Miguel Caballero Ortega grew wings in today’s uphill race from Scuol’s town square to the plateau of Motta Naluns (2.130m) high above the Swiss spa community. His time of 38.57,6 minutes beat the previous GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run two-year-old record of Italian Michael Fischer by nearly a full minute. By the end of the day, the new record secured Team Trangoworld Gore-Tex first place in today’s stage. Race partner David Lopez Castan had not been in the best shape today finishing the race himself in 44:01.2 minutes. However, no other team managed to beat the Spaniards cumulative time of 1:22:58.8 hours.
The victorious Caballero clearly benefited in today’s 6,19 kilometer uphill sprint race from fellow countryman Tofol Castaner Bernat, the 2010 Sky Running World Champion. Castaner, who claimed second place today with teammate Miquel Capo Soler of Team TransMallorcaRun (1:25:38.7) had served as an ideal, albeit unintentional, pacer for Caballero. Today’s staggered start required Castaner to race right ahead of Caballero who, in turn, never lost sight of his predecessor. "Naturally that was good for me since I was perfectly able to use Tofol for orientation" Caballero, victor of this year’s Stava Skyrace, explained. "I’m very happy that I won today". Castaner from the Mediterranean isle Mallorca, in turn, was not displeased with the turn of events that left him in second place despite his blistering time of 39:41.4 minutes. He shared his assessment "It’s quite all right. In the beginning I did very well. But when the terrain got steeper, Miguel had a clear advantage using poles. I’m from an island where you don’t use something like that".
It may have been a spur of the moment decision for Miguel Caballero Ortega to use the benefit of having Castaner as his unintentional pacer. In the end, that circumstance offered him a unique opportunity that was simply too hard to pass up – and Caballero knew full well how to use it to his advantage.
Only yesterday, today’s victor had expressed different intentions altogether hoping to use today’s sprint race as a welcome opportunity to regenerate rather than exerting himself too much. Today, the Spanish Club Champion of 2010 retracted and commented tongue in cheek "I guess in hindsight and by definition I lied then".
The third team on today’s podium were Jethro Lennox and Joe Symonds of Scottish Team Inov-8 Gore-Tex Footwear (1:26:18.2). Symonds also claimed 3rd place in today’s individual ranking, racing up the 936 m of elevation gain in blistering 41:36.3 minutes.
The fastest woman today, Mireia Miro of Spain, may have frightened the odd male racer today as she passed a long line of competitors along the steep ascent to Motta Naluns at mind-blowing speed. In the end, she finished the race day in first place among the Women, trailing the victorious Caballero by only 6:45 minutes. Suffering from an aching hip on yesterday’s stage, the 23-year-old trail running and ski touring talent, showed little sign of weakness today. In the end, she required only 45:43.1 minutes to reach Motta Naluns which also put her in 15th place in today’s overall ranking.
Miro’s French teammate of Team Salomon International, Stephanie Jimenez (53:39.4), also put in a formidable performance today reaching the finish at 2,130 meters elevation in under an hour’s time. The two leaders were, in turn, able to slip on another set of leader jerseys for the upcoming stage from Switzerland into Italy.
Second-placing Claire Gordon and Fiona Maxwell of Scottish Team Shettletrot again lived up to repute en route to today’s hilltop finish by adding no more than 1:42:48.4 hours cumulative time to their race tally.
Isabel Sanjuan Tabuenca and Nuria Dominguez Azpeleta of Trangoworld Gore-Tex (1:54:28.1) returned to the podium today putting an early end to what some competitors may have mistaken as a bout of weakness on yesterday’s stage.
In contrast to the leading teams of all other categories, the vanguard Master team had to accept a setback today. Italians Anton Steiner and Klaus Wellenzohn of Team Latsch (1:34:01.6) finally managed to advance to the very top in today’s stage ranking abandoning what had become a trademark second-position after four days of racing.
Their cumulative lead, however, turned out to be merely eight seconds over Anton Philipp and Dr. Thomas Miksch of Team Haglöfs-Gore (1:34:09.8).
Trailing these two teams by more than two minutes were Stephan Tassani-Prell and Oliver Steiniger of Team Salomon Deutschland, who jubilantly celebrated their first podium ranking with a cumulative race time of 1:36:29.6 hours.
Local Gaby Steigmeier (SUI) literally feels right at home in Scuol and had no more than a few footsteps to the start area. She and team partner Seppi Neuhauser of Austria made the most of it and delivered a victorious ‘home run’ with a cumulative time of only 1:38:29.3 hours.
The two veteran racers in the Transalpine Run Series claimed a fifth consecutive stage victory and start into the second half of this year’s race from a most comfortable position.
Spaniards Leire Elosegui and Xabi Lekue of Team Xabi_Leire (1:44:48.1) delivered the second-best time of the day rejoicing over a first podium position. Overall second-ranked Team Salomon Deutschland around Andrea and Uli Calmbach had to resort to third place as their time added up to 1:45:25.0 hours.
What may seem as a snide heading, in fact speaks of great respect for the Grand Masters of Transalpine Run(ning). Rudi Schöpf (ITA) and Hans Hörmann (GER) of Team Latsch/Mountain Heroes once more outpaced their international centurion competitors.
The Senior Masters will continue to be clad in black (leader jerseys) on tomorrow’s stage to Bella Italia as their cumulative time of 1:46:02.8 hours beat the second-best Team Elbland Sachsen (GER) by nearly three minutes.
Hans-Dieter Jancker and Jörg Schmoltz of the latter team yet were greatly satisfied with their respective time of 1:48:44,6 hours, possibly also since they managed to relegate podium regulars Gerald Blumrich and Jörg Schreiber of Team Trail Magazin (GER, 1:51:00,6) quite unexpectedly to third place.
Three scenic highlights await the international field of racers on today’s stage across the international border to Italy. Uina Canyon, Schlinig Pass and finally the high trails to Plantapatsch should provide sufficient motivation to give it all on the 6th of eight days of trail running in the 2011 GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run. The stage ranks among the easier days in the race week with 37.02 kilometers and a single climb that packs ‘merely’ 1,332 meters of altitudinal gain.