Two weeks before to the start of the third Protective BIKE Four Peaks there are more and more racers emerging from the field of participants who could win. However, with Christoph Sauser having confirmed his start, one thing is for sure: if you want to clinch the Four Peaks you have to beat the strong Swiss.
The 39-year-old marathon specialist enters the event with three Trans Germany and two Four Peaks wins over the last five years and is aiming for the title hat-trick. In addition, the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist will compete in his career’s last stage race from June 17th thru June 20th as Sauser had announced to retire after the next world championships which will take place one week after the Four Peaks.
Sauser is highly motivated for the four-day event: “The Four Peaks are the dress rehearsal for the world champs. That’s why I want to defend my title even more.”
Especially as he has a soft spot for stage races: “I love stage racing! Winning one of those is worth much more than a 4hr event where all racers go home straight after. You have to be a perfect athlete to win the Four Peaks. This is why I’m so proud of my five titles [including three Trans Germany wins]!”
Nevertheless, the top favourite for another win will face some strong competition of riders who would love to thwart his plans of a title threepeat.
Well-experienced Team Bulls athletes Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt who won the Green Jersey for the MAXXIS Enduro Challenge called ‘Speed Hero’ as most technical riders last year, are ready to give it a go.
The field also features the likes of Texpa-Simplon team members Matthias Leisling, who finished in a strong seventh position last year as well as Andreas Kleiber and Christian Schneidawind. In addition, Austria’s David Schoeggl and Manuel Pliem from Rad.Sport.Szene Ausseerland who both will meet Sauser at the world champs one week later again are also hoping for some good results.
So does the Craft-Rocky Mountain trio Jochen Weisenseel and his Austrian colleagues Manuel Weissenbacher and Guido Thaler.
Former South African national team member Ben Melt Swanepoel and Austria’s cross country specialist Uwe Hochenwarter are also two racers which are part of the circle of title aspirants.
Battle of three in women’s category
On the women’s side of things and as defending champion Petra Marchart-Robeischl from Austria won’t compete in 2015, two mountain bikers take over centre stage who couldn’t bring home the win in 2014.
But last year’s second and third ranked racers Cornelia Hug of Swiss team Crazy Velo Shop Scott and Craft-Rocky Mountain rider Regina Genser have to have an eye on Dutch Sanne van Paassen who starts for Specialized and also aims for the top spot of the podium.
This year’s route
This year, four days packed with mountain bike action on a brand new stage design provide everything from June 17 thru 20, 2015, the field of participants could ask for.
After things kick off on the opening stage around Bad Kleinkirchheim, the route leads the field via Hermagor and Nassfeld Troepolach to Weissensee. In total, racers have to master 270.83 km and 8,861 metres in elevation gain through the federal state of Carinthia.