Related Event: Alpen Tour Trophy
Today brought a complete shake-up in the overall top rankings of the Alpentour Trophy: the lead group around yesterday’s winner Porro with Mensi, Pernsteiner, Lakata and a good dozen more elite riders takes a wrong turn and looses valuable time ahead of the second climb. Tony Longo, last year’s overall winner, claims today’s stage two minutes ahead of the German Jochen Käß and Fabian Rabensteiner from South Tyrol and the three are also taking over the overall top three positions. In the women’s, Christina Kollmann increases her overall lead, winning today’s stage ahead of Karen Brouwer from the Netherlands and the British racer Sharon Laws.
The Queen Stage of the Alpentour Trophy is on tomorrow’s menu, but the real test of endurance was today’s marathon from Schladming via the Hochwurzen mountain. The infamous stage is 59km long and has close to 3000 metres of elevation via the Ursprung Alp and past the Giglach Lakes, which are located 2000m above Schladming. Two massive climbs and wet conditions because of the rain from previous days and snow fields had to be endured, as well as steep descents and the “Horrow Meadow”, a swampy section which challenges the legs one last time just before the finish.
The more than 450 participants looked like they had mentally prepared themselves for the physical pains of today’s race and maybe that was precisely the reason for a lack in concentration among the lead group, which made them miss a turn and lose the way. The Austrians Lakata and Pernsteiner were obviously disappointed about their overall positions eight and nine after two stages.
The Italian Tony Longo had been on the chase from the start said the German Jochen Käß who had been following the Italian racer. Ahead of the second climb to the Giglach Lakes he explained, they suddenly couldn’t see the lead group ahead of them anymore and kept pushing on, managing to keep the lead until the finish.
The Italian Longo was content with his result, especially the friendly temperatures and sunny conditions motivated him today he said. That it had been a hard day in the saddle admitted the German Jochen Käß. “Today’s race was extremely difficult, very steep, rocky and rough, a very challenging marathon”, he said at the finish.
In the women’s division an Austrian race win is getting closer thanks to Christina Kollmann. This was her preparation for the World Championship event in France coming up in a fortnight and today’s stage had been harder that she remembered from last year. “I feel good and I think I’ll be able to take the lead across the line on Sunday, but there are still two days to go”, she said cautiously at the finish. Tomorrow’s stage through Ramsau should be ideal for her, as she knows it in and out – the Austrian is a local from Aich near Schladming and has ridden her bike around this region a lot, she said.
Tomorrow’s Dachstein Stage is the longest with 67km and a 3100m zigzag elevation profile will take the riders through the Ramsau region to the Türlwand Hut right below the Dachstein mountain and then via Rittisberg and the picturesque town of Pichl back to Schladming. Race start is at 10am and the first finishers are expected from 1pm.