On the second stage of the Alpentour Trophy, Colombian Hector Paez once again dominated, winning the men’s elite category ahead of his teammate Dario Cherchi (ITA). In the women’s category, Adelheid Morath (GER) claimed the day’s victory. The best Austrians were Michael Holland and Irina Fettinger.

The Queen Stage, leading to Ramsau am Dachstein, marked the second day of the 25th Alpentour Trophy. The 70 kilometers and grueling 2,760 meters of elevation gain presented a significant challenge to the over 400 starters, who particularly struggled with the oppressive humidity on Friday. “Today was really brutal,” gasped Styrian Wolfgang Krenn, the second-best Austrian of the day, visibly exhausted at the finish line.

However, there were also beaming faces. Title defender Hector Paez and his Soudal teammate Dario Cherchi (ITA) managed to turn the difficult conditions to their advantage. Paez, a two-time marathon world champion and Alpentour title defender, was once again the man to beat on the second stage. After the mountain classification at Türlwandhütte, he crossed the finish line at Planai Stadium first, in 3:14:01 hours. He was followed by his teammate Dario Cherchi (ITA / 3:15:40) in second place, who managed to keep Colombian Diego Cuervo (3:17:40) at bay in the final stretch.

Paez and Cherchi now also lead the overall standings. “We took it a bit easier today, watching our competitors’ form. When Filip Rydval and some others in our lead group fell back halfway through, we seized the opportunity for a decisive attack,” the top two finishers recounted at the finish.

From an Austrian perspective, there was a clear improvement on the second stage. Michael Holland showed immense strength, finishing eighth in the top ten with a time of 3:24:43 hours. 

In the women’s elite category, Adelheid Morath dominated again, winning in 4:09:36 hours, ahead of Czech riders Milena Kalašovà (4:15:32) and Karla Löffelmann (4:20:01). The best Austrian was Irina Fettinger in sixth place (4:31:02), while Claudia Krenn also made it into the top ten, finishing tenth.

There will be no rest on the third stage tomorrow, Saturday; on the contrary, it remains just as demanding. After starting from Schladming’s main square at 10 a.m., the route leads over Hochalm to the mountain classification at Reiteralm, then down to Rohrmoos-Untertal. The finish is once again at Planai Stadium after a challenging 59 kilometers and 2,580 meters of elevation gain. For the leaders Paez and Cherchi, the strategy is clear: “We will approach it similarly to today. First wait, then attack when the opportunity arises.”

Tomorrow also marks the premiere of the new “One Day Alpentour Marathon.” Three different single-day options are available: Large (59 km/2,580 m), a Medium variant (32 km/1,150 m), and a Light variant (13 km/450 m), ideal for beginners and hobby riders.

Kids will also have their moment to shine tomorrow. At the City Sprint, held for the second time, children and teenagers from the age of three can compete in categorized elimination races with tricycles, balance bikes, or regular bikes. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. at the main square in Schladming, following the start of the third stage.

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