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Team Bulls Reduces Gap In General Classification

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Robert Niedring

Stage 5 on the Transalp

The fifth stage of the BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma 2018 wrapped up with a sprint finale and a win for Team Bulls 1 again. Like yesterday and the day before, Urs Huber (SUI) and Simon Stiebjahn (GER) came out victorious of a tight photo finish battle with Wilier Force 7C 1 (+0,7) clocking in a time of 2:17.47,7 for the 49.66 kilometres and 1,967 metres of climbing from Ponte di Legno to Pellizzano.

Taking third behind of Tony Longo (ITA) and Johnny Cattaneo (ITA) like the days before were Markus Kaufmann (GER) and Jochen Kaess (GER) of Centurion Vaude who pedalled 2:18.58,8 hours. The wearers of the yellow jerseys therefore lost 1.10 minutes of their lead in the general classification and are now – with only two more stages to go to Arco – only 1.57 minutes ahead of Team Bulls 1.

Their strongest pursuers had tried to capitalize on a phase of physical weakness of Kaess during the long climb to Alta Via Camuna, an isolated single track high above Ponte di Legno which meanders over nine kilometres through the alpine meadows to Tonale Pass, powering away in the steep ascent after Case di Viso.

The 36-year-old triple winner of 2013, 2014 and 2015 then had to let go losing half a minute on the leading group of five which also included his teammate Kaufmann until the second feeding zone which was based right at Tonale Pass .

“I had a bad position, lost metre after metre and couldn't close the gap again,” Kaess explained before adding that “I finally decided to race my own pace. I had a bad day but tomorrow is a new day.”

But as their main rivals of Team Bulls 1 seem to currently have the momentum Centurion Vaude is facing two more hard days in the saddle before finally reaching Lake Garda.

Urs Huber told media in the finish area that “we have been working hard today and got rewarded with another win. It will be very exciting on the last two days. We got the best out of today's situation, and we underlined the last three days that we are at least equipollent. Now we have to wait and see what's possible on the last two stages but we for sure will give it a try.”

By doing so, the Swiss powerhouse and his German teammate might be able to benefit from Longo and Cattaneo as both Italians are highly motivated to end their second place streak therefore being ready to work hard in the lead, too.

Just like today when the four riders we able to extend the lead in the downhill from Tonale to Fucini and over the quite short ascent to Val Piana to 1.10 minutes on the yellow jerseys.

First stage win for Menapace ad Pellizzaro

While the men's competition looks promising to feature a thrilling battle for the 2018 Transalp crown, things look pretty set in the other four categories.

The strongest two ladies of this year's Transalp Janine Schneider (GER) and Stefanie Dohrn (GER) might have missed their fifth stage win by 1,5 seconds today but Team Nauders Canyon/Cube is still sitting on a more than comfortable lead of one hour on today's winning duo of CentrobikeValdisole-Titici-Trek.

Accordingly, local hero Lorenza Menapace (ITA) and national team member Jessica Pellizzaro (ITA) were more than happy about their first stage win (3:08.47,9).

46-year-old Menapace, a Val di Sole resident, stated in the finish area: “I'm super happy that I was able to take the win in my backyard.” Her 24-year-old teammate Pellizzaro, who is racing her career's first Transalp, said that “I'm flabbergasted about the race. Maybe it's the start of a brand new stage race career.”

It could be a career as successful as the one her fellow countryman Massimo De Bertolis is looking back on who earned his fourth stage win together with his Wilier Force 7C comrade in arms from Costa Rica Dax Jaikel (2:36.44,3).

In the grand masters category Swiss Claudius Thommen and Thomas Girardi of Stoll Bikes also triumphed for the fourth time (2:44.06) while Verena Krenslehner-Schmid (AUT) and Philip Handl (AUT) of Imst Tourismus remained unbeatable in the mixed class rolling over the line in Pellizzaro after 2:56.28,1 hours.

Stage preview: Pellizzano – Roncone

The penultimate stage of the BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma 2018 runs over 79.45 kilometres and 2,805 metres of climbing from Pellizzano to Roncone in Valle del Chiese providing tons of climbing with Passo Campo Carlo Magno and Passo Bregn da l'Ors as well as several course sections which have never been used in 20 years of Transalp racing before.

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