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  • Red Bull X-Alps Athletes Battle Onwards But Bad Weather Slows Progress

    Maurer passes the Matterhorn but bad weather slows down the rest of the pack at
    Red Bull X-Alps 2017.

    Christian Maurer (SUI1) now has Monaco in his sights and a clear run to get there after Gaspard Petiot (FRA2), his nearest rival, dramatically pulled out of the Red Bull X-Alps yesterday after suffering a hand and knee injury while landing near Lake Como. “When I was about to touch down, a thermal bubble smashed me on that wall and that was it. The dream is over.”, Petiot said.
    All eyes are now on Maurer. In good conditions he could be Monaco in a couple of days. But both he and the chasing athletes behind him are facing a weather front that is making flying all but impossible. By mid afternoon thunder clouds were rolling in over the northern shores of Lake Como while sporadic storms were breaking out.

    Maurer says that four to five days is probably the best estimate for making goal. “The weather is not really flyable for the next day or so,” he said.
    If it does take longer than 11 days, it could be the slowest time he’s ever made the finish since starting the race in 2009. That year it took him just under 12 days. His record is 6d 23h in 2013 – but both were on shorter courses.
    Although the outlook is not good, he said he’s still feeling strong, and the team’s Swiss efficiency, for which they’re noted, is still running like clockwork.

    “I’m within my comfort zone and flying as before but I also have better planning, better logistics, I can push more on the ground,” he said.
    For the chasers now lying 100km back, Sunday was a day that offered a difficult choice between hiking up for a short flight on glide only, or just plugging away on the road.
    Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) had made two flights by lunchtime. Neither involved much, if any, thermal activity, but he has covered a lot of ground and cleared Lake Como. Stanislav Mayer (CZE) also made a flight but the gains were small.

    Most midfield athletes opted to hike along the main road. “It’s so hard,” says Simon Oberrauner (AUT4), of the decision whether to fly or hike. “It looks flyable but I’d need to hike up 1,600m which would take three hours and I know the front is coming. I need to conserve energy.”
    At the back Duncan Kotze (RSA) has been eliminated. The 41-year-old rookie was in last place 47km behind the nearest competitor when the axe fell. “Bizarrely, I feel ready for more,” he said.

    Benoit Outters (FRA4) will use a Ledlenser Night Pass this evening. The rookie, who is currently in 2nd place and 97km behind Christian Maurer (SUI1), has two night passes, after earning an additional one during the Leatherman Prologue.
    He will likely push hard, to gain as much ground on Chrigel as possible. Benoit is a talented ultrarunner and could significantly narrow the gap. He will also want to extend his 38km lead over 3rd place Paul Guschlbauer and the pack behind him. As the Frenchman moves towards home soil, the final race for Monaco is on!

    Follow all the action on Live Tracking on redbullxalps.com

  • Red Bull X-Alps Athletes Pass Lake Garda

    The Red Bull X-Alps 2017 ‘peloton’ swings by the Italian lakes before heading north back into the mountains.

    The fight for 3rd place heated up today as athletes tagged Turnpoint 5, Monte Baldo, before swinging north into the high mountains again. While Maurer (SUI1) and Petiot (FRA2) are still battling it out at the front.

    Outters, a top ultrarunner and paraglider pilot, looks to be in strong contention now after clearing Turnpoint 5, Monte Baldo early this morning in 3rd place. Pal Takats (HUN), who had a great run yesterday from the mountains north of Merano to the shores of Lake Garda would also have been in the running, but he now has to serve a 48 hour time penalty for violating an airspace infringement. During this time he is not allowed to move more than 250m from his location. (Evgenii Griaznov (RUS) must also serve his 48 hour penalty from tomorrow.)

    But after that, it’s wide open with Stanislav Mayer (CZE) and Manuel Nübel (GER2) in hot pursuit. The pair reached Turnpoint 5 shortly before 10am this morning. They were followed about an hour later by Sebastian Huber (GER1) who is now back in the game after a few difficult days. “To the Matterhorn,” he shouted, as he ran from the signboard to the take off. Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) who yesterday fell from 3rd to 7th place was next to arrive. “I’m really pleased to finally reach this turnpoint,” he said.
    Close behind was Simon Oberrauner (AUT4), Ferdinand van Schelven (NLD), and Pascal Purin (AUT3). The group had a spectacular start to the day with a dawn raid on the Brenta. Purin, Huber, van Schelven, and Oberrauner all launched from a spectacular location at 2,500m next to the Rifugio Pedrotti, in the Brenta Massif.
    Another athlete enjoying an unstoppable run is Gavin McClurg (USA1). Although he is not where he’d like to be, he’s been slowly clawing his way back, making some good distances in the air and is now in 16th place behind Toma Coconea (ROU) and heading towards Italy.

    None of the athletes have pulled their Ledlenser Night Passes tonight. That means all the athletes still in the race will rest for the mandatory period between 10.30pm and 5am.
    Looking ahead, one athlete will be eliminated at 6am on Sunday. The last athlete is currently Duncan Kotze. He faces the axe unless he manages to pass Jose Arevalo Guede (ESP), who is currently 50km ahead, before 6am tomorrow. Follow all the action on Live Tracking on redbullxalps.com.

  • Red Bull X-Alps Race Wide Open As Heroic Frenchman Catches The Eagle

    Gaspard Petiot does what no one has done in eight years of Red Bull X-Alps – take the fight back to Maurer.

    A new chapter in Red Bull X-Alps history was written last night as Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) achieved what no one else has in the eight years that Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) has dominated the race. He caught up with him.

    This year Maurer made his break on Day 2 after taking a different line over the Hohe Tauern and yesterday morning it looked like his position was secure, having opened up a 100km lead.
    But he hadn’t reckoned on Gaspard Petiot, the mechanical engineer and alpine guide from France, who had caught up with him by lunchtime. The pair were last night taking the fight back into the heart of the mountains which offer better flying conditions than the more direct line over flatlands to Turnpoint 6, the Matterhorn.

    Behind them in hot pursuit lie Benoït Outters (FRA4) who overtook Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) to move into third place and two chaser groups working together to fly faster.
    In other developments three athletes, Tom de Dorlodot (BEL), Pal Takats (HUN) and Evgenii Griaznov (RUS) have each been handed down 48 hour time penalties for infringing airspace violations. De Dorlodot must sit out the race for 48 hours from 5am tomorrow.

    “It’s very disappointing, but we’re going to keep trying, despite the penalty,” said de Dorlodot. Takats said he was angry with himself because it occurred on his home turf around Innsbruck. But he’s determined to carry on: “Not making Monaco is unthinkable. I was doing so well, but I was just tired and concentrating on other stuff. Anyway these things happen and now I have a new challenge to make Monaco.”

    Athletes also face a new challenge – the weather according to Morecast. Today was clearly not as good a flying day as yesterday. The weather across the Alps is split. In the northern Alps, where the chasing pack is, there are good flying conditions. On the southside, where Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) and Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) are battling it out head-to-head, the flying conditions are less good. Will the peloton catch up to the leaders?

    Follow all the action on Live Tracking on redbullxalps.com

     

  • New helmet gives cyclists electronic rear mirror

    A world-first innovation, Cyclevision has secured a $100,000 Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas grant to take its product to market – after devising the ‘smart helmet’’ featuring video streaming technology to give riders advance warning of impending collisions.

  • Master plan to guide WA mountain biking

    The push to transform Western Australia into an international mountain biking destination has received a boost with the release of a master plan to guide the development of trails in Perth and Peel.

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