Stage 5: Sarntal - Kaltern
Yesterday's third ranked Italian national team members Franz Hofer and Daniele Mensi clinched the fifth stage of the 17th TransAlp which led from Sarnthein to Kaltern today. The TransAlp newbies of Team Scott mastered the 67km stage in 3:20:21 and celebrated their first ever TransAlp stage win ahead of Markus Kaufmann and Jochen Käss of Centurion Vaude 1, who are still sitting in first position of the overall ranking with a comfortable lead over their teammates Daniel Geismayr and Hannes Genze, who finished third today.
The win of Hofer and Mensi is the first of an Italian team since 2011 when Mike Felderer and Johnny Cattaneo triumphed on the final day of the stage race.
However, Team Scott did benefit from a detour which their competitors took. After the two racers had led the field with an advantage of minute coming out of the first downhill their breakaway try came to an early end in the second climb of the day up to St. Apollonia.
When Hofer fell and also had to fix a flat tire, chances for a stage win of the Italians had already vanished into thin air until things went upside down again in the last descent from Boos over Eppaner Höhenweg.
Alban Lakata led the teams up in front to the wrong direction when he missed a turn which cost him and his Topeak Ergon Racing teammate Kristian Hynek as well as wearers of the yellow jerseys, Kaufmann and Käss, a few minutes.
Thanks to the local rider Hofer, who knows the place around, Team Scott was able to capitalise on the faux pas of their rivals bringing home their first ever Transalp stage win.
"We came here to get some stage race experience. We never thought to be eye to eye with the others that quickly. We believed in our chance to podium but now we have a third place and a win. It couldn't be any better although the last two days have been very exhausting," said Hofer.
While Team Scott celebrated their coup, the detour of the two top teams didn't have any negative effect on the general classification. Topeak Ergon Racing finished fourth and was able to edge off fifth placed Team Bulls 1 (Karl Platt and Urs Huber) out of the top-three of the elite ranking with an advantage of 10 seconds.
Centurion Vaude 1 confidently defended their lead and are still on a good way to keep hold on their Transalp title.
"All in all we are pleased with how the day wrapped up. We didn't lose time and controlled the pack. It's perfect. We defended the Yellow Jerseys, and that's the most important fact," said Kaufmann.
Hug and Fässler underline their claim on the women's title
After Swiss leaders Cornelia Hug and Andrea Fässler lost some of their advantage over their main pursuers yesterday, the wearers of the pink jerseys were able to strike back again today.
Team Crazy Velo Shop Scott mastered the stage from Sarnthein to Kaltern in 4:31:00 being 25 minutes faster than their main rivals from Austria.
Silke Schrattenecker and Barbara Mayer of Nakita Powermums came in after 4:55:33.
Sarah Bosch and Danièle Troesch of Mountain Heroes, third of the overall women ranking, rounded out the podium as third (5:04:07).
Mixed leaders Sally Bigham and Ben Thomas of Topeak Ergon Racing did so in their category (3:55:20).
Jochen Weisenseel of Team Sigma Rox Rocky easily defended his lead in the best climber classification for the red polka dot jersey ahead of Michael Schuchardt of Scott Bike24 MTN Team 1..
In the enduro, Florian Schön of Scott Bike24 MTN Team 1 is 1:02 ahead of Team Texpa-Simplon racer Andreas Kleiber.
Frank Demuth of Centurion Vaude 3 kept hold of the white jersey for the best U23 racer.
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