On the second stage of Transalp, race leaders Karl Platt and the Swiss Bull Urs Huber have come out victorious of another finish sprint of the best four male teams at this year’s Craft BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma defending their small lead successfully. Team Bulls 1 finished the second stage from Saalfelden/Leogang to Mittersill (64.34 km, 2,405 m) after 3:04.31,9 hours.
Defending champions Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess came in second (+ 0,4 sec). The two racers of Centurion-Vaude 1 are still sitting in fourth position of the overall ranking behind of today’s third ranked Topeak Ergon Racing athletes (+ 1,5 sec) Alban Lakata (AUT) and Kristian Hynek (CZE) and their Austrian team mates Hermann Pernsteiner and Daniel Geismayr (+ 1,7 sec).
However, over the course of the stage it didn’t look like the second day of the Alps crossing classic would be decided in a photo finish again.
Both Centurion-Vaude duos and Topeak Ergon launched their attacks on the yellow jerseys in the climbs up to Seidlalm and Medalscharte as expected but Team Bulls was able to catch up quickly again in the technical sections and the long descent to Uttendorf.
“We were hoping for a better outcome. Our plan was to break away from Team Bulls. It worked out in the climbs but when we reached the pushing section at Medalscharte we got a bit lost and they caught up with us again,” admitted Markus Kaufmann who had finished in sixth position at the last marathon world championships.
While the title defender wants to keep the pressure high on the leading duo over the course of the next days to “constantly torture Team Bulls in the ascents and maybe strike on a stage which suits our qualities”, Urs Huber was happy with a perfect race:
“I guess we nailed it. We were able to close the gaps pretty quickly and therefore should have saved quite a bit of energy.”
Plus: in the hectic final for the stage win from the centre of Mittersill to the finish at the Nationalparkzentrum the two racers from the Cologne based squad launched the final sprint from the front and displayed their qualities.
“We are happy, that’s for sure”, explained Huber, but “the top four teams are very close together in the overall rankings. I guess it will be a tight battle until the end.”
Especially as Huber’s teammate Karl Platt suffered twice today: “But I hope he will be fit again over the course of the next days.”
Women’s leaders go one better
Just like the leaders of the men’s category the best female team of this year’s Craft BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma was able to go one better, too, albeit the overall classification isn’t as close as on the men’s side of things.
Sally Bigham and Christina Kollmann of Topeak Ergon Racing mastered the shortest stage of this year’s route in 3:55.22,1 and therefore 15 minutes faster than German Ann-Katrin Hellstern and Bettina Uhlig of BQ Cycling/Sportpark Freiburg (4:10.55,7) who are already having a gap of more than 40 minutes on the pink jerseys whilst sitting on the runner-up position of the overall standings.
Swiss Barbara Liardet and Stéphanie Gutknecht of Rochat Cycles/Cyclone Sport rounded out today’s podium as third (4:25.14,6).
In all other three categories the top ranked teams were able to extend their lead by bringing home back-to-back wins.
Italy’s very own Massimo de Bertolis and Andreas Laner of Wilier Force Squadra Corse 1 won the masters category (total age of 80+) in 3:23.19,9
while Swiss racers Hansjuerg Gerber and Baerti Bucher of Bikeholiday.ch/BiXS clinched the stage in the grand masters classification for the teams with a total age of 100+ (3:36.33,0).
In the mixed classification Silke Schmidt and Sascha Schwindling of Team Herzlichst Zypern 1 celebrated again (3:41.37,8) ahead of US mountain bikers Mary McConneloug and Michael Broderick of Kenda-Intense (3:49.00,5) who both are still competing on the cross country World Cup tour.
Tomorrow will bring the queen’s stage of the 2015 Craft BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma. The field will have to master a total distance of 118.29 km and 3,577 metres of climbing on their way from Mittersill via the Felbertauern pass and Lienz to Sillian. The start is scheduled for 8 AM CET.