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Counting down to Trans Germany

2009 Trans Germany winner Thomas Dietsch

2009 Trans Germany winner Thomas Dietsch (Image credit: Peter Musch / Trans Germany)

The Trans Germany will begin on June 2 at the Richard-Strauss square, right in the center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. 1,200 mountain bikers will then hit the trail towards Lermoos, Austria, the finish town of the first stage, before the next days will bring some tough legs to Pfronten and Sonthofen (both in Germany) and the final finish in Bregenz, Austria. Defending champion Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) will line up in the first row facing some strong competition on his task to keep hold on the title earned last year.

And although the month of May didn't turn out well for him, Dietsch is optimistic for the upcoming four days of racing. "I didn't bring home any good results and didn't feel so good either. But I think my shape is coming back and I hope to be able to race in front."

The reigning French Champion also points out that the look of the race will be a different one compared to last year. "Because of the reduction to four stages, the race will be less tactical. You have to give 'full gas' in order to be in front. You have to be in front all day and cannot allow oneself the luxury to have bad legs at one day."

Strong competition in the battle for victory

Besides his German teammates Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, who both won the debut event of the Trans Germany in 2007 as a team of two, the main contenders for victory may be two pros from Multivan Merida Biking. Reigning German Champion Jochen Käß and his countryman Hannes Genze both clinched three out of seven stage triumphs in 2009.

Last year's opening stage, however, was won by another national champion. Austrian Alban Lakata is estimated to be highly motivated as not only the first but also the last stage leads to his home country. He will get some big support by another big name of the scene, his German Topeak Ergon Racing mate Robert Mennen.

In addition, there are two pros with huge international experience who could end up in the top three: World Cup riders Burry Stander and Swiss Christoph Sauser, one current and one former World Champion, are keen to do well at their first Trans Germany participation.

It will be the first appearance for Austrian Peter Presslauer, a 10-time national champ in cyclo-cross.

Enthralling battles shaping up in the ladies' and masters' competition

The women's race also looks like it will produce some exciting action. Finland's Pia Sundstedt (Craft-Rocky Mountain) and the Danish sisters Anna-Sofie and Kristine Norgaard (Rothaus-Cube MTB) are well-known top contenders in stage races.

Team Haibike rider Elisabeth Brandau, Hard Rocx biker Nina Gässler, Danièle Troesch (Fiat-Rotwild) and Sally Bigham (Topeak Ergon Racing), all have some previous Trans Germany experience that should pay off this year.

However, all the mountain bikers will have to face Trans Germany newbie Birgit Söllner. The former road cycling pro should not be underestimated, especially her strength. She will race along with Regina Marunde, a former pro from the 90s and an Olympian.

Among the masters, defending champion Johann Grasegger (Team Garmisch-Partenkirchen) will battle it out on a level playing field with Craft-Rocky Mountain athlete Carsten Bresser.