What a finish at today's sixth stage of the 2010 TransAlp. Massimo de Bertolis and Mike Felderer of the Italian squad Full-Dynamix put in incredible pace work today en route to their second stage win on the 72km route from Ponte di Legno to Malé in 3:13:02. Team Bulls, which rolled into the Val Di Sole stage town only 0.4 seconds behind of the winners, took over the overall lead again after they lost the yellow jerseys back on stage 2.
Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm now sit in first overall, with a lead of 1:39 over today's third BiXS iXS Pro Team, consisting of title defenders Lukas Buchli and Thomas Stoll from Switzerland, who came in after 3:16:37.
Previous race leaders Multivan Merida Biking Team lost precious time due to a mechanical at kilometre 40 and thus finished the stage in fifth with a gap of almost eight minutes. Hannes Genze and Andreas Kugler, who had earned the overall lead yesterday, is now third, 5:35 behind Platt/Sahm.
A flat halfway through the stage threw Genze/Kugler off course. But that mechanical wasn't the only factor in their disappointment as they lost of all hopes for a TransAlp victory. "Thereafter, our two adapters also broke. As if that wasn't enough, our food station didn't work out, so I ran out of energy in the end," said a devasted Genze, a former European Champion.
While the mood was bad among Multivan Merida, things were way better for Mike Felderer, who enjoyed the second stage win of his team. "It was a super nice day with incredible trails. We are very pleased with the result." The 25-year-old South Tyrolean, who dedicated today's triumph to German actor Heinrich Schmieder, who passed two nights ago, also answered a question regarding the flat of their rivals. "At first we didn't know what to do and put ourselves in neutral. But it wasn't a crash, and we were fighting for the stage win."
Platt/Sahm face are well positioned to take their third TransAlp win. They previously won in 2007 and 2008.
Sahm said, "I also had a flat at kilometre 12 and had to change the wheel. Of course it's an uncomfortable situation but Full-Dynamix went for the win, and we also had to reduce the gap to the BiXS iXS riders."
While Sahm was still recalling the last stage, Platt felt some satisfaction in the finish area at Malé. The six-time TransAlp champion said right after the standings shake-up. "I wasn't expecting that it would work out as well as it did. But I'm happy that my form seems to be back. I couldn't understand why I was struggling so hard the first three days as I had trained very well before."
Team Cube rides to next victory in the master category
Udo Bölts and Silvio Wieltschnig have clinched their sixth stage win at this year's TransAlp. The former cycling pro from Germany and his Austrian teammate mastered today's routing in 3:26:16.
The Namibian-Austrian pairing Mannie Heymans, the 1998 winner of the first ever TransAlp, and his partner Reini Woisetschläger of Garmin adidas/Bike and Soul finished second. Heinz Zörweg and Ekkehard Dörschlag followed as third. Both Austrians of Team KTM thus have to bury their hopes for a TransAlp victory five-peat as they are now almost one hour behind the race leaders.
Sundstedt/Gathof with fifth win in mixed classification
After they rolled in as runner-ups yesterday, Pia Sundstedt and Craft-Rocky-Mountain teammate Daniel Gathof threw in another triumphant ride. The second ranked team of the mixed category, Milena Landtwing and Heiko Gutmann of Rothaus-Cube, finished second after 3:51:24. Jane Nüssli and Markus Hochstrasser of credo-bikes.com rounded out the podium in third.
Pallhuber/Hartmann claim third senior master stage win
Green Valley Team 100, consisting of Josef Pallhuber and Hartmann Stifter, has claimed victory on the stage to Malé (3:57:34.7). In the senior master ranking, today's second ranked Team Craft with Ferdinand Ganser and Georg Niggl are still sitting in first position with a comfortable lead over the two South Tyrolean riders. Daniel Feuz and Adolf Steiner of Crazyveloshop-Scott celebrated their first podium result as third.
Norgaard sisters in winning mood again
Anna-Sofie and Kristine Norgaard of Rothaus-Cube have brought home stage win six out of six. The two sisters rode 4:07:14 from Ponte di Legno to Val di Sole. The top-three ladies teams also include Germany's Natascha Binder and Bettina Dietzen of Felt Ötztal X-Bionic / Cannondale Store as second and German-French Mountain Heroes Katrin Neumann/Danièle Troesch in third.
Stage 7 Preview: Malé, Italy to Madonna di Campiglio, Italy
The shortest stage of the 2010 Transalp is only 47.73km. It might seem like a sprint stage, but the climb to Rifugio Orso Bruno can be characterised asreal torture.
Starting in Piano, the route leads over 20 kilometres and 1,300 metres of ascent uphill to an elevation of 2,100 metres, where the Brenta is within reach. Those who master this task can relax as the last part of the day descends down to Madonna di Campiglio.