Team Bulls With Fifth Stage Win & Centurion Vaude Defends Overall Lead
Urs Huber (SUI) and Simon Stiebjahn (GER) keep on riding the crest of a wave. Team Bulls 1 mastered the sixth BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma 2018 stage which led over 79.45 kilometres and 2,805 metres of climbing from Pellizzano to Roncone in a time of 3:35.35,0 therefore bringing home their fifth stage win. As a result, the strong pairing was once again able to reduce the gap in the yellow jerseys worn by Centurion Vaude.
The leaders of the general classification Markus Kaufmann (GER) and Jochen Kaess (GER) wrapped up the leg from Val di Sole to Valle del Chiese as runner-ups (3:36.25,5) and are now – with only one more stage to come to Arco – having an advantage of 1.07 minutes on their pursuers from Team Bulls.
Rank three went to Uwe Hochenwarter (AUT) and Gregory Brenes (CRC) of Wilier Force 7C 2 (3:36.53,0), who therefore were able to cement their third place in the general classification.
Other than expected, the decision for the stage win, however, wasn't made because one team had physical problems but because Markus Kaufmann was thrown back by a technical defect in the descent from Bregn da l'Ors pass.
While going full speed downhill, his rear wheel all of a sudden stood cross in the frame due to an xle fracture.
“We actually were in full control of the race, and did ride well with the others. When we noticed the damage, we were like 'game over, that's it',” said Kaufmann.
But the two-time German champion bethought of his puzzle freak qualities, reduced the distance of the full floating axle and managed to put it in again – just secured by one ore two turns of the thread.
“That was tough, it's a real set-back for your head. We then went full throttle and seethed with anger. We didn't looked good the last days, that's why it's even more bitter. Today, we could have played a way better role,” explained the 35-year-old Transalp triple winner of 2013, 2014 and 2015.
And as Team Bulls also invested a lot of energy trying to reduce the gap as much as possible, tomorrow's grand finale promises thrilling excitement – especially as the final stage of the BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma is traditionally raced as normal stage with no rest for the leading pairings. According to this, Simon Stiebjahn made clear:
“We gave it all we had today and went full on. We made up quite some time which was our preliminary goal. We have a plan for tomorrow. It will be a very close race, and we will try everything to come out on top in Arco.”
Category Leaders Don't Show Any Weakness
While the men teams are most likely up to producing the closest Transalp result of the recent years, the die is cast in the other four categories. Especially as three leading duos were able to up the ante one more time securing another stage win.
In the masters class, Massimo De Bertolis (ITA) and Dax Jaikel (CRC) of Wilier Force 7C triumphed once again (4:03.27,2).
In the women's event, Janine Schneider (GER) and Stefanie Dohrn (GER) of Team Nauders Canyon/Cube also clinched their fifth stage (4:39.43,3) while Austrians Verena Krenslehner-Schmid and Philip Handl of Imst Tourismus remained unbeaten for the sixth consecutive time in the mixed category (4:33.33,5).
In the grand masters classifier, Anton Warter (AUT) and Heinz Zoerweg (AUT) of Team KTM Rad.Sport.Szene celebrated their second stage win (4:12.20,3) rolling over the line 1.19 minutes ahead of Swiss leading duo Claudius Thommen and Thomas Girardi of Stoll Bikes (4:13.39,4).
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