Transalp Stage 2: 56.17km with 2126m climbing
Today’s transalp stage once again treated riders to perfect racing weather, with beautiful sunshine and mild temperatures greeting sleepy riders in the tiny border town of Nauders, sandwiched between Austria, Italy and Switzerland. A compact stage, there was still plenty of ascent waiting in the form of two significant climbs before a largely flat run in to the Engadin town of Scuol. On this race, even a “rest” day isn’t really a rest!
All change at the top on day 2
Hermann Pernsteiner & Daniel Geismayr have stepped out of the shadow of their team mates to win on the second day of the BIKE transalp powered by Sigma (2:28.30,1). Team Centurion Vaude 2 came home with the tiny lead of 16,6 seconds over Karl Platt and Urs Huber of Team Bulls 1 (2:28.46.7) after they had been leading the field over almost the whole distance from Nauders to Scuol (56.17 km, 2,126 m).
Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek of Topeak Ergon Racing 1 finished the stage from Austria to Switzerland as third best team (2:28.49,7) coming in 19,6 seconds after todays fastest pair. The Austrian-Czech duo therefore defended its lead over Pernsteiner and Geismayr going into tomorrow’s stage to Livigno with an advantage of 44,9 seconds.
After their successful attack in the first climb to the mountain top station of the Bergkastel gondola, both Austrians had temporarily taken over the virtual Yellow Jerseys but lost second by second of their gained lead again in the descents and the second ascent to Reschner Am.
However, no need to worry at all for Daniel Geismayr: “We had a really good day today. We are working together better than last year. We noticed in the first climb that the others had problems to keep up the pace so we went for it. We just rode and rode and rode. And it worked out.”
Kristian Hynek of the still leading team Topeak Ergon Racing 1 was also pleased with how things turned out: “We didn’t lose too much time. That was our goal. We didn’t have to invest too much energy and were able to control the race. And it’s still a long way to go.”
While the top-3 pairs are close together promising some thrilling competition for the 2016 title of the mountain bike stage race across the main ridge of the Alps, defending champions Markus Kaufmann (GER) and Jochen Kaess (GER) of Centurion Vaude 1 have conceded more than 10 minutes to the Yellow Jerseys. It seems unlikely at this point that they will be able to overturn their deficit, but who knows what five more days will bring?
Change of lead in the women’s race
Lorenza Menapace & Elisabeth Simpson made the outstanding performance today with the stage win in 3h39m. The Anglo-Italian duo from Val di Sole Bikeland_Lady pushed Sarah Reiners and Cemile Trommer of Team Nutrixxion Focus RAPIPRO into second spot one minute behind.
Third spot went to Swiss & British racers Sabina Compassi and Melanie Alexander of Cyclopedia-DANiSchnider Radsport who lost the women’s lead to today’s best female pair.
Category leaders still strong
In the master category defending Italians Massimo Debertolis and Andreas Laner of Wilier Force 2 are looking good to hang onto their title after they had turned a deficit of more than four minutes half way through the stage into another win in 2h49m.
Costa Ricans Dax Jaikel and Federico Ramirez of Sevencard-Lacoinex rolled in as second 44 seconds later edging off today’s third ranked master team toMotion Racing by black tusk/Bergamot to the third overall rank.
Current and former British national champions Sally Bigham and Ben Thomas of Topeak Ergon Racing 3 brought home another safe win in the mixed category 2h54m while Thomas Damm and Peter Vesel of Scott Fahrradladen Gudensberg celebrated the stage win in the grand masters category ahead of leading duo Hansjuerg Gerber and Daniel Annaheim.
Tomorrow’s third stage from Scuol to Livigno will lead over four passes and 72.30 km as well as 2,598 metres of climbing from Switzerland to Italy.
You can find all results of stage two on Datasport here: online.
How to make friends (but maybe not influence people)
For us, today was as different from yesterday as night from day. Gridded at the front of Box C, we knew we had work to do to make out way back in the direction of where we started yesterday, and work we did. Very well in fact. Relationship counsellors often tell their clients that the key to a good relationship is communication. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in racing mixed pairs! It’s natural to assume that the stronger partner is the one in charge, but today Rachel worked out that when I’m on my limit pushing her up a climb (yes, we do do pushing) I have very little between my ears apart from bluebirds and stars! For my part, never have I been so glad to be bossed around!
Today we also made some racing buddies. At the front of Box C was us, and a Spanish mixed team – David Jiménez and Monica Reyes (Monda Team). Off the line the four of us went together and gapped the rest of the riders in our box. We rode closely together for a while until they eventually rode off up one of the climbs never to be seen again (or so we thought). But lo and behold on the most technical descent of the day we passed them back and so it continued for the rest of the stage until the final drag into Scuol. The Spaniards came past us in a big group, but immediately moved over so we could sit on their wheels. David Perez suggested we work as a group and so we did with the boys taking turns on the front and Rachel and Monica occasionally shouting “easy” as they accidentally dropped us. Unfortunately in the last 4km Rachel got “zee bad sensations” again and told our friends to carry on and leave us. But they refused. “We started together, lets finish together” said David. It was a wonderful gesture at the end of a hot day.