Overall Leaders Glorieux/Michels Remain In Front – Despite a Crash
Michael Spoegler (ITA) and Michael Markolf (GER) have clinched the sixth and penultimate stage of the TOUR Transalp 2018. Team corratec 1 mastered the 116.96 km and 3,151 metres of climbing from Trento to Kaltern am See in a time of 3:47.39,6 therefore securing their third stage win of the race week. Overall leaders Frederic Glorieux and Bob Michels of Tauris – Grinta!followed as runner-ups (3:47.40,7) only 1,1 seconds behind.
Despite a crash on the second climb to di San Lugano Pass, the defending champions from Belgium therefore were able to extend their lead in the overall placings on Florian Vrecko (GER) and Nils Kessler (GER) of Team Strassacker / Garmin which came in third today (3:50.47,2).
The German duo is now 8.13 minutes behind and has to cop a look on today's fastest cyclists as Spoegler and Markolf are only 14,5 seconds behind in the overall standings.
It's a tiny mere which could easily be lost on tomorrow's final stage to Riva del Garda, especially as also this tour's top duos have not escaped technical problems or other mishaps so far with Glorieux being today's unlucky fellow.
After the race had kicked off with a group of approximately 100 riders pedalling together up the little climb to Civezzano and further on to Roncegno, the peloton broke up in its pieces again with the most pairings struggling with the heat while fighting their way to the top of Manghen Pass, the hardest ascent of the seven-day stage race through the Alps with some 1,500 metres of climbing.
However, Team corratec 1 and Tauris – Grinta! managed to work together quite well with Spoegler taking over the main role at front of the quartet as the local favourite was absolutely motivated to bring home the stage win on home turf.
When his comrade-in-arms Markolf got off the seat in the climb to the second pass, the di San Lugano Pass, to stretch his back, Glorieux touched his rear wheel due to the unexpected retardation painfully flying over the handlebar.
But being lucky under the circumstances the 37-year-old walked away with smarting bruises on his chest and left little finger.
“At first I thought that was it, it's all over. I was too close and rode into his rear wheel. My ribs and my left wrist do hurt but I think that I can finish the race tomorrow. But this shows again that anything can happen,” said Glorieux, who also emphasized the fair play of their competitors who did wait on him after his crash.
Indeed, it was a matter of course for Spoegler to not take an advantage of the mishap of Glorieux although he and his teammate also lost precious seconds in the battle for second in the overall placings: “They would have done the same for us.”
This showcasing of true sportsmanship was even more worth as today's stage was the most important for the 23-year-old: “I'm living close to here and train here a lot. My goal always was to win this stage, so I gave it all I had today. We were pushing it a lot although this little summit finish at the end of the stage was pretty tough.” But in the end, the stresses and strains did pay off.
And while the title defenders from Belgium, who had triumphed on all stages last year, are still waiting for their first day win in 2018, all other category leaders were able to underline their legal claim on the TOUR Transalp 2018 title one more time.
Anna Kiesenhofer (AUT) and Guenther Flatscher (AUT) of Bikeexpress wrapped up the day as best mixed for the fifth time (4:12.37,0) while the Dutch Express with Linda Stuurman and Carla Mellema crowned their strong performance with their sixth stage win (5:05.27,7).
In the masters category Canadians Jamie Armstrong and Geoff Duyker of TNA – Method kept their clean sheet (4:21.03,5) while Austria's Guenter Baringer and Axel Strauss of Roadbiker.at & Bike city did the same in the grand masters class (4:13.29,1).
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