Paez secures first Columbian victory at the Int. Alpentour Trophy
After two stage wins he got it! On today’s fourth and final stage of the 16th Int. Alpentour Trophy from Schladming and across the Hauser Kaibling Mountain Leonardo Paez secured himself the first overall win ahead of his team mate Tony Longo (ITA). In celebratory mood was also the Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner who got his first podium placing today – he came third behind Lukas Buchli, today’s stage winner, and the Belgian rider Kevin Van Hoovels, who was second. In the elite women’s classification the Ukrainian rider Yana Belomoina dominated today’s race again courageously and took the overall title.
On today’s last stage with 56km and 2,000m of elevation the third in last year’s World Championship Leonardo Paez from Columbia took out the overall win at the 16th Alpentour Trophy, the biggest UCI mountain bike stage race for individual starters in Europe. However, the racing performance of a Swiss rider will surely go down in history: the 32-year old Lukas Buchli attacked in the first quarter of the tough 1000m elevation climb onto the Hauser Kaibling mountain and was able to hold his one-minute gap until the finish. “I didn’t think I would be able to break away, but the others weren’t able to chase me down. After my second, fourth and ninth placings of the last three days I can’t believe that I was able to win against such a high-profile field of riders today”, said a happy Buchli, who had been overall second behind Alban Lakata from Austria at the Alpentour Trophy events in 2008 and 2009.
Buchli ahead of Van Hoovels and Pernsteiner
54 seconds behind Buchli the chaser group of five riders reached the finish: the Belgian rider Kevin Van Hoovels took second ahead of Pernsteiner (AUT), Tony Longo (ITA) and Roel Paulissen (BEL). “This was a great preparation for the upcoming World Championships in two weeks for me. The event was well organised and I really enjoyed the race tracks with so many off-road trails and gravel roads. And the weather was kind to us also – we had four awesome days here in Schladming”, said Paulissen. A broad grin appeared on the 23-year old Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner’s face right across the finish line. Finally he was able to claim a podium position with a third place today! “Today the conditions were again ideal for me and finally I got my podium position. After these hard four days I’m now well prepared for the Austrian Marathon Championships next Saturday. I’m hoping for a medal.”
The overall classification
In the overall classification Leonardo Paez dominated and triumphed today with a gap of 1:03 minutes to his Bianchi-team mate Tony Longo, who won the “Mountain Stage Classification” on the second day. Overall third was the strong Belgian rider Roel Paulissen (plus 2:33 min) ahead of Hermann Pernsteiner (plus 4:54 min). Second-best Austrian was Markus Preiss who finished the race in 11th position. “The overall win is a dream that has come true for me. The depth of field was insane at the Alpentour Trophy this year, there were so many top bikers at the start (incl. 13 National Champions N.B.). I’d say that I’m now ready for the Marathon World Champs in two weeks – I want to score a medal there!”, radiated Paez at the finish.
Overthrow in the women’s classification
She raced with anger smouldering inside her and it paid off! The Ukrainian top-class rider Yana Belomoina out-performed the female field on all four days at the Int. Alpentour Trophy, apart from yesterday’s incident, which dampened her dominance and lost her the leader jersey. “Unfortunately I lost my way and 15 valuable minutes yesterday. Overall I dropped into fourth position. That really pissed me off and motivated me today to race hard. I’m content now and really happy about my overall win”, cheered the European Champion and World Cup winner. With an outstanding performance on today’s last stage, during which she finished 9:33 minutes ahead of the Swiss rider Milena Landtwing, Belomoina finally won the Alpentour Trophy with a 7:18 minute gap ahead of her rival. Third was the Belgian National Champion Githa Michiels (plus 9:54 min).
In the Elite Master 1 category Georg Koch won 1:07 minutes ahead of the German Thomas Holtkamp and 10:13 minutes ahead of fellow-Austrian Martin Mayer. Heinz Zörweg claimed the win in the Elite Master 2 category against the former road racing pro Peter Lammer (plus 31:06 min) and the former Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens (plus 1:07:21 hrs).
All results of today’s fourth stage: http://www.alpen-tour.at/54.0.html