Leonardo Paez reclaims Alpentour Trophy leader jersey
Third day, third changing of the guards in the overall classification at the 16th Alpentour Trophy: the Columbian stage winner from day one, Leonardo Paez, took back his “Schladming/Dachstein” leader jersey from Tony Longo on today’s third stage around the picturesque town of Ramsau at the foot of the Dachstein Mountain. The 23-year old Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner was in strong form again today and missed the podium narrowly with a fourth place. A new overall leader also in the women’s elite classification: The Swiss rider Milena Landtwing took the reign ahead of today’s stage winner Githa Michiels from Belgium.
After his stage win on day one, Leonardo Paez from Columbia, scored again at the 16th Int. Alpentour Trophy. With a second stage win the Marathon World Championship bronze medal winner from last year took the leader jersey off Tony Longo (ITA) on today’s third stage (69km/2,800m) around the Dachstein Mountain. At the first ascent towards the Türlwand Hut at the Dachstein Mountain a lead group of six riders formed, which included all race favourites as well as the Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner. Together they completed the steep climb of almost 1,000m of elevation in a record-time of 1:06 hours.
After the descent Paez increased the pace as the group passed the renowned ski jumping centre in Ramsau and was able to break away by himself at the half-way mark of the race. Until the finish the Columbian racer continuously increased his lead to the chaser group and won 1:36 minutes ahead of double-World Champion Roel Paulissen (BEL). Third today was the Italian Tony Longo (plus 1:38 min), closely followed by Hermann Persteiner from Austria (plus 1:40 min). “Today was great, I felt as strong as on the first day of the race. At yesterday’s hill climb time trial my legs were weak – maybe that’s just what I needed to recover”, said the 31-year old Paez im Ziel.
Sensational result for Pernsteiner
Hermann Pernsteiner, who wears the „Energie Steiermark“-leader jersey as the best Austrian, was the fastest local rider for the third time. “My legs felt great and today I desperately wanted to get onto the podium. And in the end I was so close, but missed it. Maybe I was too naïve when Paez attacked and wasted valuable energy for the finish. However, a fourth place overall behind the double-World Champ Paulissen is not bad either.”
Paez leads again overall
In the overall classification Leonardo Paez again took over the lead and will wear the “Schladming/Dachstein” leader jersey at tomorrow’s final stage. The Columbian holds a lead of 1:05 minutes ahead of Tony Longo (ITA) and the Belgian Roel Paulissen (plus 2:34 min), who seemed astounded at the steep climbs today. “Naturally, we don’t have those sorts of climbs in Belgium. Especially the ascent at the ski jump in Ramsau was insane. But the scenery rewarded us today – it was just beautiful!”, said the tall Belgian. With a gap of 4:58 to the leader, Hermann Pernsteiner’s chances to finish the Alpentour Trophy on the podium have become slim.
Belgian Michiels claims second stage win
The Belgian National Champion Githa Michiels showed a great performance again today and celebrated her second stage win after yesterday’s victory, “I was completely exhausted at the finish – I raced at the limit all day. I knew, that if I wanted to create a gap, today was the day, because I like climbing. The stage win is a dream come true, but the battle for the race win isn’t over yet.” Overall in the women’s field, the Belgian rider is only 36 seconds behind the Swiss rider Milena Landtwing in second place. Third is the Slovakian Janka Keseg Stevkova (plus 8:42 sec). A fall-back today for the overall leader so far: the Ukrainian Yana Belomoina reportedly took a wrong turn and lost valuable time.
Tomorow: final stage
Tomorrow’s fourth stage of the 16th Int. Alpentour Trophy will start at 10am at the Planai Stadium and will take the riders high up to the Hauser Kaibling Mountain, where the “King of the Mountain” competition will be decided at the Krummholz Hut on 1900m. Overall, 56km and 2000m of elevation will have to be completed.