By Steve Medcroft
The Addidas Bike Trans Alps Challenge is underway in the German Alps this week. The UCI-accredited endurance stage race pits unsupported teams of two racers who must ride together (and stay within two minutes of each other through all race checkpoints) over eight stages for more than six hundred kilometers of trails and over 15 thousand meters of climbing.
Among the 524 teams, participants include former Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens (Netherlands, racing with Austrian Martin Kraler in the men's division) and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects, racing in the mixed division with Elite mountain bike pro and fellow Canadian Andreas Hestler).
The first stage was held Saturday, July 16; a 111 kilometer ride from Mittenwald to Mayrhofen, Germany which offered more than two thousand meters of climbing to warm the race up.
In the fifth stage (Sexten - St.Vigil, July 20), the South American Banano de Costa Rica team attacked the men's race and held an early seven minute advantage all the way to the finish. The effort wasn't enough to take over the race lead from Carsten Bresser and Karl Platt (Rocky Mountain Team) though.
In the women's category, Esther Süss and Anna Enocsson (Ghost Int. Racing Team) extended their stage-race lead to 1 hour, 36 minutes over Gretchen Reeves and Lesley Tomlinson (Rocky Mountain Business Objects).
Ghost International Racing Team's husband and wife team Jörg and Anna Scheiderbauer won the fifth stage in the mixed competition and retain a twenty-five minute lead in the series over Hestler and Sydor.
The 2005 Trans Alps Challenge ends Saturday, July 23. The remaining stages in this year's race are St.Vigil to Alleghe, Alleghe to Belluno and Belluno to Jesolo.