- Venue: Mayrhofen (AUT) - Riva del Garda (ITA)
- Date: 15-22 July 2017
- Distance: 545km
- Climbing: 18'000m
- Position: 6th
- Time: 23h27
Soon after arriving in Mayrhofen, I joined the boys for a coffee in the beautiful town, when the news was broken to us, Alban is still suffering the effects of some damaged ribs and the team will be shuffled around with Kris and JB racing together, and Alban teaming up with me in a supportive roll.
Sad to say, but the Transalps is not one of my favourite races… Firstly because there is often a lot of asphalt roads, almost always a minimum of half the stages. Secondly the long climbs just gets boring, climbing for and hour or more is just not that entertaining, so thank goodness for hairpins! Thirdly I do not think it is safe since often we also descent on these asphalt or small roads and cars or tractors going up is career-ending crash waiting to happen. And lastly I feel the organisation is not up to scratch for a top level bike race with lacklustre route markings, no clear rules and no photo finish offered.
So why do we do this race? It is the oldest stage race in Europe and even though the media is not incredibly big, it gets lots of attention for our sponsors. It is absolute incredible in the Alps! Some might be used to it, but for an African, a Dutchie or a hobby-rider it must still be one of the best experiences with the amazing views. And my personal biggest reason to do this race, well, actually any stage race, is to join our fantastic team for a journey, laughs and a fun time!
I worked hard for this one, especially after suffering last year for various reasons, so wanted to get the weight down and work on the climbing. It was good choose to skip other invitations this year and go up the mountain for my climbing-camp. It seemed to have worked as I was really close to the leaders and got stronger and more confident in my abilities throughout the week, so super happy to end off the week in 6th overall position!
It worked really well racing with Alban! We had a nice strategy of not over-exerting ourselves and ride a smart race from start to finish. I only have compliments for the three-time-World-Champ. It was nice of him to step down after not feeling 100% and give JB a chance. It was nice that he wanted to race with me. With no 2-minute rule at the Transalps, he also made sure he was with Kris and JB for some assistance when the pace got just too hot for me. It was a special and motivational experience!
Kris and JB had a very good race and especially for JB who took the opportunity that was offered to him and suffered to hang on too some of the best climbers in mountain biking, was great to see, even inspirational, and a solid consistent race saw them 3rd overall and on the podium in Riva!
Also on the podium was our friend and partner from Canyon, Julien Biefang, who placed 2nd in the mixed category with Stefanie Dohrn!
As always, thank you so much to our supporters and staff! In a week-long stage race like this, everyone is working super hard, and great to always have smiles and good spirits around us. How lucky are we with great staff!
Images | Markus Greber | Miha Matavs | Sportograf
Video | Transalps Report