Day Four of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017 looked set to be another epic battle in the sky as the lead athletes entered the stunning northern Alps of Bavaria and Austria.
In the lead was the race’s four time champion Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), who tagged Turnpoint 4, Lermoos Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, mid afternoon to cheering fans and well-wishers at the well known adventure sports hub.
Meanwhile, chasing hard behind him was Gaspard Petiot (FRA2), who has enjoyed two spectacular days in the mountains. He arrived at Turnpoint 3, Aschau Chiemsee at 08:30, looking calm, focused and relaxed – but determined.
The previous night the turnpoint had been the scene of a huge party as up to 1,000 fans converged to witness Maurer’s arrival at 19:00. He duly obliged the crowd with some acro moves before landing to sign the turnpoint board.
Meanwhile at the end of field, it’s farewell to Mexican athlete David Liano Gonzalez, who was eliminated this morning as he was in last place. From now until the end of the race the team at the back of the field will be cut every 48 hours.
Showing great sportsmanship, despite suffering from an overtraining injury that meant he would need to retire anyway, Gonzalez decided to keep going until the elimination time so that the competitor in front would not be cut.
“I knew if I quit then the next athlete in front of me would be eliminated, I didn’t want that and I would like to think if I had been in that position the person behind would do the same thing,’ he said.
Duncan Kotze of South Africa (Cape St Francis) is currently lying 26th overall in the grueling Red Bull X-Alps event.
Kotze commented, “This place is fantastic,” he said. “It’s amazing. I come from the coast so these are big mountains for me. They make Table Mountain look like a training hill.” He added: “The ascent up Mangard was really tough but I’m feeling better as I go on. Maybe my feet are just getting used to it. The first two days were frustrating, I made a mistake but other than that I’m feeling good and hoping to get 40kms on the Argentinian. I still have an ace up my sleeve and we’ll make a decision on whether I need to use that.” He says he’s going to wait for the air to develop and try and get up around midday with the goal of getting back into the Austrian Alps.”
Stephan Gruber (AUT2) had to pull out of the race yesterday evening suffering from ankle pain caused by wear and tear.
Two Rookies in the midpack showed what they were made of yesterday when they pushed through the rankings into the top 10.
Simon Oberrauner (AUT4) is competing for the first time, and yesterday made a big flight alongside race veteran Aaron Durogati (ITA1). Then, with Durogati suffering from a knee problem, Oberrauner cruised past him on the ground.
By this morning he was in a perfect position to have another good flight. ‘It looks like a really good day,’ he said. ‘The thermals are already coming up. I hope to get as far as the Kampenwand, land, and then run up!’
And Tobias Grossrubatscher (ITA2), a professional woodsman, also pushed through into the top 10. The 23-year-old is the youngest in the race – and was only 9-years-old when Toma Coconea (ROU) competed in his first Red Bull X-Alps.
No athlete has elected to pull a Ledlenser Night Pass so there will be no hiking through the night tonight.
Follow all the action on Live Tracking on redbullxalps.com.
Source: Port Elizabeth – MyPR.
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