Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess of Centurion Vaude underlined their claim on this year's TransAlp title by claiming their second consecutive stage win in 4:07:48 on Thursday.
The overall leaders secured their 2013's third victory on the sixth stage from San Martino di Castrozza to Crespano del Grappa over 104km with an advantage of only 21 seconds on runners-up Team Bulls 1, who was able to reduce the deficit of 45 seconds gained until the last climb in the final descent to the finish.
Urs Huber and Karl Platt thus cemented their third place in the overall ranking. Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen of Topeak Ergon Racing, who came in third (4:11:44), still sit on the second spot of the overall standings but lost some precious time today again due to a flat in the last climb.
Before, the top-three teams of this year's TransAlp had been racing together towards the new and thus 45th stage town in TransAlp history. It was only in the very last part of the ascent to Croce del Lebi when the yellow jerseys were able to break away thus laying the foundation of their today's triumph and of their now to seven minutes extended lead in the standings over Topeak Ergon Racing.
"The final was very, very hard. Of course we are happy that we were able to build up some more lead which is very good for going comfortably into the last two days. We really hope to bring home those yellow jerseys to Riva del Garda," said Kaess.
Huber was also happy although it didn't really work out with the stage win he was going for.
"The descent was very technical, so we couldn't go as fast as we wanted. We caught up a bit but not enough. However, we are pleased that we were doing well again; in contrary to yesterday. This is some sort of redemption for sure," said Huber.
While the two leading men have to carefully keep an eye on their main pursuers, it's seems that Sally Bigham and Borghild Loevset of Topeak Ergon Racing have a comparatively easy job to do on the last two stages.
The fastest women in the field bearing the pink jerseys extended their lead again arriving in Crespano del Grappa after 5:05:17, 10 minutes earlier than runner-ups Cornelia Hug and Andrea Faessler of Crazy Velo Shop Scott (5:15:54).
In contrary to the two Swiss racers who seem to have booked for second at each stage, Aurélie Halbwachs and Yolandi du Toir secured their first podium appearance as third (5:35:12) thus writing another chapter in TransAlp history.
After being the first of her home country ever to compete in the TransAlp, Halbwachs is also the first from Mauritius to jump on a podium, too, in 16 years.
Clinching their sixth stage win in 4:38:02, master category leaders Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts of Rocky Mountain/Centurion not only underlined their outstanding class but also impressed by finishing as 14th ranked team in the overall classifier of stage 6.
Coming in as second behind of the blue jerseys were Johann Grasegger and Andreas Laner. Team Jeep Scott mastered the stage in 4:41:57 and thus relegated Claudio Segata and Piergiorgio Dellagiacoma of Team Tecno MTB to third rank (4:44:00).
By coming in before the third and just shortly after the second master duo, Walter Platzgummer and Gilberto Perini of Team Naturns Scott-Torbado showed their outstanding strength in the grand master category again winning impressively in their category (4:42:47).
Baerti Bucher and Doug Brown of Bixs nine-twelve-sixtyone took second (4:59.39) while Felix Weese and Georg Niggl of Craft and Friends placed third (5:15:47).
Kristin Aamodt and Daniel Jung of Mountain Heroes nailed their fifth consecutive stage win in 5:05:16 hours. Imogen Smith and Mike Blewitt crossed the finish line in second position (5:06:30), only 1:13 behind of the orange jerseys, thus securing their best stage result so far while Bettina Uhlig and Mathias Nothegger of www.1place.com/Wheeler ixs rounded out the podium as third (5:07:51).
Tomorrow's seventh stage of the TransAlp will cover 118.52km and 3,005 metres in elevation gain from Crespano del Grappa to Rovereto.
For full results, visit http://services.datasport.com/2013/mtb/Transalp/stage6/.