Saturday, September 1, 2012

Billy Burns and Ben Abdelnoor claim the first stage of Gore-Tex Transalpine Run 2012

It was under threatening skies in the small Bavarian town of Ruhpolding, that the stage was set for the start of the 2012 GORE-TEX® TRANSALPINE-RUN. 300 teams from 32 countries around the world gathered at the start area in the town centre for the compulsory kit check, the nervous excitement levels running high. Heavy down pours on the surrounding mountains the day before resulted in a slight route change for stage 1, and with cold temperatures and light rain forecast throughout the day, running conditions were never going to be easy.
In the men’s category it was a suprise win for the team from INOV-8 Billy Burns and Ben Abdelnoor who crossed the finish line in 4:26:18.
Having only met the day before the event, Billy and Ben ran an impressive last 10km to overtake the second place finishers from Team Salomon, Iker Karrera and Philipp Reiter who finished just over a minute back in 4:27:24. Third place went to the Team Dynafit pairing of Marc Pinsach and Marc Sola crossing the finishline a further 11 minutes off the pace in a time of 4:38:53.
Commenting on their stage win today, Billy Burns said "The rainy and cold weather never really bothered us but with slight knee problems, the flat parts were tough". Phillip Reiter from Team Salomon, was quite humble about their second place seeing commenting "there are still 7 stages to go so anything can happen".
In the women's category it was the Italian pairing of Elisabeth Egarter and Petra Theiner from Team Sexten Salomon who opened their race with a brilliant effort, setting up a lead of more than 4 minutes over their closest rivals, crossing the finish line in a time of 5:35:35. Team Mountain Heroes Gitti Schiebel from Germany and Ildiko Wermescher from Hungary fell off the pace after the second half of the stage finishing in a time of 5:39:17.
In the Mixed category once again, one of the GORE-TEX® TRANSALPINE-RUN regulars, Gaby Steigmeier proved her pedigree finishing in first place with fellow Team Salomon Swiss team mate Roman Nef in a time of 5:26:01. It seemed to be a close fought battle all morning with the second placed duo of Team Buff, Che Bustillo and Nur Dominguez crossing the finishing line in second, a mere 1:35 behind them in a time of 5:27:36.
A solid performance in the Masters Category saw Marcus Kröll and former mountain running world champion Helmut Schiessel from Team Salomon Austria finish in first place, third overall, in a time of 4:36:16. Seasoned veteran and multiple GORE-TEX® TRANSALPINE-RUN winner Thomas Miksch is not competing this year, leaving the door open for some new blood. Miksch, who since last year has moved into the Senior Masters category, could not find a partner for this year’s event and will skip the race for the first time since its inception.
In the senior category and finishing inside of the top 50 overall, Rolf Schlachter and Eugen Sinz of the all-German Team, ran an impressive run through the wet and muddy conditions to finish in a time of 5:22:18.
Stage 2 Snapshot - St. Johann in Tirol to Kitzbühel
At 34,8km long and with just over 1800m of vertical ascent, the second stage is not one of the hardest of the GORE-TEX TRANSALPINE RUN.
Containing some high alpine passes from the Wilde Kaiser to the Kitzbüheler Alps, the route becomes quite steep shortly after the start in St. Johann with partly exposed sections up the Wilden-Keiser-Steig. The route then descends rapidly from the highest point at Brennender Palven before climbing once again to the Bergstation Astberg, the last of the tougher climbs. Then it's downhill to the finish, passing through Reith on the way to Kitzbühel.

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