Friday, July 22, 2011

Red Bull X-Alps 2011: Day 5

Great flying conditions today saw Red Bull X-Alps athletes finally take to the skies for some long flights.
At the time of writing, 14 of the top 20 athletes were airborne, flying around the spectacular Dolomites and towards Piz Palu, the fifth turnpoint. Live Tracking at redbullxalps.com went crazy with spectators worldwide following every move.
In particular, Michael Gebert (GER) has stunned spectators on Live Tracking by getting into third position overall, after such a dismal start which saw him at the bottom of the pack.
Max Fanderl (CAN) celebrated his birthday today with a good flight that has seen him maintain in 19th place.
With all routes firing, athletes bombshelled around the Tre Cime turnpoint today, Ferdinand van Schelven (NED) leading the charge down the south route.
He seemed intent on challenging Toma Coconea's (ROM) second position, and has landed, having covered 141km by air today already. Further north, Pierre Carter (RSA) and Helmut Eicholzer (AUT) are flying a new line to link up with Christian Maurer (SUI) and Coconea's north route.
Similarly, Finland's Jouni Makkonen and Honza Rejmanek (USA) are taking a tiger line due west, not following the pack along the south route.
Meanwhile, on the ground, Thomas Theurillat, supporter in the current winning SUI1 team, stated "We are prepared for any eventuality". A box in his van is marked "Chrigel: Next Move" and contains everything the Swiss defending champion needs for the next part of his day.
Theurillat and Maurer have written agreements as to how to deal with any mistakes or strong emotions, with clear strategies as to how to resolve them. An egg timer and waterspray sit next to the driver’s seat to help Theurillat wake up from power naps –a trick learned from Ellen McArthur, the world-famous solo sailor. Maurer is punching strongly west, and some anticipate he’ll arrive in Switzerland by nightfall.

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