bulls raise their hats
However, the two dominant mountain bikers of the 14th Transalp shouldn’t feel too safe. Other than the big road cycling stage events there is no gentlemen’s agreement or “non-aggression pact” for the final stage of the eight days lasting race across the main chain of the Alps to Riva del Garda.
Nevertheless, seven-time Transalp champion Karl Platt doesn’t believe in wonders: “Of course you aren’t done until you rolled over the finish line. But they (Huber and Looser) look good. So, I guess they will bring home victory.”
And the father of three also delivered some decent arguments for his forecast. “It was very hard today. We tried to attack several times but noticed pretty quickly that it just doesn’t add up. So we rode the rest of the course together.” Platt also explained the close finish: “There was no sense for a sprint coming down fast the downhill. So, Team Stöckli decided to yield and dedicate the spot of honor to us.”
Mountain Heroes lay foundation for first Transalp crown
After they had lost some of their advantage yesterday, Martina Miessgang (AUT) and Katrin Neumann (GER) laid foundation to their first Transalp title by winning their fourth stage; despite the fact that both didn’t have the rub of the green.
While Miessgang was complaining about a broken derailleur, it was one disaster after the other for Neumann. “My chain broke and I pedaled into nothing thus flying straight over the handle bar,” the German said, who was lined through bruises and grazes.
Even so, the Mountain Heroes rolled over the final timekeeping, which was placed some six kilometers outside of Trento, in first position (5:13:09.7). The leaders of the women’s ranking thus were 2:38 minutes faster than their main pursuers of Felt Ötztal X-Bionic/Rotwild, Natascha Binder (GER) and Danièle Troesch (FRA), who followed as runner-ups (5:15:48.2). Switzerland’s Manuela Jenny and Susanne Tanner of Velorado Racing Team rounded out the podium as third (5:27:35.3).
In the ranking, the Mountain Heroes are now close to a major coup having a lead of almost five minutes over their strongest rivals. “It was our goal to place on the podium once and ride one day in Pink. We never thought that we could be that close to winning the race,” Miessgang said.
Centurion-Vaude master duo with second consecutive stage win
Just like yesterday, Udo Bölts and Andreas Strobel were in an incredible shape again and secured another stage win in the master classifier (4:15:43.6). With a lead of more than five minutes, the German pairing of Centurion-Vaude thus relegated the Blue Leaderjerseys worn by Factory Cube pros Heinz Zörweg and Silvio Wieltschnig to the runner-up position (4:20:54.4).
However, the two Austrian still have a comfortable advantage in the master ranking of more than seven minutes over Bölts and Strobel.
Italian’s Claudio Segata and Claudio Pellegrino of Trento Iii came in as third fastest team (4:21:56.2).
Centurion-Vaude mixed also victorious
In the mixed category, the top-ranked duos followed suit to their pendants in the elite class. After the leaders in the Orange Jerseys, Pia Sundstedt (FIN) and Carsten Bresser (GER) of Craft-Rocky Mountain, had been riding together with Milena Landtwing (SUI) and Martin Kiechle over the whole course of the way, both also yielded to the Centurion-Vaude riders, who thus claimed their second stage win at this year’s Transalp.
German’s Daniela Storch and Patrick Müller of Kröning Scott Generation Team were able to celebrate their first podium finish as third (4:54:35.6).
Senior Master leaders again a force
Italian stallions Silvano Janes and Walter Platzgummer of Trient-Südtirol have also nailed the seventh of so far seven possible stage wins in the time of 4:18:46.0 hours.
Both absolutely dominating leaders of the category for the teams with a total age of more than 100 years were trailed by Erich Pross and Erwin Dietrich of Zweirad Janger Simplon (4:37:29.5) as well as Walter Perkmann (ITA) and Georg Niggl (GER) of Craft And Friends (5:03:35.7) as second and third best senior master duos.
Preview Stage 8: Trento (ITA) – Riva del Garda (ITA)
The final act is a true cross country course and on 75 kilometers easy to ride.
From the start, a climb leads up to Monte Bondone, where the Legendary Charly Gaul, a cycling race dedicated to a former cyclist from Luxembourg, takes place. However, the mountain bikers won’t use the street but will ride some very steep gravel and forest roads up to Malga Brigolina.
Thereafter, a downhill leads into Valle dei Laghi and thus to many little mountain lakes which are located North of Lake Garda.