Double Victory For Team Strassacker As Glorieux and Michels Defend Yellow Jerseys
Team Strassacker has stood out on the fifth day of the TOUR Transalp 2018 clinching a surprising double victory. While Florian Vrecko (GER) and Nils Kessler (GER) secured their second consecutive stage win (4:30.18,1), their team members Christoph Mai (GER) and Tom Walther (GER) rounded off the outstanding result of the amateur squad based in Süßen coming in as runner-ups (4:30.18,5).
The third rank on today's 149.75 km long and – with four passes to overcome as well as a total of 3,120 meters of climbing – extremely difficult stage, which timing-wise already wrapped up a few kilometres outside of the northern Italian city, went to Frederic Glorieux and Bob Michels of Tauris - Grinta! (4:30.21,1). The two Belgians therefore defended their overall lead with an advantage of more than five minutes on today's stage winners.
“It was unbelievably hard,” explained Vrecko on Piazza Dante, the official finish of the stage, after the 35-year-old had worked his way up the high plateau of Foza and Asiago with his team partner Kessler pedalling on a bizarre serpentine line which had been carved into the rock before both also had to master the brutally long climb from Arserio up to Valico di Valbona on a former military road which was built during World War I.
And the three subsequent short ascents to Coé Pass, Sommo Pass and della Fricca Pass, which repeatedly interrupted the descent towards Trento, were also energy-sapping due to numerous attacks and duels that the top teams of this year's edition of the Alps classic constantly slugged out.
“At the beginning, it looked like an absolute elimination race, but too many teams stood together,” said Vrecko. “We knew that the earlier timing would come as a surprise today. That's why our goal was to keep up with the rest in the long climb to Valico di Valbona in order to being able to showcase our qualities in the descent.”
In the wavy final phase, the Strassacker train was able to close the gaps that opened up in the short ascents again and again thanks to a strong team work performance in the descents and the partially flat passages.
“But we would never have expected the double victory,” the Bochum native stated. “Actually, we wanted our team members to deservedly take today's victory, but then things went way too fast to line us up in the winding descent.”
Category leaders remain dominant
Anna Kiesenhofer (AUT) has recovered well from her yesterday's crash in the downhill out of Fiera di Primiero triumphing again in the mixed class alongside her Team Bikeexpress partner Guenther Flatscher (AUT) (4:55.50,9).
In the other classifiers, all so far unbeaten category leaders kept a clean sheet.
While the Dutch Express with Linda Stuurman and Carla Mellema could not be stopped in the women's class (5:48.49,0), Austrians Guenter Baringer and Axel Strauss of Roadbiker.at & Bike city impressively won the grand masters category (4:55.46,9).
In the masters event, the wearers of the Blue Jerseys, Jamie Armstrong and Geoff Duyker of Canadian team TNA-Method, also finished as the first duo (4:57.34,7) for the fifth time in a row.
For the complete results of stage five click here.
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