A spanish win crowned a beautiful day on the first stage of the GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run 2011. David Lopez Castan and Miguel Caballero Ortega of Trangoworld Gore-Tex handled the 27.20 kilometers and 1,806 elevation meters from Oberstdorf, Germany, to Hirschegg/Kleinwalsertal, Austria, in 2:40:01.0 hours.
Scottish runners Jethro Lennox and Joe Symonds from the Inov-8 Gore-Tex Footwear team came in second with a little over 12 minutes behind (2:52:37.8). Reigning Mountain Running World Champion Tofol Castaner Bernat and his team partner Capo Soler Miquel of TransMallorcaRun took the third spot on today’s podium (2:53:51.0).
However both members of the Spanish Mountain Running National Team admitted that they did not expect such a dominant impression of their physical abilities. „It was pretty surprising“, thought the 29-year old Miguel Caballero Ortega. His coeval team partner David Lopez Castan added, „we were running together with a few other teams at first, but after the first ascend we seemed to be by ourselves.“
From the Fiderepass-Hut (2,060m) on and further over the Wildenalpe (1,777m) and the Außerkuhgehrenalpe (1,622m) the two strong spaniards enlarged their lead consequently from about a minute to 12:36 minutes at the finish line. A fact that really pushed Lopez Castan for the upcoming legs. „We are going to give everything we got on each stage and if possible win even more legs“, as the National Mountain Running Champion of 2010 was quoted.
Heat and physical Problems slowed Rivals down
The two winners certainly benefitted from the hot temperatures on today’s stage. Especially their Scottish rivals really tampered with the heat. „Lately I had been running in Scotland more often and the temperatures there are different for sure“ said Joe Symonds. The brother of last year's winner Andrew also admitted to have slowed down his teammate.
„Jethro (Lennox) certainly could have ran faster today. But I tend to have problems with my stomach on every first day of any multi stage event. It is going to get better as we progress, that’s why I’m thinking it will bet he same this year.“
If the Scottish athlete is right, it should be an exciting race tomorrow when the runners have to surpass the biggest stretch and thus the Queen Stage on this year trail-running event. Especially since Philipp Reiter, the best German athlete, and his French teammate of the Salomon International Team contained themselves today. „We started off slow deliberately to not overpace ourselves right from the start“, stated the 20-year old Bavarian after the race.
Reigning Master class title defenders storm into Green Jerseys
Dr. Thomas Miksch and Anton Philipp have fufilled high expectations again. The two Allgau residents of Berglaufteam Haglöfs-Gore mastered the opening stage from Germany to Austria in only 3:04:44.5 hours and thus as fastest master duo.
According to this, the title defenders were about seven minutes faster than their rivals from Team Schlanders. South Tyroleans Anton Steiner and Klaus Wellenzohn finished on the runner-up spot within the class for the teams with a cumulative age of 80+ (3:11:28.2). Steffen Walk and Christian Stork of Salomon / Sport Reischmann followed in third (3:14:31.3).
Team Salomon International with best women team
On the women's side, Stephanie Jimenez (FRA) and Mireia Miro (ESP) underlined their call for the Transalpine-Run crown. The most favored athletes stormed in 3:22:33.3 hours into the finish securing their first stage win with a comfortable lead of more than 20 minutes on their pursuers. And that while taking it easy according to their statements in the finish area.
Spanish runners Isabel Sanjuan Tabuenca and Nuria Dominguez Azpeleta of Team Trangoworld came in second (3:44:20.8), followed by Scottish racers Claire Gordon and Fiona Maxwell of Shettletrot (3:47:49.3).
Team Salomon meet requirements in mixed class
Gaby Steigmeier (SUI) and Seppi Neuhauser (AUT) of Team Salomon have secured victory in the mixed category. The several-time Transalpine-Run participants crossed the finish line of the first stage after 3:26:55.2 hours and are thus on course Transalpine-Run win.
Andrea and Uli Calmbach of Team Salomon Deutschland placed second (3:35:09.2) while Sonja and Andreas Irdendorfer, who run for Austrian Team Innenausbau Irendorfer, rounded out the podium as third (3:36:52.2).
The stage from Hirschegg to Schruns is the Queen Stage of the 2011 GORE-TEX® Transalpine-Run.
Tough 53 kilometers and 2,481 meters of altitude difference pose an extreme challenge where just making it to Schruns within the time limit will be an athletic feat.
From the start at 7:00 until the close of the finish at 19:00, participants will have a total of 12 hours to cover this year's longest stage.
The best hiking paths and challenging trails lead through an impressive high mountain landscape. With the Allgau Alps, the Lechtal Alps and the Verwall group, this stage alone crosses three mountain ranges.