Spoegler and Markolf Lucky Stage Winners
Michael Spoegler (ITA) and Michael Markolf (GER) have successfully lived down their yesterday's disappointing result securing their second stage win on day three of the TOUR Transalp 2018. However, Team corratec 1 capitalised on a one-minute time penalty for littering Team Serpantin-Panavto received by Race Director Marc Schneider.
Ivan Sedelkov (RUS) and Remmert Wielinga (NED), who were the first to cross the finish line after 133.62 km and 2,701 metres of climbing from Sillian to Fiera di Primiero (3:58.46,3), therefore slipped down to rank four of today's standings missing out the podium spots behind of overall leaders Daniel Pechtl (AUT) and Thomas Gschnitzer (ITA) (3:59.13,9) as well as Belgians Frederic Glorieux and Bob Michels (3:59.16,4).
As a result and following a fantastic race through the heart of the Dolomites as well as over a total of four cols, the Yellow Jerseys of Team Plasmatreat-Storck Bicycle 1 defended their tiny lead over Tauris-Grinta!, which keeps the pressure high on the Austrian-South Tyrolean pairing being only 3.2 seconds behind in the overall classification.
Tough Pressure That Almost Led To Disaster
Facing the direct competition from the Belgian lowlands, Thomas Gschnitzer took things a little bit too serious in the last descent from Cereda Pass and approached one turn too courageous missing the hairpin bend. However, the 34-year-old specialist for long climbs was lucky under the circumstances as the crash barrier was missing at exactly the point where his mishap took place which gave him the chance to handle the situation avoiding a fall.
The 176 cm tall athlete said: “It was a surprise that we were able to win the Yellow Jerseys yesterday and an even bigger surprise that we can keep them for another day. But we have to keep calm and should not get cocky.”
It's a well-considered statement by Gschnitzer with regards to the constant attacks of their rivals for the overall lead who again were eagerly lurking for any kind of opportunity to break away.
And just like yesterday, the Russian-Dutch pairing of Serpantin-Panavto was the most active one team out there. After the easy but over 30 km continuously ascending climb to Cimabanche Pass had been completed in a big group, Sedelkov and Wielinga sought refuge in flight but had to pay tribute to the efforts of the previous day in the steep ascent to Giau Pass, the scenic highlight of today's stage.
But both racers got caught again just before the summit, so a group of about ten cyclist descended down to Alleghe and Agordo together also mastering the delightful climb to Forcella Aurine together benefitting from superb team work before things got serious again in the final ascent to Cereda Pass.
It then was Team corratec 1 accelerating the pace with only the Russian-Dutch duo being able to keep up with them. In the end, team Serpantin-Panavto was able to distance their rivals in the ultimate descend reaching the old town of Fiera di Primiero as first but lost the stage win to Team corratec 1 due to their improper behaviour on the course.
Sightseeing Tour Full of Highlights
While a battle for every second has emerged within the top teams of this year's TOUR Transalp, those participants who are classified further back in the peloton put the experience of nature first. And today's sightseeing tour through the heart of the Dolomites didn't belie expectations as it was full of scenic highlights.
Especially the secluded Giau Pass, which leads from Cortina d'Ampezzo past the brilliant Cinque Torri, those iconic five towers, burned itself into the minds of cyclists.
On behalf of hundreds of participants from all over the world Matthias Hihn (GER) from therafit 3 explained: “The Giau Pass was fantastic. This has been the best day so far. I hope it gets even better, although I think today will hardly be topped.”
Category Leaders Underline Their Title Claim
While the men's standings remain close at the top with every second counting, the leaders of the other four categories have all secured their third stage victory in a row.
Once again, Anna Kiesenhofer (AUT) and Günther Flatscher (AUT) of Bikeexpress were the first mixed team to cross the finish line (4:13.28,1).
In the grand masters class, Austrians Guenter Baringer and Axel Strauss of Roadbiker.at & Bike city triumphed (4:15.38,7) again while Canadians Jamie Armstrong and Geoff Dyke of TNA-Method came in first in the masters category (4:17.49,0).
Dutch Linda Stuurman and Carla Mellema continued to dominate the women's standings. The Dutch Express completed the third stage of the TOUR Transalp in the time of 4:55.37,1.
Triathlon Star Out Of The Race
With Thomas Hellriegel (GER) one of the most prominent participants of this year's TOUR Transalp had to withdraw from the race this morning. Due to ongoing rib pain sustained in his crash during yesterday's start phase the 47-year-old former IRONMAN winner has announced today to not continue the race.
His team mate Faris Al-Sultan (GER), however is keen to complete the TOUR Transalp as individual finisher.
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