Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Red Bull X-Alps 2011: Day 3

At 11:42hrs, Christian Maurer (SUI, picture attached) won the Glocknerkönig trophy presented by the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse for being the first athlete to reach the third turnpoint in the Red Bull X-Alps. He was shortly followed by Toma Coconea (ROM) and Paul Guschlbauer (AUT).
However, it was a tough day for other athletes. Two of the frontrunners, Christian Amon (AUT) and Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN) were forced to quit the race. At 6:30hrs, Amon quit the race due to a knee injury. Amon was leading for parts of the race yesterday, and was "extremely disappointed" to have had to quit the race. The long road sections of yesterday made for punishing times for athletes. This is the third time he has suffered an injury early on in the Red Bull X-Alps. Amon must now be wondering whether his knees are really built for a race like this. Then at 9:00 hrs, Ogisawa was eliminated. After a detailed evaluation of his track logs, Race Director Christoph Weber announced he had infringed airspace while en route to the Dachstein. Race organisers were clear that one of the main challenges of Day 1 was the tricky airspace around the Gaisberg. Paragliders, like all aircraft, have to obey airlaw and entering restricted areas is strictly forbidden. Ogisawa was the first pilot to reach the Dachstein and was gunning hard in this year's race, and it is a shame that he has had to leave the race because of his piloting error.
Some athletes managed to fly today, but strong winds of up to 80 km/h put paid to any hopes of flying around the Grossglockner. At 3798m, the mountain is Austria’s highest peak.
Meanwhile, Michael Gebert (GER) has stunned spectators by pulling back into the top fifteen. On the first day, Gebert launched from the Gaisberg and flew straight down. Sheer will power has seen him climb back through the rankings.

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