Saturday, July 13, 2013

Red Bull X-Alps 2013: Day 7

The race for second place took a dramatic turn Saturday after Frenchman Antoine Girard (FRA2) took an inspired move across the high mountains south of Sion, Switzerland in the approch to Mt Blanc. For the last few days the 33-year-old teacher, who is taking part in his first Red Bull X-Alps, has been racing alongside Jon Chambers (GBR) and Clement Latour (FRA1).
It has become the race to follow on Live Tracking. The three have been jostling for position since Turnpoint 4. But while Chambers and Latour both opted for the north of Sion, at lunchtime on Saturday, Girard forked west to fly to the south. It's a gamble that looked set to pay off. By mid-afternoon, he had gained 20km on the pair.
"In my eyes, it was a very good decisión", says race director Christoph Weber. "North of Sion there is restricted airspace, the risk of headwinds and weak thermals. But Girard is in a place of good thermals, which last for one-and-a-half hours more in the high mountains".
But anything could still happen. Meanwhile, up front Christian Maurer (SUI1) looked on the point of reaching Monaco but it was impossible to guess when exactly he would make the city-state.
Lying in 26th place, Pierre Carter (RSA) pulled a Night Pass on Saturday so he will hike through the night into Sunday. At the back, the competition is just as fierce, if only to avoid being knocked out.
Provided Maurer does not make Monaco by 06:00 on Sunday, the team lying in last place will be eliminated. (Once the first athlete makes goal, there are no more eliminations.) So there's still everything to play for.

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