Calle Friberg (SWE, Scott Skoda) has clinched the second stage of the 2015 Protective BIKE Four Peaks, which led via 91.05km and 1,969m from Bad Klein Kirchheim to Hermagor, in a photo finish. The Swedish racer crossed the finish line after 3:12.38,2 hours and only a blink of the eye ahead of defending champion Christoph Sauser (SUI, Specialized Racing) and Uwe Hochenwarter (AUT, Bikearena Obertraun).
Juri Ragnoli (ITA) of Team Scott defended the yellow jersey coming in with a gap of five tenth securing fourth. In addition, he also kept the lead in the ‘Speed Hero’ classification whilst sitting in second position in the ‘Peak Hero’ category right behind of best climber Hochenwarter. Matthias Leisling (Texpa-Simplon, +4,1sec) was once again the best ranked German athlete finishing in fifth position.
Leisling was also the only one in the field who caused a little bit of a sensation on a stage which saw the top racers pedalling in a moderate pace due to the topography (many short climbs, long flat sections). After the descent from Bergfried to Drautal the athlete from Bad Toelz was some 15 seconds ahead of the leading group of 15 men but was caught again soon again.
“I didn’t attack. I just didn’t like the slacking off of the rest and therefore decided to pedal my own speed,” said Leisling.
But the sooner the field came to the finish, the leading group picked up more and more speed again. As a result, only ten guys entered the MAXXIS Enduro Challenge side by side. Five of them were able to break away just before the end of the stage which finally got decided in a photo finish won by Friberg.
“Actually, my legs were really tired but in the end, the racing guy came out again. It was very close. It’s nice that I won because it doesn’t happen very often. I’m very happy,” explained the former pro in the finish area. Friberg still sits in fourth position of the overall ranking right behind of Ragnoli, Sauser and Hochenwarter.
Van Paassen extends lead in women category
In the women’s category, Sanne van Paassen (NED) of Specialized was able to celebrate a back-to-back win (3:46.17,8) impressively cementing her claim on the 2015 Four Peaks title.
The Dutch racer relegated Angelika Tazreiter (AUT, 3:47.46,1) of SV Kruenberg as well as Cornelia Hug (SUI, 3:48.33,5) of Crazy Velo Shop Scott – like in the overall classifier – to second and third, respectively.
New leader in masters category
In the category for the 40+ year old men, former cycling pro Udo Boelts (GER) not only secured the stage win in 3:15.59.2 but also took over the lead in the masters category. The Craft-Rocky Mountain racer however capitalised on two technical problems former leader Anton Warter (AUT) had to deal with and costed the KTM Rad.Sport.Szene Ausseerland athlete 15 minutes today.
In the senior masters category (50+ men), Heinz Zoerweg (AUT, 3:28.21,5) of KTM Rad.Sport.Szene Ausseerland was once again unbeatable.
Winter sport athletes doing fine
Both prominent winter sport athletes Benjamin Karl (AUT) and Erik Lesser . (GER) did well again today.
Karl, a four-time snowboard world champion who earned his career’s second Olympic medal in Sotschi last year came in as 29th ranked athlete of the elite men category while Lesser, the 2014 Olympic biathlon silver medallist (20km) finished in 110th position.
While Karl won’t continue tomorrow in order to prepare for his first ever Tour Transalp, Lesser will line up at 9 AM CET again to tackle the third stage of the four-day event which will lead over 59.26km and 2,421m from Hermagor to Nassfeld/Troepolach.
All results are available online.