BIKE Transalp: Change at the top

With 112 kilometres the fifth stage has been the longest stage of the race. Also the rain showers and the 3000 meters of climbing didn`t make it easier. The stage victory and so the yellow jersey goes to the Swiss Urs Huber and the German Simon Stiebjahn (BULLS). Second and thrown back after a crash came Jochen Käß (GER) and Daniel Geismayr (AUT) with a gap of almost three minutes. The Italian Marco Rebagliati and the Norwegian Champion Ole Hem (Wilier 7C Force) reached the third podium 

Folgaria, 18 July 2019. Enchanted trails through the forest, the crystal clear water of the Lago di Calaita and a last look at the Dolomites: The fifth stage led from San Martino to Folgaria – unfortunately attended by some rain showers. But until the first riders reached the finish, the sun has come out. First and with a great lead, Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn, who reclaimed the yellow jersey, finished the stage. 2.55 minutes later Daniel Geismayr and Jochen Käß crossed the finish line, obviously drained. At the last ascent team BULLS had been able to break away. But the German-Austrian duo almost catched up again, before they were thrown back by a crash. 

40 more seconds behind, Marco Rebagliati and Ole Hem reached Folgaria, defeating their third overall podium. Today on the following positions: Roel Verhoeven and Tim Smeenge (NL), Martin Frey (GER) and Hansueli Stauffer (SUI), Juul Van Loon and Bart Classens (BE), Manuel Pliem and David Schöggl (AUT).

A very emotional moment occurred when the German rider Alexander from Team MAXXIS crossed the finish line, kneeled down and pulled two rings out of his pocket to propose to his girlfriend. The two have experienced a lot of adventures on the mountain bike together, so Alexander could not think of a better spot for the proposal, he says after she had said yes. 

Overall 700 riders from 37 nations take part in this year’s BIKE Transalp. Some have travelled a long way like Carlos Barrios. The 41 year old mountain biker lives in Guatemala. “I needed one challenge in my life”, he explained – and he chose BIKE Transalp. He is riding in the individual classification. “Riding alone can sometimes be quite crazy for your mind”, he says. “But luckily you get to meet so many people here and make new friends.” And if the motivation is shrinking, he thinks of his six year old daughter. A colourful bracelet reminds him, who is waiting at home. “That motivates me!” 

The only participants from South Korea are Jonghwan Kim and Sangho Lee. They came all the way, to breathe the air oft the Alps for seven days. It is incredible challenging – especially during the first days – the tough climbs, the unusual food,… „But after the first stages we were able to really enjoy the great landscape.” 

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