Glorieux and Michels Fight to Defend Title
The TOUR Transalp is Europe's most famous stage race for the Average Joe, which attracts several hundred teams of two every year and has been dominated by the same duos in the most recent years. From 24 to 30 June 2018, the 16th edition of the seven-day event will take place with all eyes being on Belgians Frederic Glorieux and Bob Michels, who, like so many before them, are trying to successfully keep hold to their title.
It would be an historic triumph as Werner Weiss and Andreas Laner are so far the only overall winners who were able to defend their title. The two South Tyroleans crossed the finish line first back in 2008 and 2009. Nine years later, team Tauris - Grinta! is hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Last year, the two mid-thirties had triumphed on all five stages of the TOUR Transalp - two had been cancelled due to bad weather - bringing home a comfortable lead of 30 minutes in the men category. But that's not the only reason why the small climbing specialists are regarded as the top favourites for victory.
Back in 2015, Glorieux and Michels had missed their first title by the tiny mere of 7.1 seconds finishing off the race in the runner-up position.
On their last summer's road to victory, the two Belgians, however, also capitalised on the misfortunes of their strong competitors.
Daniel Pechtl and Thomas Gschnitzer missed an even better result after several punctures and technical defects as well as a fall had dashed their hopes on the final stage. So, if the Austrian-Italian team Plasmatreat-Storck Bicycle 1 gets through without technical problems this time, they could thwart the title defence and therefore also the fourth consecutive TOUR Transalp victory of a team from Belgium.
However, with Daan Vermeulen and Tim de Vos, two other strong riders from the cycling enthusiastic Benelux country have valid hopes of a podium result. Team Bonzai #granfondoteam.be finished off the 15th race edition as third of the men's ranking and aims to play an important role in the battle for the top-3 again.
Among their main competitors for a podium finish are TOUR Transalp experienced Florian Vecko and Nils Kessler of the German Team Strassacker / Garmin who are aiming high after placing fourth two years ago.
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