Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Red Bull X-Alps 2013: Day 3

It's day three of the Red Bull X-Alps and the race is wide open with teams spread out over 200km across the German and Austrian Alps. It's been a day of mixed fortunes for the athletes as they battled to dodge afternoon thunderstorms that made flying all but impossible.
Race leaders Christian Maurer (SUI) and Antoine Girard (FRA2) managed to escape the hail-storms that rained down on the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. Maurer hiked up the summit, the fourth turnpoint in the race at first light, launched at 07:00 and had flown 25km before 09:30.
However he was taking nothing for granted. "It's a long race and anything can still happen so I just have to go as best as I can", he said.
Other teams meanwhile who arrived later on the Zugspitze found difficult conditions to launch due to the bad weather. Meanwhile the picture at the back just got interesting as the prospect of elimination looms.
The team in last place at 06:00 local time on July 10th will be knocked out. Iñigo Gabiria (ESP) and Babu Sunuwar (NPL) both pulled Night Passes in a bid to stay in the race. Thomas de Dorlodot (BEL), Lars Budack (GER2) and Stephan Haase (USA2), who were all in similar positions, have also decided to hike though the night.
It was also a bad day for Raul Penso (VEN). The 39-year-old received another penalty, this time for infringing air space around Zell am See and received a 48 hour penalty. It comes on top of the 12 hour penalty he received for endangering himself on the Dachstein.
Not everyone had a bad day. Jon Chambers (GBR) managed to avoid a lot of the storm clouds by flying further north of the pack and was able to move up to fourth place as of 16:00hr.

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