Just a few days prior to the start of the 5th CRAFT BIKE TRANS GERMANY powered by NISSAN in Sonthofen (GER) June 1st, the last official entries of some of the top teams have been mailed in. According to this, a strong international field will battle for the title after defending champion Christoph Sauser had already announced a few months ago that he will go for a back-to-back win at the stage race, which will wrap up in Maurach/Achensee (AUT) June 4 th. Among the top pros are several mountain bikers, who are able to be a major threat for the Swiss 2010 winner, who had announced optimistically last week, that he is in a superb shape.
The chase group is led by the three-time Austrian Champion: Alban Lakata was the only one being able to keep up with the 2000 Olympic Bronze medallist last year. The 31 years-old from East Tyrol finished as runner-up and was also able to win one stage.
After also being successful on the opening stage in 2009, Lakata is now shooting for the moon. No wonder as he not only lost his lead two years ago but also had to quit the race after some frustrating technical defects.
“I definitely go for victory although it will be a tough nut to crack,” the Topeak Ergon Racing biker said. “Last year, it was a close battle with Susi (Christoph Sauser). This year, I hope to beat him and to get my revenge. I want to win this race once!”
In addition, Multivan Merida Biking athlete Hannes Genze, who missed the Trans Germany crown by only one minute in 2009, is also ready for redemption. “Two years ago, I had one rainy day when I lost more than two minutes. But due to three stage wins I was still pleased with my result. Last year, I wasn’t in such a good shape. So, I hope to be among the ones battling for the podium this time again.”
Nevertheless, the 2005 Marathon European Champion, who prepared totally focused on the race, which is the kick off for his main competition block, expects a tight race: “It will be a tough fight and due to some asphalt sections pretty fast.”
His team mate Andreas Kugler (SUI) shares the same opinion. “It will be exciting as there are many top guns in the forefront – while Christoph Sauser is the man to beat.” However, the 31-years-old pro from Frauenfeld, who skipped last year’s race to win the national title, has an ambitious goal: “I want to podium.”
How it’s like to place in the top 3 is something Thomas Dietsch definitely knows. The 36-years-old Frenchman, who secured his third national title in the marathon discipline this spring, won in 2008 in a team of two and in 2009 also the first ever edition for single starters.
And as the 2003 and 2004 European Champion rode the 2009 stage race in the jersey of the Grande Nation, 2011 could be again a year under a lucky star.
“After I won the French Nationals I took a break, just to come back with some hard and serious training to get in shape for my second race half, which starts with the Trans Germany,” the Team Bulls pro said. “I hope to make it once again on the podium.
But Dietsch also emphasized the strong competition: “There are many very good riders. It will be very hard. If you go for victory it’s all about balls to the walls!”
Penthalon for the women’s title
Also on the women’s side, several mountain bike aces are ready to go thus promising a high class event. Besides last year’s third ranked Swiss girl Milena Landtwing of Centurion-Vaude, also the Finnish top biker Pia Sundstedt will start. The CRAFT – Rocky Mountain athlete couldn’t finish last year’s race due to injury suffered from a crash on the third stage.
In addition, the British Champion Sally Bigham (Topeak Ergon Racing), the 2008 Hobby Biker World Champion Natascha Binder (FELT ÖTZTAL X-BIONIC) and the Danish dynamite Kristine Norgaard of Factory Team CUBE are part of the main aspirants for the title.