Into The Swiss Alps on Day 6
With the 15th edition of the Transalpine Run entering its final stretch, the 40km sixth stage would see competitors leaving Samnaun for the final time, en route to the picturesque Swiss town of Scuol. Although weather conditions had changed severely – sun and blue skies giving way to colder temperatures and persistent rain – only a few notable upsets to the overall standings loomed.
n the MENS category, Swiss brothers Stefan and Martin Lustenberger of Team Willkommen Im Sonnental continued their winning ways, securing a sixth consecutive stage win in the process in 4:05:30, extending their overall lead to 51 minutes. Mike Baumgartner and Adrian Zurbrügg of Team Daniel Schürch Ag would take second place in 4:13:46, outpacing Ramon Krebs and Gabriel Lombriser of Team Salomon Running Schweiz into Scuol who finished just five minutes back in 4:18:13. "We are still happy with our performance today, but we know we still have work to do to hold onto our second place overall," said Lombriser.
In the WOMENS category, Suse Spanheimer and Ida-Sophie Hegemann of Team Salomon Running Deutschland mirrored the leading men, the German duo also logging a sixth consecutive stage win in 5:29:02. “You can be strong one day, weak the next,” said Spanheimer. “We still have a bit of work to do before we cross the finish line in Sulden.” The surprise upset on the day however would come from triathletes Lisa Marie Wilmsmann and Ricarda Ida Günner of Team Racing Aloha – Endless Local, finishing strongly in second position in 5:40:15, good enough to move them into third position overall.
“We both felt really good at the start,” said an ecstatic Wilmsmann. “We ran with so much excitement, it was such a great stage!” The Russian duo of Nataliya Mamaeva and Elena Anosova of Team Blond Power, continuing their calculated running, claimed third place just 6 minutes back in 5:46:09. The Russians now find themselves in second place in the overall standings, with just a 4 minute lead over Wilmsmann and Günner.
Performance of the day came once again in the SENIOR MASTER MEN category, with Transalpine Run veterans Anton Philipp and Seppi Neuhauser of Team Kleinwalsertal – Sport Kessler winning the stage in a cool 4:32:24, finishing fourth overall for the stage and further extending their overall lead by 5 minutes over Italians Anton Steiner and Oswald Wenin of Team Stilfserjoch Stelvio Marathon. It was however a sad day for the MASTER WOMENS leaders Stephanie Gil and Sonja Herbst of Team Laufsport Saukel as they were forced to withdraw from the race at the first aid station, Herbst having suffered from an extremely painful tendinitis on both shins.
"That's just how it goes sometimes,” said a visibly disappointed Gil. “We had expected nothing, but feel we achieved a lot with with four stage wins and the overall lead after stage 5." This would open the door for Pia Winkelblech and Sandra Schmid of Team Orthol Sport Perform who would go on to win the stage, sum 23 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals in 5:56:33, taking the overall lead in the category.
Stage seven starts in Scuol (1195m) in the Unterengadin region of Switzerland and first heads along the Inn river down to Sur En (1133m). It is here that the first uphill section of the day awaits, passing through the picturesque Uinaschlucht canyon and on to the first refreshment station at Uina Dadaint (1763m). Runners then cross over into Italy at the Schlinigpass (2261m) and pass the Sesvennahütte hut on their way to the Höferalp, where they turn off to Schlining (1738m). It is here that they will catch sight of the mighty Ortler for the first time.
This iconic mountain over 3000 metres will accompany the athletes in the final days. The next section leaves the Schliniger Tal valley and takes participants to Laatsch (983m), along the Etsch river as far as Glurns (913m) and Soles (898m). All that then remains is the final push along beautiful single track trails up to the Schloss Lichtenberg castle and then down to Prad (907m).