Glorieux/Michels Defend Their Title – Stuurman/Mellema Strongest Women
Ivan Seledkov (RUS) and Remmert Wielinga (NED) have underlined their strength one more time coming out victorious of the TOUR Transalp 2018 final stage. Team Serpantin-Panavto mastered the 102.78 km and 1,511 metres of climbing from Kaltern am See to Riva del Garda in 2:43.56.
With a gap of 2.10 minutes at the final timing, which had been moved outside of Riva del Garda to ensure a safe home stretch for the riders to La Rocca, Michael Spoegler (ITA) and Michael Markolf (GER) of Team corratec 1 came in as tied second (2:46.07,4) together with Frederic Glorieux (BEL) and Bob Michels (BEL) of Tauris – Grinta! who therefore kept hold to their title although they could not secure a stage win this year.
It's the second time in the 16 years of history of the tradition-rich classic through the Alps that a pairing was able to celebrate a back-to-back win. Back in 2009, South Tyroleans Werner Weiss and Andreas Laner were the first ones to pull of this feat.
Nine years later, it's Glorieux and Michels who were able to do so again. The most consistent team of this year's TOUR Transalp, which led in seven days over 827.70 km and 17,797 metres of climbing as well as 18 cols from Brixen to Lake Garda, needed a total time of 25:03.42,1 hours to bring home their second consecutive title. The Belgians therefore were 8.17 minutes faster than Team corratec 1 which, however, was able to edge off today's fifth ranked Team Strassacker / Garmin with Florian Vrecko (GER) and Nils Kessler (GER) to third overall.
“It's crazy. At the beginning of the race we never would have thought of anything like this as Bob was ill. So we just tried to survive the first three days. Then we got stronger and stronger until I crashed yesterday. Finishing off the TOUR Transalp in the Yellow Jerseys is incredible,” said Glorieux about the win.
A win, which was a sweet one with regards to 2015, when both had missed their first title by the tiny mere of 7,1 seconds. “We always have been asked how we could lose with only seven seconds,” stated Michels. “They said that it was our chance to win the title and that this chance would never come back. And now we have two of them. It's wonderful.”
He also explained that going home without a stage win under their belts wouldn't bother them at all: “There are all our friends. You take it easy when you are in the overall lead.” His teammate Glorieux added: “It's OK. We came here for the Yellow Jerseys. We wanted to go for the stage win today but Seledkov and Wielinga were too strong. All good.”
After Michels and Glorieux had distanced themselves from the rest of the field together with Spoegler/Markolf and Seledkov/Wielinga climbing up to Fai della Paganella, the Russian-Dutch duo attacked in the last two kilometres to the peak successfully breaking away and keeping the lead until the finish.
Stuurman/Mellema Unbeaten To The Women's Title
While Tauris – Grinta! couldn't snatch a stage win, Linda Stuurman and Carla Mellema of Dutch Express did way better.
The two Dutch racers, who had already clinched the first six stages in dominant fashion, also played the major role on the final day crossing the finish line as fastest women's team again (3:25.26,3). In order to take home the title at their first ever TOUR Transalp the two cyclists normally racing for different squads rode their bikes 31:39.28,4 hours.
“It's amazing. We went for the win,” said Mellema right after making it to the shores of Lake Garda, “but you never know in the beginning who else is riding the event.” In addition, Mellema's 14 years younger colleague was sick on the first stage, “so this win was very surprising for us. But if you taste it once, you want it everyday,” added the 49-year-old.
Like the strongest women's pairing, Austria's Guenter Baringer and Axel Strauss of Roadbiker.at& Bike city remained unbeaten in the grand masters classification with the duo earning their seventh out of seven in 2:57.02,4 hours securing the title in 27:17.58,8.
Their fellow countrymen Anna Kiesenhofer and Guenther Flatscher of Bikeexpress brought home their sixth stage win (2:57.03,6) and therefore an undisputed mixed title (27:32.49,9) while masters title winners from Canada Jamie Armstrong and Geoff Duyker of TNA-Method(27:32.30,4) had to admit defeat for the first time this week with Belgians Gert Osselaer and Wouter Schouppe of Team xTreme #grandfondoteam.be coming in first in a time of 2:57.02,1.
Full results can be viewed here.
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