Transalp Stage 6: Mezzano to Treno – 88.24 with 2364m climbing
Day 6. It’s when you can start to smell the finish. You know that, barring unmitigated disaster, there’s a very good chance you’ll make it to the end of the race, but everyone’s tired and tempers are a little frayed. Back when I was a student more years ago than I like to remember, there was a well-known and well-documented phenomenon – “fifth week blues”. It’s when all your assignments are due, the washing up has been sitting in the sink growing exciting new bacteria for a week, and you’re totally out of underwear and socks. There just seems to be no way to get everything done, unless you invent an extra five or so hours in the day. Sixth day blues. Has a good ring to it, no?
Italians Cattaneo and Longo secure first stage win
Johnny Cattaneo and Tony Longo have secured the first Italian stage win on the 2016 BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma. Team Wilier Force 1 conquered the penultimate 88km stage from Mezzana to Trento in 3h32m relegating overall leaders Hermann Pernsteiner and Daniel Geismayr of Centurion Vaude 2 to the second spot.
As a result, the two Austrians appear in a comfortable position to clinch this year’s title. Made more likely since their main pursuers Karl Platt and Urs Huber of Team Bulls 1 came in fourth today behind Centurion Vaude 1. Team Bulls therefore lost more precious time in the race for the Transalp crown and are now more than 15 minutes adrift. Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek of Topeak Ergon Racing 1 had to withdraw from the event after the injury the Czech athlete had suffered yesterday in a crash turned out to be a broken collarbone.
The three best teams today had already obtained an advantage in the first climb to Passo le Fraine before Cattaneo and Longo jumped at the chance and broke away in the descent to Tuenno to bring home a long desired stage win. With a deficit of more than 20 minutes overall they are no real threat to the Yellow Jerseys.
“The stage profile played into our hands. We felt strong and believed in ourselves. It’s nice that it finally worked out,” said Cattaneo who – together with Longo – was also able to climb to the third overall rank edging off Centurion Vaude 1 to the fourth position with only one more stage to come. An improvement the Ravensburg based squad should easily get over as the fourth consecutive title win since 2013 is within reach. However, Hermann Pernsteiner remains modest:
“We are not getting carried away. We haven’t achieved or won anything before we finally roll over the finish line in Arco. Then it would be time to celebrate; not now!”
Master racers make it a perfect day for Wilier Force
Only a few minutes after Cattaneo and Longo had triumphed in the men’s category, it was Wilier Force 2 with Massimo Debertolis and Andreas Laner who were able to bring home the double victory for their team also making it six out of six in the master classification.
Mixed leader way ahead
After they had conceded defeat to their pursuers of Team Herzlichst Zypern I in yesterday’s photo finish, Sally Bigham and Ben Thomas of Topeak Ergon Racing 3 underlined their claim on the mixed team title with stage win number five.
Grand Master leaders defend Green Jerseys
Swiss racers Hansjuerg Gerber and Daniel Annaheim warded off an attack from their biggest rivals in the grand master category Thomas Damm and Peter Vesel. Although team Scott Fahrradladen Gudensberg came in first today, an advantage of less than 40 seconds wasn’t enough to threaten the comfortable lead of baumat/bikeholiday.ch which is still in front with almost 13 minutes.
Women’s leaders with strong performance
By bringing home their third consecutive stage win, Sarah Reiners and Cemile Trommer of Team Nutrixxion Focus RAPIRO have been able to extend their lead in the battle for the women’s title. The two athletes from Germany are already 12.30 minutes in front of today’s second ranked Swiss team Cyclopedia-DANiSchnider Radsport consisting of Sabina Compassi and Melanie Alexander going into the last day of Transalp racing tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s final stage leads from Trento to Arco where the Transalp concludes for the first time in 19 years. In total 53.60 km and 2,042 metres of climbing as well as Bocca Vaiona have to be mastered.
You can find all results of stage six here.
All roads head to Riva (well almost)
So back to my intro. Why the hell was I telling you about student life? Well, day 6 always makes me think of the dreaded fifth week blues. Unless you have been super-organised, you’re still washing annoying bits of kit (gloves, god damn I hate the fact you have to wash gloves) and hoping for them to dry. Your bike is making a creak in perfect time with the one coming from your knees, but only in the gear you use ALL THE TIME (that would be the lowest one, then…). Your, ahem, personal areas are starting to look and feel like there is a war going on down there. And there’s still one more day to survive. Not enough hours…
But with time comes experience. Neither Rachel nor I are naturally organised people, we live with internal (and sometimes external) mayhem on a daily basis. But we have learned, separately, and often the hard way, that at stage races, you have to get your sh*t together. There’s a rota, a routine, and once you learn it, your poor tired brain can just go into autopilot and deal with what needs to be done. Today, I think, we reaped the benefit of that. We didn’t have a perfect day by any stretch, with Rachel falling after her front wheel caught in a drainage channel (uphill, whilst I was pushing her), and me deciding to take a “creative” line on a descent, and then throwing my bike on the ground, but we got round. Actually, we got our best result, and jumped into gridding box B for tomorrow’s final stage.
Let’s hope we can justify it. On paper, tomorrow’s short “sprint” stage to (almost) Garda shouldn’t be too hard, but 20km of pretty much constant ascent (1700m of it) might say otherwise. One more day…