Leading racers of the TransAlp Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Käss clinched the sixth stage from Kaltern to Trento today. Centurion Vaude 1 mastered the 98km in 4:07:37 extending its lead over third ranked teammates Daniel Geismayr and Hannes Genze in the overall ranking to 10:44. As a result, the successful title defence is as close as never before.
Stage runner-ups Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek of Topeak Ergon Racing were able to cement their third place in the overall classification against fourth placed Team Bulls 1 with Karl Platt and Urs Huber, who are already 21:45 behind of the yellow jerseys.
The decision about the stage win took place in the last, small but steep climb to Monte Calisio which Kaufmann and Käss had entered together with Lakata and Hynek.
Before, the two teams had been in a bigger breakaway group which got reduced team by team when Lakata upped the tempo in the first long climb via Truden to Valdonega. A bunch of racers tried to catch up again in the following long downhill via Lago Santo, Sovina and Palu to Lavis. But when Centurion Vaude 1 and Topeak Ergon tackled the last ascent again, their pursuers had to accept defeat.
Same for Topeak Ergon when Lakata couldn't counter the attack launched by the yellow jerseys who opened the door wide to a back-to-back title win by bringing home their 2014 third stage win.
"We stayed close to Alban's (Lakata) back wheel and were aiming for the last climb. When we noticed that he got into problems we went for it, extended the lead and nailed it," said Kaufmann who warns against too early joy of victory.
"We haven't won anything yet. We first have to reach the finish line in Riva. A lot of things can happen. But we are in a good mood. If we don't have a technical defect I don't think we will lose the title."
Crazy Velo Shop Scott women close to career's first
Although Cornelia Hug and Andrea Fässler lost the stage today against their main rivals for the title from Austrian Team Nakita Powermums with Silke Schrattenecker and Barbara Mayer after 5:12:22 with only 0.6 seconds, the main aspirants for the TransAlp crown are close to their career's first with 30:07 minutes advantage over their competitors - with only one last stage to go.
Sarah Bosch and Danièle Troesch of Mountain Heroes rounded out the podium as third also sitting in thrid position of the overall classification.
The wearers of the orange leader jerseys Sally Bigham and Ben Thomas of Topeak Ergon Racing yield to overall second ranked Germans Silke Schmidt and Sascha Schwindling of Herzlichst Zypern I (4:49:15) coming in 1.2 seconds behind of the winners who earned their career's first TransAlp stage win.
While Jochen Weisenseel of Team Sigma Rox Rocky still leads the best climber classification, Florian Schön of Scott Bike24 MTN Team 1 sits in top position of the enduro.
Frank Demuth of Centurion Vaude 3 leads the category for the best U23 racer looking good to earn the white jersey.
Click here for full results.