On The King's Stage
Otherwise known as the “King's Stage”, the fourth stage of the 15th edition of the Transalpine Run is a brutal yet classic alpine affair that would take the runners into Switzerland, en route to the ski town of Samnuan, via the Abzweig Compatsch Grenze at 1722m. Controlled, calculated running by all of the leading teams ensured there were no major upsets in the overall standings, however a few surprise podium finishes meant that it was by no means time to relax for some.
Enjoying a 35 minute overall lead in the MENS category, brothers Stefan and Martin Lustenberger of Team Willkommen im Sonnental, continued their impressive form to win the stage in 5:02:03. “We are far from over, a lot can happen between here and Sulden,” commented Martin. Clawing back valuable time however, Ramon Krebs and Gabriel Lombriser of Team Salomon Running Schweiz, finished strongly in second, only 6 minutes off the pace in 5:08:46, with Mike Baumgartner and Adrian Zurbrügg of Team Daniel Schürch Ag finishing third in 5:12:15.
In the WOMENS category, the German duo of Suse Spanheimer and Ida-Sophie Hegemann of Team Salomon Running Deutschland seemed unstoppable in their quest for the ultimate prize in European stage racing, winning in 6:09:37, a new record for the stage, previously held by Swedes Lina and Sanna El Kott Helander who earlier in the day had sent Spanheimer and Hegemann a good luck message. Sadly, it would be the team of Susi Lell and Marie-Luise Mühlhuber of Team Salomon Running, having given it their all on stage 3, ultimately succumbing to the fatigue, opened the door for newcomers Lisa Marie Wilmsmann and Ricarda Ida Günner of Team Racing Aloha – Endless Local to claim their debut stage top three, finishing in 6:39:13. “We really can't believe it,” exclaimed a visibly ecstatic Günner. “We both said that we wanted to have a good day, and to finish second is truly satisfying.” Nataliya Mamaeva and Elena Anosova of Team Blond Power, ensuring they left nothing to chance, maintained their pace from previous stages to finish in 6:53:12.
The MASTER MIXED category continues to deliver some exciting racing, with the top two teams constantly going toe-to-toe over the past few days, the Italians Anton Steiner and Oswald Wenin of Team Stilfserjoch Stelvio Marathon ultimately winning this round in 5:19:07, reducing their deficit by 10 minutes on the overall lead, currently held by the German of Anton Philipp and Seppi Neuhauser of Team Kleinwalsertal – Sport Kessler who finished second in 5:29:07. "We are not giving up,” professed Steiner. “We want to make the impossible possible, so we'll we attack every day until the red carpet at the finish in Sulden.” In response to the Italians onslaught, Anton Philipp remained confident: "Sure, the two South Tyroleans are strong, but we are going to continue running our race.”
After the start in Samnaun (1814m) runners continue out of the valley to Ravaisch (1802m). From here the cours ascends sharply and consistently via steep meadows, through rocky terrain up to the Fuorcla (2304m) and across the Salaaser high plateau to the mountain restaurant Salaas (2454m). After one last sprint runners reach the finish up on Alp Trida (2500m). Prizes are also up for grabs for individual winners in each category, with teams not required to complete the stage within 2 minutes of one another, the standard regulation for the remaining stages.
Stage 5 Stats
Start Time: 10:00am EST | Distance: 7.8 km | Vertical Ascent +834m | Vertical Descent -149m
For stage four and overall results, please click here