Battle between Swiss and French on way to Aschau – Chiemsee.
The dramatic south face of Austria’s Hochkonig massif today played host to epic battles and duels between athletes as both the leader and chaser packs took advantage of flyable conditions on the way to Turnpoint 3, Aschau-Chiemsee.
In the lead was five time champion Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) but this year he’s got company in the form of French athletes Benoit Outters (FRA1) and Maxime Pinot (FRA4), as well as Austria’s Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1).
They all reached the Turnpoint at about 2:00pm before starting the journey to Turnpoint 4, Kronplatz, 120km to the south, which they could reach as early as tomorrow morning.
Being able to get into the air was a huge relief for athletes who’d spent most of yesterday afternoon and much of this morning hiking up to 50km. Time in the air means time not spent hiking, and that’s always good news for sore legs and blistered feet.
The effort on the ground was not in vain however, as most of the field had cleared Turnpoint 2, Wagrain-Kleinarl, by 8:00am this morning. First to make the Turnpoint yesterday evening was Toma Coconea (ROU), who arrived to huge cheers from a crowd of well-wishers who’d stayed up to see him come in. Maurer was next, arriving just minutes before the mandatory rest stop begins at 10.30pm, having hiked non-stop for six hours.
With Wagrain-Kleinarl cleared most athletes have now switched their focus to Turnpoint 3, Aschau-Chiemsee in Germany.
Charging hard behind the leader group was the first gaggle of chasers, consisting of Manuel Nübel (GER1), Simon Oberrauner (AUT2), Toma Coconea (ROU) and Aaron Durogati (ITA1), who managed to recover from a slow start and a night spent on the top of the Tennen mountains, to blast through the rankings.
One athlete has pulled a Night Pass today – Lebanese rookie Rodolphe Akl. With the first elimination of the last-placed athlete taking place on Wednesday, his position is now looking very dangerous and he’ll be hoping to leapfrog a few places to get out of the danger zone.
Head over to Live Tracking to find out what happens next. http://www.redbullxalps.com
ABOUT RED BULL X-ALPS
Red Bull X-Alps 2019 is the world’s toughest adventure race, covering over 1,138km of alpine terrain. It will start on June 16, marking the ninth edition of the race. 32 world-class athletes from 20 nations take part in this grueling journey from Salzburg to Monaco only by foot and paraglider – their every move tracked and played out to an audience of millions via the Live Tracking. The competition field consists of 16 veterans, 15 rookies and one defending champion who will be looking to add a sixth consecutive victory to his resume.
Along the way, the athletes will pass 13 Turnpoints in 6 different countries. Prior to the main event, the one-day Prologue race will see athletes jostle for a prime position. The top three finishers will earn themselves an additional Night Pass; allowing them to continue onwards once through the mandatory rest period.
This year’s route brings the racers into both familiar and new terrain – but you can count on every single day showing us rocky ascents, dizzying flights and crucial, strategic decisions – a challenge for body and mind. With a more demanding route than ever before, Red Bull X-Alps 2019 will be full of drama, adventure, and high-alpine action. The winner will need to be smart, strong, a master of both planning and reactivity – and have a little bit of luck. Red Bull X-Alps 2019 is the world’s toughest adventure race – and it’s starting soon.
MAIN IMAGE: Red Bull X-Alps 2019 Athlete across Turnpoint 3 Aschau – Chiemsee © zooom.at / Felix Wölk