By clinching their second stage at the 16th Craft BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma Markus Kaufmann (GER) and Jochen Kaess (GER) were able to extend their lead in the overall ranking. Centurion-Vaude 1 killed the previous record on the 73.28 km and 3,137 metres stage from Alleghe to San Martino di Castrozza in 3:26:16.2 hours beating the 2011 stage winning time of 3:33:48.5.
“Our advantage is the ability to keep a constant speed over the course of the whole stage. We attacked in the last climb and went for it. It’s nice to have extended the lead. But I would never call it a preliminary decision. It’s still quite a distance to Riva and a lot of things can happen”, said the reigning German Marathon Mountain Bike Champion Markus Kaufmann.
Topeak Ergon Racing came in as second ranked team with a deficit of 2:40 minutes on the Yellow Jerseys. Alban Lakata (AUT) and Robert Mennen (GER) couldn’t keep the wheels of the Transalp leaders in the last climb to the highest peak of the day (Baita Segantini) anymore after they had been on a long break away with them. As a result, the two title defenders are already 3:01 minutes behind in the overall ranking with three more stages to come. But in 2012 they gained the jerseys working from a long way back. With three days to go, the race is far from over.
However, they still sit comfortably in second position while the battle for third overall heated up dramatically when Team Bulls kicked off their race with problems right away. Karl Platt (GER) couldn’t follow anymore the pace of the other top teams. “It never did hurt that much in 13 Transalp years before. The first climb killed me. From there on, I just fed the parking meter with one coin after the other,” described the seven-time Transalp winner his blackest day in the stage race of all times.
“Fortunately I found my rhythm again,” added Platt who finished the stage together with team mate Urs Huber (SUI) 12:32 minutes behind of the winners as sixth ranked team thus defending their third rank in the standings with a mere four seconds.
Fourth ranked BiXS-Wheeler iXS Pro Team Thomas Stoll (SUI) and Konny Looser (SUI) were able to reduce their deficit as third classified team of the day again after they had done so yesterday, too, by winning stage four.
Nothing changes in women category
Borghild Loevset (NOR) and Sally Bigham (GBR) are still winning everything. Topeak Ergon Racing secured their fifth stage win in 4:27:35.1 hours.
Cornelia Hug (SUI) and Andrea Faessler (SUI) of Crazy Velo Shop Scott (4:31:44.6) as well as Katrin Schwing (GER) and Lisa Pleyer (AUT) of Cancer Rehab St. Veit (4:39:41.4) rounded out the podium as second and third like the days before.
Fifth consecutive win for Boelts and Bresser
The leaders of the master classification Udo Boelts (GER) and Carsten Bresser (GER) are still living the good life in the category for the teams with a combined age of more than 80 years. Team Rocky Mountain /Centurion triumphed in 3:50:36.6 hours today. Some eight minutes later, Claudio Segata (ITA) and Piergorgio Dellagiacoma (ITA) claimed the second spot on the podium for the first time (3:58:21.3). However, Team Tecno MTB did capitalize on technical problems their main rivals were facing today. Team Jeep Scott with Johann Grasegger (GER) and Andreas Laner (ITA) were thrown back by a broken pedal in the first ascent but managed to still cross the finish line in third position (4:08:05.7).
Mountain Heroes extend lead in mixed classification
Earning their fourth stage win in a row, Kristin Aamodt (NOR) and Daniel Jung (ITA) were able to cement their lead in the mixed category. Arriving in San Martino di Castrozza after 4:25:14.6 hours the Mountain Heroes relegated Bettina Uhlig (GER) and Mathias Nothegger (AUT) of Team www.1place.com/Wheeler ixs (4:28:59.1) as well as Annette Griner (GER) and Peter Reiche (GER) of black tusk Racing by toMotion (4:30:00.0) to second and third respectively.
The racing was tight, and the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com pairing of Imogen Smith and Mike Blewitt battled in for 7th, after a great start but a hard middle section on the demanding hike-a-bike climb.
Grand master leader keep clean sheet
Walter Platzgummer (ITA) and Gilberto Perini (ITA) of Naturns Scott-Torbado have raced their rivals into the ground again today claiming their fifth stage in 4:06:53.9 hours. The second rank went to Baerti Bucher (SUI) and Doug Brown (RSA) of Bixs nine-twelve-sixtyone (4:22:29.1) with Georg Niggl (GER) and Felix Weese (GER) taking third (4:37:14.8). Team Craft and Friends thus also impressively underlined that it’s the third strongest force in the grand master category now after Corner Cycle having been forced to pull out yesterday.
Tomorrow’s sixth stage leads over 104.04 km and 2,781 metres in elevation gain from San Martino di Castrozza into the new stage town of Crespano del Grappa kicking off at 8 AM CET.
Full results are available via Datasport.com