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Defending champions Lakata and Mennen claim final stage
TransAlp winners Jochen Kaess and Markus Kaufmann
2012 TransAlp winners Alban Lakata and Robert Mennen (Topeak Ergon) wrapped up the 2013 TransAlp with their first stage win at the eight-day stage race across the Alps. They mastered the shortest stage of the week over 39km from Rovereto to Riva del Garda in 1:35:20, and were 2:15 faster than the new overall champions Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Kaess (Centurion-Vaude 1), who came in second on the final stage. Topeak Ergon finished second overall.
Reigning German marathon champion Kaufmann and his new teammate Kaess took home the 2013 title well deserved according to seven podium finishes, including three stage wins, at the second longest TransAlp race of all time. Both racers completed the whole distance of 676km from Mittenwald to Lake Garda in 27:33:02.
"We are super happy that we achieved our goal," said Kaufmann after his arrival in Riva. "It was my dream to win this race ever since my first ever participation in 2008. It's nice that it worked out with my new teammate."
Kaess also could hardly believe his luck. "It's an incredible feeling. We came here well prepared and worked perfectly together over the course of the eight stages. Words fail me. It's just amazing," said Kaess, who claimed his career's first TransAlp title at his second participation after 2004.
Runner-up Lakata experienced similar feelings last year, however, missed a repetition by 6:47. "The field was much stronger than last year, the race super hard," said the 2013 European Champion, who had to deal with several technical problems over the last days. However, the Austrian racer refused to accept this as an excuse.
Lakata rather acknowledged the performance of winning team Centurion-Vaude 1. "They definitely deserve the title. We weren't really a match this year. In the end, you have to be pleased with the second place, although I had quite a few this season already," said Lakata who had finished the 2013 world championships as well as the Bike Four Peaks in the runner-up position, too.
Third place on the stage went to Karl Platt and Urs Huber (Team Bulls 1).
Although the pink jerseys missed their eighth stage win by four seconds on overall ranking's runner-ups Cornelia Hug and Andreas Faessler (Crazy Velo Shop Scott), Sally Bigham and Borghild Loevset (Topeak Ergon Racing) comfortably claimed the 2013 TransAlp title on the women's side of things in 33:40:52.
"Seven stage wins and the title! This is unbelievable," said Borghild Loevset after an epic week came to an end. As a result, the Norwegian racer got another stage race title under her belt after winning the Bike Four Peaks a few weeks ago.
Her teammate Bigham, the defending women's TransAlp champion, said, "It's so much nicer to put some sun cream on and not being forced to worry about waterproofed clothing like we had to last year. It made our time in the mountains so much more fun," said the 2013 world championships runner-up.
Katrin Schwing and Lisa Pleyer (Cancer Rehab St. Veit) took third in the final stage and the overall.
Regina Genser and Andreas Deutschendorf (Craft-Rocky Mountain 2) wrapped up the 16th TransAlp edition with their first ever stage win in 1:56:20.
The two Germans edged off Imogen Smith and Mike Blewitt (Subaru-MarathonMTB.com) as well as Christiane Cohsmann and Alexander Warthmann (Centurion-VauDe II) to second and third today but missed the top-three in the final ranking.
The title in the mixed category went to today's seventh ranked Kristin Aamodt and Daniel Jung (Mountain Heroes) who had taken out the race due to six stage wins already.
Kerstin Brachtendorf and Ronald Andraczek (r2-bikecom MTB Racing) as well as Subaru-MarathonMTB.com took second and third respectively.
In the masters 80+ category, the teams who claimed first, second and third in the final ranking also took over the podium of the last stage to Riva de Garda in the same order.
Carsten Bresser and Udo Boelts (Rocky Mountain/Centurion) secured their seventh stage win and thus the title ahead of overall second and third Johann Grassegger and Andreas Laner (Jeep Scott) as well as Claudio Segata and Piergiorgio Dellagiacoma (Team Tecno MTB).
Due to their overall time of 29:57:21, the leaders not only took first in the masters category but also impressively placed in 12th overall position.
By bringing home their eighth stage win, Walter Platzgummer and Gilberto Perini (Naturns Scott-Torbado) earned the title in the GC for Masters 100+ teams, thus being the only team which successfully kept a clean sheet in their category.
The stellar oldie pairing relegated Baerti Bucher and Doug Brown (Bixs nine-twelve-sixtyone) as well as Georg Niggl and Felix Weese (Craft and Friends) to second and third respectively in both the stage and overall ranking.
For full results, visit http://services.datasport.com/2013/mtb/Transalp/stage8/.