Thursday, July 5, 2012

Salomon 4 Trails Second Stage

Today's second stage of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS 2012 offered quite a surprise as hitherto dominant leader-of-the-pack, Francois d'Haene, missed a pivotal trail turn-off just ten kilometers short of the finish line. The Frenchman, known to set a punishing pace, had managed to distance himself comfortably from his pursuers on the very last climb of the day but failed to play out his lead of several minutes by straying off the marked course. His closest competition, Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA), Philip Reiter (GER) and Jose Francisco Gutierrez (ESP), closed the gap arriving in Imst to claim podium positions. Francois d'Haene's fateful detour not only caused him to loose what had seemed another sure stage victory but also the overall lead in the four-day race.
Thomas Lorblanchet (FRA) used the surprising upset to charge ahead beating Philip Reiter (GER) to the finish line by mere seconds. His time of 4:05.58 hours for the 39.5 kilometer stage didn't just secure a stage victory but also advanced the former trail-running world champion to third place in the overall ranking. Yet, Philip Reiter' solid perfomance of 4:07.18 hours on today's trails securing him the leader jersey he had long coveted. Yesterday's second-placing Jose Francisco Gutierrez (ESP, 4:10.54 hours) arrived in third place today, his time allowing him to remain in second place overall. With only nine seconds separating him from the 20-year-old leader, the upcoming third stage should prove thrilling for both athletes and spectators alike.
Twenty-year-old Reiter commented on the surprising turn of events towards the end of the race when the cumulative climb of 2.288 m already laid behind the vanguard racers: "Once again Francois was very strong this morning and solidly extended his lead on the last climb. Thus, we were quite surprised that he had not shown up ahead of us at the third food stop. Naturally, I'm delighted to be wearing the leader jersey for a day – even though Francois would have deserved it more than me".
Among the Master Men, it was Santiago Obaya Fernandez (ESP, 4:19.43 hours) of Team Avientu Tierra Tragame who celebrated a consecutive victory extending his overall lead to comfortable 10 minutes.
Thomas Miksch (GER), the unflailing dominator of the Master Men category in the past, is racing as a Senior Master this season, clearly stirring up the ranks in that age cohort. Used to taking his competition to the cleaners, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Miksch finished first in his category today with a stellar time of 4:39.02 hours, already banking a solid lead of one hour after only two days of racing.
Team SALOMON's Regine Schlump (5:08.22 hours) also covered today's trails in blistering speed, arriving in Imst over nine minutes ahead of her closest pursuer. Schlump's overall lead tallies 21 minutes by now which bodes well for a top podium position in the Women category.
Gaby Stegmaier, who had claimed the fastest time among all female racers yesterday, was forced to withdraw from the race due to pulmonary problems halfway through today's stage. As a result, Sonja Irendorfer (AUT) moved up into top position among the Master Women with her stage time of 5:36.33 hours.

The route: 5 places - 4 stages – 3 countries
Four unforgettable days in breathtaking settings await the participants of the SALOMON 4 TRAILS. The route takes them from Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) over Ehrwald (AUT), Imst (AUT) and Landeck (AUT) to Samnaun (CH). Every day about thirty to forty kilometers and over 2000 altitude difference must be covered. In a high alpine terrain with altitude of up to 2800 meters above sea level the participants must be good prepared but also show some fighting spirit. The much sought-after finisher shirt awaits the runners after altogether 158 kilometers and 9800 altitude difference.

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