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Kaufmann And Kaess Take Over Lead in General Classification Winning The Queen's Stage

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Robert Niedring

The start of the Queen Stage

Markus Kaufmann (GER) and Jochen Kaess (GER) have come out victorious of the queen's stage of the BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma 2018. The Transalp triple winners riding forCenturion Vaude mastered the 101.82 kilometres and 3,512 metres of climbing from Nauders to Livigno in 4:29.28,9 hours. The two Germans therefore took over the overall lead as so far leading Urs Huber (SUI) and Simon Stiebjahn (GER) of Team Bulls 1 crossed the finish line with a gap of 3.29 minutes as second fastest duo of the day (4:32.57,9).

Rank three went to Austrian-Costa Rican pairing Uwe Hochenwarter and Gregory Brenes ofWilier Force 7C 2 (4:32.58,4) who therefore also jumped to third overall after today's fourth placedBuff Scott MTB Team with Francesc Guerra Carretero (ESP) and Luis Leao Pinto (POL) lost precious time due to a crash of the Portuguese rider (4:36.14,0).

Decision for the win was made, however, in the climb to Doess Radond. After the pro teams of the 21st race edition of the Alps classic had mastered the ascent to Bergkastell together distancing themselves from the rest of the field, they also flew down to Lake Reschen and further on into the Vinschgau together before Kaufmann/Kaess seized the moment in Santa Maria.

“The stage profile with a lot of metres of climbing played into our hands. We then noticed that Simon Stiebjahn had a few problems and kept our pace continuously extending the lead,” said Kaufmann after the successful ride into Yellow.

When both had crossed Alpisella Pass and also managed the subsequent descent, normally aTeam Bulls speciality, their lead had grown to approximately three minutes in Latteria di Livigno – and to 3.29 in the finish.

“It's perfect that we were able to earn the Yellow Jerseys on the second race day. Now it's all about maintaining the lead.”

While the new leaders of the general classification were more than happy about today's results, even the beaten Swiss-German pairing seemed to be pleased with how the stage wrapped up: “It was very hard for me. I gave it all I had,” explained Stiebjahn.

“But I couldn't keep up the pace anymore and tried to find my own rhythm. We were able to keep the distance within an OK timeframe and can be pleased with the second rank as it was today's maximum for us. Now we have to see what the next couple of days will bring. At least we have a strong back-up team if anything goes wrong.”

That's the reason why new race leader Jochen Kaess dampened the euphoria: “It's still five more days to come. The finish is in Arco.”

Change of Lead in Masters Category

Just like in the men's event, also the masters category saw one duo triumphing on the hardest stage of this year's BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma and taking over the blue leader jerseys which had been fancied in the lead-up to the event.

Defending champions Massimo de Bertolis (ITA) and Dax Jaikel (CRC) of Wilier Force 7Ccompleted the more than 100 kilometres from Tyrol through Switzerland to Italy in the time of 4:50.56,6 and therefore 7.07 minutes faster than so far leading Jan Halik (SVK) and Karel Hartl (CZE) of Norwit-CYKLOmax Slovakia (5:58.04,3) who had been ahead by 10 seconds yesterday.

In the grand masters classification, Austrians Anton Warter and Heinz Zoerweg, another team which had been one of the favourites for the category win, earned their first stage win. The KTM Pro Team, yesterday trailed behind with 18 minutes, crossed the finish line after 5:07.36,6 hours and therefore two minutes ahead of the Stoll Bikes pairing (5:09.40,6).

The Swiss duo Claudius Thommen and Thomas Girardi, however, are still leading the ranking of the men teams with a combined age of 100+.

In the women and mixed event, yesterday's dominating teams were able to add another stage win to their streak.

Multi-time Austrian champion Verena Krenslehner-Schmid and her fellow countryman Philip Handl brought home the win in the mixed category for Imst Tourismus (5:41.42,2) while Germans Janine Schneider and Stefanie Dohrn racing for Team Nauders Canyon/Cube were second to none again in the women's classification (5:46.39,0).

Please click here for the complete results of stage 2.  

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