Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) passed Turnpoint 6, the Matterhorn, yestterday morning, and then made slow progress south towards the final Turnpoint at Peille. With some flying and some hiking he is now just over 200km away from goal.
Maurer announced yesterday afternoon that, because of the weather conditions, he would take the Italian route to Monaco - unlike in the previous four editions where he has flown through France.
The bad weather may actually help Benoit Outters, who has pulled a Ledlenser Night Pass and was making the most of the day with a late evening flight at 19:30. He is 86km behind Maurer, but he is also an accomplished ultra-runner and mountain man - by taking a direct line towards the Matterhorn across serious alpine terrain it is not inconceivable that he could close the gap considerably overnight.
Yesterday evening he said: "I am feeling fine! I just had a good flight, and now I plan to walk to a mountain refuge and spend the night there at 2,200m. In the morning I will hike up to a ridge, take off, fly to another ridge, climb up, fly, and get to the Matterhorn this way".
Behind him, Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) is in third position. He has run his own race through this edition of the Red Bull X-Alps, and today he continued to do the same. He took a line further south compared with the rest of the chasing pack. It meant he had to hop across two big lakes by air, and run around one.
Further back, the chaser pack kept on chasing - just for most of the day it was along the road. While Pal Takats (HUN) enjoyed an ice cream on the shores of Lake Como while starting his 48-hour time penalty, the others motored through.
One athlete who did his own thing was Nick Neynens (NZL). He went north, a long way off the course-line. Why?
"It all started yesterday, when I had a cracker of a flight", he explained from the road. "I got to Lake Garda by flying and then had another great flight. So today I was trying to do the same thing and stay high, but I didn’t make one transition across a valley so I drifted north - because I thought that looked like the best chance of getting high. But I was wrong. The clouds overdeveloped and there were some storms. I landed before the storms, and then there was another flyable window later, but it was weaker conditions".
He wasn’t too downbeat about the lost time. "I prefer flying to hiking", he said, adding: "I’m now planning to hike on and get into a good position for an early morning glide down to Chiavenna. Physically I’m doing ok. My legs are good, I have the odd blister from the first day but nothing serious".
From front to back the athletes are now spread out over 550km.