The hardest mountain-bike stage race in the World begins

Solid performance from Lakata and Wiens sees 16th place finish


Today it finally began.  After the disappointment of yesterday with the heavy snowfall, the 550 two man teams got underway.  Not that the winter conditions hadn’t had their effects.  The stage was shortened to 50km from the planned 87.6km, with the headlining climb, the Gieseljoch being dropped from the stage.  The conditions up high were simply too harsh – instead the finish line was moved to Rothaus, with the final ‘transfer’ to Mayrhofen being made along cycle paths.

Benefiting from a little luck at the start, the pair in the Green and Black jerseys of Team Topeak Ergon set off with the lead pack.  After the first long climb, the pack split, and unable to keep the pace they crossed the line a minute down.  The stage was 2h 24m 40.7s long for the duo, putting Team Topeak Ergon in 16th place overall.  For a mountain goat such as Dave, used to riding in Colorado, he wasn’t completely happy with his performance.  “I know that I have a finish within the top ten within me, but I am struggling with jetlag a little, and last night it was very difficult to sleep.  I hope the exertion of today will help me sleep tonight and tomorrow will be better.”

A planned stage of 94.83km is on the cards tomorrow, with over 2100m of climbing.  It will be a brutal day.


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