After 18.500 meters of climbing, 560 kilometres, exciting sprint finals and many emotional moments the MAXXIS BIKE Transalp ended at Lake Molveno. 700 mountain bikers from 37 nations took part in the legendary mtb stage race across the Alps – to suffer together, cheer together and enjoy the amazing landscape. The race has been exciting till the last minute. Yesterday, it seemed quite sure, that the yellow jersey goes to Urs Huber (SUI) and Simon Stiebjahn (GER) from team BULLS. But on the last stage Jochen Käß (GER) and Daniel Geismayr (AUT) managed to catch up and overtake them. So the victory stays once more and for the seventh time in a row in the hands of team Centurion Vaude. Third podium won the Italian Marco Rebagliati and the Norwegian Champion Ole Hem (Wilier 7C Force)
There has not been such a thrilling BIKE Transalp for a long time. Over seven stages the 22nd edition of the stage race led from Tux in the Zillertal region to Molveno in Italy with a great trip through the Dolomites. On the first four stages the top teams fought out a head to head race and the gap between the title holder Jochen Käß and his partner Daniel Geismayr to the challenger Urs Huber and Simon Stiebjahn was only twelve seconds. Great for the spectators, who got to see sprint finals at the finish line. Only at stage 5 team BULLS managed to break away – and after Käß and Geismayr had to cope with a crash, it seemed that they were not able to close the gap of three minutes. Wrong: On the last stage Centurion Vaude attacked and finished with an overall lead of more than two minutes, while BULLS had to cope with a technical break down. “We are proud after this very tough stage and extremely happy, that we were able for this turn”, Geismayr said.
Käß had to clench his teeth after the crash. „We gave everything and rode full risk today. In the end maybe the justice won.” Bitter for team Bulls: „Due to the technical defect we lost our overall victory“, says Stiebjahn. „Still, respect for the others. They have been the stronger team and deserved to win. But next year we will attack again!”
To Marco Rebagliati and Ole Hem the third podium was unexpected, since they had actually planned to support their team mates Tony Longo and Gregory Brenes Obando. But things changed. Rebagliati: “Two stage victories and the third podium: That is a great result for us.“
“It was probably the most exciting BIKE Transalp for years with a fulminant final in Molveno”, says Jan Leschinski, responsible for the organisation. Very spectacular has also been the arrival of the best women team in the wonderful setting of Lake Molveno. The German Nina Hartleb and Elena Wagner rode out a huge lead of more than seven hours – something they would’ve never dared to dream of. „I still can’t believe it”, said Wagner and added: “We need more women at the Transalp!”
Similar clear was the victory of Stefanie Dohrn (GER) and Philip Handl (SUI) from Centurion Vaude in the mixed category. They started the race as favourites and no one was able to even get close to them. In the Masters classification Massimo Debertolis (ITA) and Dax Jaikel (CRI) rode several battles against the Italians Ivan Degasperi and Pierluigi Betelli. Finally the overall win goes to the former World Champion Debertolis and Jaikel, who is riding with a leg prothesis. Debertolis: “This is the third Transalp title for us, we are so happy.”
BIKE Transalp is very much about team spirit. But there are several mountain bikers that always wanted to take up the challenge, but could not find a partner. This year for the first time up to 200 individual starters got the chance to experience the original. Best rider in the men’s solo classification is the Columbian Diyer Rincom Gomez. The fastest woman was Helena Plasschaert (NL).