Glorieux/Michels Take Overall Lead After A Dramatic Stage
Florian Vrecko (GER) and Nils Kessler (GER) have won the fourth stage of the TOUR Transalp 2018, which led over 103.96 km, two cols and a total of 2,731 metres of climbing from Fiera di Primiero out of the Dolomites to Crespano del Grappa today with Team Strassacker / Garmincrossing the finish line first in the time of 3:08.35,6. Only 0.8 seconds behind of the two Germans followed Belgian title defenders of Tauris – Grinta! Florian Glorieux and Bob Michels (3:08.36,4) who therefore took over the lead in the overall placings.
The previous wearers of the Yellow Jerseys of Team Plasmatreat-Storck Bicycle 1, Daniel Pechtl (AUT) and Thomas Gschnitzer (ITA), finished fifth with a gap of 4.29 min (3:13.05,3) and therefore behind of Team corratec 1 with Michael Spoegler (ITA) and Michael Markolf (GER) (3:11.44,7) as well as Lightweight Squadra Corsa with Italians Riccardo Zacchi and Carlo Muraro (3:13.04,2).
Team Serpantin-Panavto, who had been the actual protagonist of the stage as on the previous days, had to settle for sixth rank (3:13.06,0). Ivan Sedelkov (RUS) and Remmert Wielinga (NED) had broken away in the first, extremely steep climb to the Passo Croce d'Aune and were subsequently able to shake off Spoegler and Markolf, who were the only team able to keep up the high pace of the Russian-Dutch pairing at first but lost contact in the following descent.
On the flat section from Pedavena to Arten the pursuers then worked together well in a group with Glorieux and Michels finally being able to catch up again right before the climb to Mount Grappa after the Belgians had decided to pedal their own rhythm in the downhill before.
A tactic that worked out in the end: “It was very hard today because Sedelkov and Wielinga attacked again from the beginning. We continued to go our on speed up to Mount Grappa”, recapped Frederic Glorieux.
Together with Team Strassacker / Garmin the defending champions then took up the chase of the breakaways, who had to bury their hopes for their second stage victory due to Sedelkov suffering a puncture at his rear wheel on the descent down to the flat lands of Treviso and therefore also lost precious ground in the overall ranking.
But with three race days still to come, including tomorrow's queen's stage to Trento, the gap of more than ten minutes could still be closed by Sedelkov and Wielinga. A fact which Glorieux is aware of: “The two are still among the strongest competitors. We have to keep the risk as low as possible now and try control the pace.”
In addition to the two Belgians, the stage winners were also the lucky beneficiaries of the unexpected end of the stage. However, Florian Vrecko emphasised that the success was no accident: “We had good legs and supported each other with an excellent tactic.”
The leaders of the other categories were also showcasing true team work, with three of the four leader duos clinching their fourth victory in a row.
In the grand masters category, Austrians Guenter Baringer and Axel Strauss of Roadbiker.at & Bike city came out victorious (3:31.06,5) while Canada's Jamie Armstrong and Geoff Dyke ofTNA-Method prevailed in the masters class (3:35.55,3).
In the women's classification, the Dutch Express Linda Stuurman (NED) and Carla Mellema (NED) was once again unstoppable (4:04.05.6).
Drama in the mixed classification
However, Anna Kiesenhofer (AUT) and Guenther Flatscher (AUT), the so far dominant mixed racing as Bikeexpress, missed their fourth stage win today, after the strongest lady of the field overlooked a furrow due to the poor visibility in the first tunnel of the descent down from Fiera di Primiero and crashed.
Although the 27-year-old seemed to walk away largely unharmed except for a few abrasions with the road bike neither getting damaged, the duo lost quite a lot of time waiting for replacement glasses.
“Thank God we get off lightly and had quite some advantage on our pursuers in the standings which we now will have to defend,” said Flatscher, who entered Crespano del Grappa together with Kiesenhofer as fourth mixed (3:48.42,0).
The victory, on the other hand, went to Yvonne Margraf (GER) and Roger Nachbur (SUI) ofPhilipp's Bike Team (3:36.42,4) who sit in third position of the mixed ranking.
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