Marzio Deho and Mirko Celestino claimed victory on the fourth stage of the TransAlp. Team Adamello Bike Olympia - Axevo mastered the 73.91 kilometres and 2,377 metres of ascent from Scuol, Switzerland to Livigno, Italy in 3:07:32. Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler (Multivan Merida) came in second after having successfully taken the sprint among the chasers. Despite a crash, Massimo De Bertolis and Mike Felderer (Full-Dynamix), who were victorious yesterday, rounded out the podium as third.
The Val Mora trail between the Pass Döss Radond and Passo Alpisella forced the decision today when the two Italians, who brought home the second consecutive TransAlp stage wins for their home country, took advantage of an unlucky situation of their fellow countryman Felderer. The 2009 Italian National Marathon Champion crashed in the downhill enabling the team of Ponte di Legno, which was leading together with Full-Dynamix and the current first-ranked riders Lukas Buchli and Thomas Stoll of BiXS iXS, who finished fifth today, to break away.
"Both attacked and when I had to stop to readjust a spoke. They were gone in the climb to Alpisella," Stoll said. Despite the little technical defect, the 27-year-old, who is still wearing the yellow leader's jersey along with his teammate, was pleased with the result. "We took it easy today although it was a fast day again due to attacks of Full-Dynamix."
Winners pay respect to leaders
Stoll and his partner are still the only team of the inner circle of contenders which hasn't shown any weakness throughout the first four stages. A fact, which Marzio Deho paid tribute. "They are really strong. They have no weakness and will win the race," predicted the 2008 Trans Rockies winner about the defending champions. "But I'm glad that I was able to win today with Mirko."
Rothaus-Cube keeps on dominating ladies' category
The two sisters from Denmark, Kristine and Anna-Sofie Norgaard, are on their way to fulfilling their promise of winning every single stage. Today, team Rothaus-Cube secured the day triumph in 4:00:27. Natascha Binder and Bettina Dietzen of team Felt Ötztal X-Bionic / Cannondale Store followed as second. Therefore, the two Germans edged off their fellow countrywoman Katrin Neumann and her Mountain Heroes teammate Danièle Troesch with 31 seconds to third.
Senior Master leaders falter
The current second-ranked team of the senior master category, Josef Pallhuber and Hartmann Stifter, put high pressure on the bearers of the Green Leader Jerseys Ferdinand Ganser and Georg Niggl. The South Tyrolean Green Valley Team 100 finished the stage in 3:47:59, thus reducing the arrears by three minutes down to 9:51 on defending champions Team Craft.
According to this, Ferdinand Ganser, who has been struggling since stage 1, had to admit. "It's going to be a close decision. Normally I'm way stronger but it seems that 20 percent is missing."
Swiss duo max Bertschinger and Thomas Rüegg of Thomax Bike rounded out the podium as third.
Business as usual on master side as top team withdraws
Just like the three days before, Udo Bölts and Silvio Wieltschnig dominated the fourth stage within the class of the teams with a minimum total age of 80 years. Team Cube needed only 3:19:41.3 to finish the stage.
And just like yesterday, it was the Namibian-Austrian pairing Garmin adidas/Bike and Soul, consisting of Mannie Heymans and Reini Woisetschläger who finished as the runner-up duo. The TransAlp master winners of 2006 through 2009, Heinz Zörweg and Ekkehard Dörschlag of Austrian Team KTM, finished third.
So far, second ranked title aspirants Johann Grasegger and Georg Koch of Scott / RS Janger had to withdraw from the competition due to an injury Koch had suffered in a crash yesterday.
Mixed leaders again in front
Pia Sundstedt and Daniel Gathof of Craft-Rocky-Mountain were again the mixed team to beat on stage. They finished in 3:36:59. There were also no changes for the other two podium spots. Like the days before, Milena Landtwing and Heiko Gutmann of Rothaus-Cube crossed the finish line as runner-ups, thus relegating Jane Nüssli and Markus Hochstrasser of credo-bikes.com to third.
Stage 5 Preview: Livigno, Italy to Ponte di Legno, Italy
While the first four stages have been - at least for the TransAlp experienced racers - quite well known, the last four stages will be new territory. For the first time, the route leads across the Passo di Verva and the notorious Mortirolo Pass to Ponte di Legno, a stage with no equal.
The raw data shows why day five will be the one to survive: 106.84 kilometres and enormous 3,461 metres of ascent will take riders from Livigno to the new stage town. However, it will also be a treat, the trails from Passo d'Eira to Passo Trela may be the best in the 2010 route.