Following the first stage win in the sprint against Andreas Kugler (riding for Multivan Merida) and the donning of the leaders jersey, Alban Lakata’s luck ran out on the second stage. A defect saw him lose a lot of time, and only with the help of the Team mate Robert Mennen was he able to reach the finish line in Bischofsheim. The Austrian National Champion slid down the overall classification to fourth place. On the third stage, despite another problem with the equipment, he was able to pull out a second placed finish “Really I have to thank Robert, without his help this finish would not have been possible” Lakata said, at the prize giving. By way of an explanation, hearing of Lakata’s poor luck, Mennen allowed himself to fall back, to help bring his team mate back to the front. Mennen then left the race at the end of the stage, as on his race programme, the German Bundesliga looms this weekend.
The fourth stage saw the Alban’s bad luck run continue. With two punctures, he was almost speechless at the finish line, trying to understand what was happening to him. “Sometimes it is like that. No matter what you do, these things happen. The annoying thing is that the form is there” the Austrian said, who at over 17 minutes behind the leader was in eighth position. “For me now, the chances of winning this race are very low. The time difference is just too large for me to play a deciding roll on the podium.” With this in mind, Lakata made the decision to abandon the race.
Team Topeak Ergon’s Manager, Dirk Juckwer added “Normally it isn’t what you do. A stage race is an experience in itself, and you should finish. However, given the circumstance, and the Austrian National Marathon Championships on Saturday, it makes sense to protect the rider so he will be able to defend his jersey”.
As a contrast, the British Marathon National Champion, Sally Bigham is riding a terrific race. On a daily basis she is climbing up through the general classification. Yesterday’s fourth stage saw her in second position overall, leading Nina Glaesser (Kona Norway – Geilo IL powered), and behind Esther Süss (Wheeler iXs Pro Team). The endurance expert is having a fantastic time in her first season with Team Topeak Ergon.
The weekend coming sees the team fighting on many different fronts. Bigham is set to be riding the final stage of the Trans Germany. Lakata is defending his Champion’s Title in Austria. On the cross country side of things, , Robert Mennen and Benjamin Brochhagen will all be riding the German Bundesliga. For Irina, this is a return to racing following a block of intensive training. Robert’s eye is on the overall classification, as is Brochhagen, who will be riding his 25th race this season.