Day one at the 16th Alpentour Trophy provided its competitors with ideal weather conditions. The first stage of the four-day event ran for 59km and 2,900m of elevation up to the Hochwurzen Mountain and continued across the snow-covered Giglach Lake plains and back to Schladming. The strongest rider of the day was the 31-year old Leonardo Paez (COL), who was 28that the Olympic Games in the cross-country event and who won the bronze medal in last year’s Marathon World Championships. The Columbian rider dominated the entire first stage in Schladming together with Paulissen and today’s third, Tony Longo from Italy, before he was able to break away just before the finish. “It was very hot and the snow near the lakes, where we had to push our bikes, was quite the different. I really happy with my result and definitely want to push on hard toward an overall win”, said Paez after the race.
The double-World Champion Roel Paulissen was pretty content also with his second place, “Leonardo was just too strong today. I’ve known him from many previous races, he’s just a top athlete.” The Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner from Lower Austria was also happy with his fifth place, “I’ve trained very hard for the Alpentour Trophy this year and my legs felt good. Today was an extremely difficult stage and I hope that I’ll be able to improve my overall position during tomorrow’s time trial.”
Also the Brazilian National Champion, who’s bringing a bit of the Soccer World Championship-flair with him to Schladming, showed a strong performance today: Henrique Avancini placed as eighth in the elite category.
Ukrainian wins the Elite Women’s race
The Ukrainian rider Yana Belomoina had been one of the major favourites for this year’s Alpentour Trophy already ahead of its start in the elite women’s category. And the Ukrainian National Champion, European Champion and World Cup winner confirmed that status very impressively today. In 2010 she raced her first Alpentour Trophy and with four second placings she claimed the overall second place then. Today she finished the first stage in 3:32:07, ahead of the Swiss rider Milena Landtwing who came in with a gap of six minutes. Third was the Slovakian rider Janka Keseg.
Further category winners
Well-known names dominate some of the other categories: The former road racer Andreas Dolling won the Elite Masters 1 class, the Styrian Peter Lammer came in ahead of the former MTB-super star Bart Brentjens (Olympic and World Champion) in the Elite Master 2 category.
Tomorrow time trial
Tomorrow’s second stage of the 16th Alpentour Trophy starts at 10am at the Planai stadium. More than 14km and 1,100m of elevation will have to be concquered up to the Schafalm high above Schladming.