Just like yesterday, Alban Lakata (AUT) and Robert Mennen (GER) were the dominating racers on the course, clinching the second Tyrol stage of the 15th Craft Bike Transalp. Team Topeak Ergon Racing mastered the Alps classic’s third stage from Ischgl, Austria, to Nauders, Austria and thus 67.83 km and 2,720 meters in elevation in 3:04:49.5 hours.
According to this, the two pros reduced the gap on today’s second ranked overall leaders Markus Kaufmann (GER) and Thomas Stoll (SUI) of Centurion-Vaude/BiXS iXS (3:05:39.9) in the elite ranking by 50 seconds.
Lakata and Mennen also bettered their team ranking to the second position in the classification, moving ahead of today’s third-placed Karl Platt (GER) and Tim Böhme (GER) of Team Bulls (3:12:22.6).
German Marathon Championships runner-up Mennen said in the finish of Nauders, which was only once part of the Transalp routing (2002) before: “Let’s see how the next days will be. It’s still a long way to Riva; so everything is still possible for us.”
However, he and his team mate have to make up 4:55 minutes on men in the Yellow leader’s jerseys.
Nevertheless, Lakata added: “We didn’t make up that much time but we had some very strong legs. There are still five days to come, so we will definitely seek our chances.”
And also the chased mountain bikers of this year’s Transalp know that their currently comfortable lead can fade away faster than expected.
“If we lose about one minute every day, we might make it to Lake Garda in top position. But we will fight and give our best. We want to keep the Yellow Jerseys as long as possible. But this will be a hard task as Lakata and Mennen are very strong,” said reigning German Marathon Champion Markus Kaufmann.
The 30-years-old and his partner lost contact to Lakata and Mennen not until the last climb to Norbertshöhe and thus were able to keep up with them until close to the finish.
Before, the two top ranked duos had broke away in the ascent to the Idjoch (2,737m), the high point of this year’s eight-day event, which obstructed the field right after the start of the stage and subsequently extended their lead by working well together.
Master leader de Bertolis and Deho overall third
Massimo de Bertolis (ITA) and Marzio Deho (ITA) duped the most of the elite teams with an incredible performance. Team Adamelloski, which is actually racing unrivaled in the category for the teams with a total age of 80+, finished the third stage in third overall position and thus certainly won the stage in the master classifier in 3:10:02.6 hours.
Andreas Laner (ITA) and Johann Grasegger (GER) of Team Scott (3:27:03.3) as well as Anton Warter (AUT) and Heinz Zörweg (AUT) of Cube Factory (3:30:19.6) rounded out the podium as second and third respectively.
Team Gisler makes up time with back-to-back win
Due to their second consecutive stage triumph (3:43:36.8), Antonia Wipfli (SUI) and Patrick Jauch (SUI) reduced the gap to the leaders of the mixed table.
As the bearers of the Orange Jerseys of Black Tusk Racing by toMotion, Katharina Alberti (GER) and Matthias Gärtner (GER) needed about two minutes longer for the distance from Ischgl to Nauders than their rivals, team Gisler is now only the tiny mere of 37 seconds behind.
A fact which definitely scared the mixed leaders a little bit. “We were afraid of the Idjoch. This ascent was very steep. And the other two (Wipfli and Jauch) are stronger in the climbs while we can make up some time in the downhills. We really fought as hell to defend our lead. Now, it’s time to keep on fighting,” said Gärtner.
Lorenza Menapace (ITA) and Claudio Segata (ITA) of Press Riva del Garda came in third of the mixed classifier (3:46:53.1).
Landtwing and Bigham still the top dogs
In the women category, the one team show of Milena Landtwing (SUI) and Sally Bigham (GBR) of Centurion-Vaude/Topeak Ergon didn’t stop. The two race ladies in the Pink Leader Jerseys secured their third stage win in 3:46:39.0 hours.
Catherine Williamson (GBR) and Louise Stopforth (RSA) of Bizhub-fcf brought home the second spot (4:21:13.6) ahead of Andrea Kuster (SUI) and Angelika Niklaus (SUI) of Team Metz-Kraftwerk (4:26:03.9).
Senior Master leaders unbeatable
Also on stage #3 of the 2012 CRAFT BIKE TRANSALP Silvano Janes (ITA) and Walter Platzgummer (ITA) of Team Scott were in full control of their competitors crossing the finish line first in 3:37:26.4 hours.
Renato Burch (SUI) and Bärti Bucher (SUI) of BiXS Suisse followed as second ranked senior master team of the day (3:44:52.0) while Georg Niggl (GER) and Walter Perkmann (ITA) of CRAFT & Friends 7 earned another podium finish as third (3:57:15.8).
Tomorrow, the fourth and shortest stage of the Craft Bike Transalp leads over 52.66 km and 1,888 meters in elevation through Tyrol and thus from Nauders, Austria, to Scuol in Switzerland.