LAKATA WINS IN STEIERMARK

Alban Lakata repeats his 2008 performance winning the Alpentour Trophy!

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A four day stage race, the Alpentour Trophy takes place in the Austrian area of Steiermark.  The start and finish is in the town of Schladming, and for Lakata, this is his back yard.

The first stage at 71km with 2300m of climbing took place on Friday.  It allowed Alban to lay the foundations for the overall win, by the start of the second day he had 2 minutes 15 lead.  The 52km shortened course had been hit hard by winter conditions following the weather breaking, as the original finish was deeply covered in snow.  For the riders the stage was torture, with temperatures around freezing, sleet and snow.  For Alban, his fifth place finish allowed him to defend his position in the overall classification, “it was hard today, but I am pleased with my performance”.  The third stage on Sunday Lakata was beaten by Tony Longo (Full Dynamitics).  His 45 second lead over the line was not enough to take the overall classification from the Austrian.

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Lakata’s Strength in the Final

The fourth and last stage, at 72km promised to be an interesting race.  With only 44 seconds lead over second place in the overall, the tension was high.  However his 3hr 33m 37 for the stage also decided the general classification.  A carefully calculated tactical game allowed him to hold off the competition to retain the trophy.  At the end of 251km, with a 9450m climbed, Lakata finished with a lead of 1m 50 seconds on Longo.

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“Defending my title as the Champion of the Alpentour was extremely important for me.  Winning the stage race in the back garden, would be important for any athlete.  Beginning today with only 44 seconds advantage put me under pressure
but as soon as the gun went, I realised that today is my day.  I am looking forward to the podium, and a rest day!” Lakata said, straight after the finish.

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