The 2013 Alpentour Trophy stage race in Austria is shaping up to be a battle between mountain bike stage race specialists and some top cyclo-cross riders. The race will happen from May 30 to June 2.
The Telenet-Fidea 'cross team is sending a strong contingent to the UCI-categorized S1 event. Team leader Rob Peeters will be joined by fellow Belgians Tom Meeusen and Joeri Adams and Dutchman Tijs Al. U23 'crosser Jens Vandekinderen is also attending.
Another squad, the AA-Drink Cyclo-cross team, is sending Bart Aernouts and Thijs Van Amerongen.
They will all compete against former U23 'cross world champion Enrico Franzoi, an Italian who has raced for Liquigas and Lampre. Franzoi has been steadily improving his mountain bike skills and last month finished an impressive fourth place in the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. Franzoi will race on the same team as 2012 AlpenTour Trophy winner Kristian Hynek, who is also the reigning European marathon champion.
Top male mountain bikers already registered include Thomas Diestch and Simon Stiebjahn (Team Bulls); Jiri Novak, Hans Becking, Jeroen Boelen, Bart Brentjens and Paul Rodenbach (Superior=Brentjens); and Spencer Paxson, Cory Wallace, Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon (Kona).
Anne Terpstra (Superior-Brentjens) and Helen Wyman (Kona) are the likely favorite in the women's race among those already pre-registered.
Each stage will start and finish in Schladming except the stage 2 time trial, which will finish at the Schafalm Planai. All four stages are held in the famous Austrian ski areas of Schladming Dachstein, Planai, Ramsau, Reiteralm and Haus im Ennstal.
Last year's Alpentour Trophy was won by Hynek and Sally Bigham.