Christoph Sauser has won the opening stage of the 2014 Protective BIKE Four Peaks which raced over 76.61 km and 2,281 metres in elevation gain from Leogang to Lofer. After 2:48.08,2 hours the defending champion edged out Markus Kaufmann and Kristian Hynek in a sprint finish.
The Swiss Specialized racer capitalised on a smart manoeuvre performed right before Lofer. “I knew the stage finish from last year and that you have to be in front in the very narrow streets. I’m happy that I was able to earn the Yellow Jersey as the level of the field is very high this year,” said Sauser.
The high level mentioned by the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist became obvious quickly over the course of the very fast stage. Especially Markus Kaufmann exhibited his talent in today’s three climbs. The Centurion Vaude racer floored it in the second ascent and not only earned 25 points in the best climber classification and the Red Polka Dot Jersey for the ‘Peak Hero of the Bayerischen Staatsforsten powered by fi’zi:k’, but also shook off pursuer after pursuer; except of Sauser and Hynek.
“We worked together very well. I wanted this Red Polka Dot Jersey so I pushed it in the second climb. Then we were able to break away,” explained Kaufmann who also forced the pace in the third ascent to Hundalm and thus earned the respect of his rivals.
“I think he was the strongest in the climbs,” analysed Kristian Hynek. The new team member of Topeak Ergon expects three more exciting days: “I guess there will be some tight battles, we’ll see how it goes.”
Karl Platt, who finished in 25th position today, might not play a major role in this year’s men’s classifier but the Team Bulls athlete took over the new Enduro-Challenge category and thus the Green Jersey for the ‘Speed Hero’.
In the women’s race, Petra Marchart-Robeischl of RC Union Eindruck Sarleinsbach was able to earn quite a comfortable advantage over her rivals. The mother of one reached Lofer in 3:29.03,8 hours and was thus more than four minutes faster than Cornelia Hug of CrazyVeloShop-Scott (3:33.18,8). Angela Parra Sierra of Seven Capital-Gallo rounded out the podium as third (3:39.05,4).
Full results can be read on Datasport.