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Red Bull X-Alps


Athletes Begin To Suffer

Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : zooom / Harald Tauderer

Christian Maurer (SUI1)

Those left in the race are starting to hurt - and there's still a long way to go.

The strains are starting to show as the remaining athletes still battle their way to Monaco. Of the 31 who started the race in Salzburg 10 days ago, now only 22 remain in the fight, the rest either eliminated or injured. And most of them are managing some kind of injury or niggling discomfort. "The Red Bull X-Alps is certainly living up to its title as 'the world's toughest adventure race'", says race organizer Ulrich Grill.

"This is the race at its hardest and it's psychologically very tough for athletes. They've been going so long yet still have so far to go to Monaco due to bad weather and the sheer number of miles and vertical metres that remain. They will have to dig deep to get through this and will be learning a lot about themselves, that's for sure."

The first aid kits every athlete was supplied with by DermaPlast at the start have been raided multiple times; noses have been taped to beat the sunburn, blisters have been bled and patches applied while some have taken even more drastic measures to keep going.

At the back Krischa Berlinger (SUI2) has taken to walking downhill backwards to ease the pain in his ankle. "I will be using crutches from now on," he says. A bad right knee is also affecting race leader Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), slowing him down and causing some discomfort, even while flying. "It's just while on the flat, walking uphill is no problem," he says. "I can feel the pain also in the air. To push the bar with the left leg is ok but the right leg in hard conditions it can hurt."

Not that he is doing much flying. He hiked to the summit of Monte Freidour, 1,445m this morning. It's to the west of Turin, some 140km from Monaco, but only managed a short glide and by early afternoon had covered only 30km.
 
But someone who's been making the most of the weather is Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1). "He's been flying a blinder," adds Grill. "I'm really impressed. He took a very bold and difficult line over the Italian lakes and has flown past the gaggle and is currently third." His impressive run continues. Today he tagged Turnpoint 6, the Matterhorn and had covered 93km by early afternoon, of which 72km were in the air. There are not many people putting in distances like that at the moment.

If Guschlbauer takes a different line over the Maritime Alps he could yet challenge Benoït Outters for second place. The Frenchman was just 40km ahead. All eyes remain fixed on the weather and the glimmer of hope that tomorrow will bring a better day.

Nelson de Freyman (FRA3) has pulled his Ledlenser Night Pass tonight. He is the only athlete to do so. De Freyman, who supported this year's participant Antoine Girard (FRA1) in 2013, is currently in 12th position, 106km from Turnpoint 6 having already covered 1,761km – 440.6km on foot.

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