The 20th Alpentour Trophy finished today with an individual time trial onto the Planai Mountain with it’s finish at the Schafalm. The Austrian Christina Kollmann-Forstner, originally from the region, won her ‘local race’ for the third time. This year ahead of the Belgian Githa Michiels and the Czech rider Jitka Škarnitzlová. Also the Italian Tony Longo was celebrating his third overall win: he claimed the Alpentour Trophy title ahead of Austria’s Daniel Geismayr and the German Markus Kaufmann in a thrilling finish to the last meters.

For four days it was all about the mountain bikers in the Schladming-Dachstein Region - 34 countries were represented in Styria for the 20th Anniversary edition of this stage race. For the first time the Alpentour Trophy was promoting global peace as a partner event of the “Middle East Tour - Cycling for Global Peace”. The Austrian Alpentour Trophy organiser Gerhard Schönbacher is also the main driver behind this peace project, which will take place for the first time in March 2019. He has already succeeded in inviting Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli riders to Schladming, who competed together in the international field of riders of the Alpentour Trophy.

“This shows that Sport knows no borders! For athletes the sports performances and the mutual experiences at event like ours are what counts and this is a beautiful thing”, said Schönbacher today. Himself an ex-road pro racer, including in the Tour de France, he said that he was impressed by the achievements of his participants.

“The Alpentour Trophy is a true challenge and for us as organisers once again it has been a pleasure to witness how elite and amateur riders conquer each stage together and visibly enjoy the race tracks and the landscape in the Schladming-Dachsteinregion”, he added.

Christina Kollmann-Forstner and Tony Longo are our 2018 winners
Today’s fourth stage included 14km and 1300vm high up onto the Planai mountain. It was the crowning finish after a tour through the Styrian Alps with start and finish in Schladming for the past three days: Ramsau and the Dachstein past the Türlwandhütte on Thursday, Hochwurzen and the Giglach Lakes plateau on day two and the Hauser Kaibling mountain with a King and Queen of the Mountain classification at the Krummholzhütte for stage three. 
The two elite winners are Tony Longo from Italy and the Austrian Christina Kollmann-Forstner, who both claimed themselves an Alpentour Trophy victory for the third time.

Christina Kollmann-Forstner won with a third stage win today in 1h07:28. “Even though I had a solid gap this morning, similar to last year, it was really important to me to win the time trial”, she said. She had started her race today with a 10-minute gap, the racers went out on course in reverse order of the general classification in their categories. It was Githa Michiels who had started ahead of her and Kollmann-Forstner said that she had caught up to the  the Belgian National Champion half way up the mountain.

“That’s when I knew I was going well and that I would make it”, the 30-year old stage and triple-overall winner said today. She said that she hadn’t been able to enjoy the views, but that a ‘local race’ was special, “It was great to have my family and so many people that know me on the side of the track and cheering for me.”

Elite Men: a thriller until the very end

In the Elite Men’s it was a thriller up until the last few meters on the Planai Mountain. The top three in the the classification from this morning, Tony Longo (ITA), Daniel Geismayr (AUT) and Markus Kaufmann (GER) made sure to keep everyone on the edge of their seats until the end. Longo had been penalised by 2 minutes after yesterday’s stage because of an illegal wheel change with another rider and went into today’s race with a gap of 1:22 minutes. Only 38 minutes separated him from runner-up Geismayr after 14km at the finish today. It had been hard and he hadn’t felt as good as on the previous days the 33-year old admitted.

“The time penalty really upset me, because I didn’t think it was fair - we are a big team and always ride together and are registered in two separate groups with the International Cycling Federation UCI. The rider who helped me out was in the other group and in my opinion that was a minor fact, however, it also motivated me today”, said Longo at the finish. He was really happy with his victory and third title and this overall win was the thing that counted for him the most. He congratulated his runner-up Daniel Geismayr, who won today’s stage, and his team for an exciting race.

Geismayr said that he was content with his second place, especially after today’s stage win in 53:48 min, “Today I was really able to switch on my legs like I’m used to. After these three days I would like to congratulate Tony Longo, it was a closely-contested race! I love those kinds of races, when it’s all about the final seconds and my team and I were in good form, the event has been great, as always!”

Amateurs, teams and e-Bikers beaming with joy at the finish

The Alpentour Trophy is one of the most renowned mountain bike stage races in Europe with an international UCI ranking S1. This means that for elite racers there are not only a lot of points up for grabs, but also a considerable prize money pool. A majority of the field, however, participated in the amateur classifications, which offered solo and team categories as well as age groups for male, female and mixed teams.

Today there was also an e-Bike Challenge and after the so tight result from last year, when the e-Biker Thomas Kerschbaumer from Graz beat the elite stage winner Hermann Pernsteiner by only 24 seconds, this year it was the muscle power of Daniel Geismayr that was stronger. The Elite winner took 4:28 minutes off the e-Biker’s result - Koenraad Vanschoren is a race organiser himself and said that he uses his e-Bike to check the race track of the Belgian MTB Challenge. “These e-Bikes are great, I am not in great shape at the moment and such a hart track with out e-power would have been doable, but I wouldn’t have had as much fun riding it, that’s for sure!”, he said.

In the women’s it was none other than Janine Flock, the Austrian skeleton racer and eight-time National Champion, who finished in first on an e-Bike with a winning time of 59:26 Minutes. She had  been overcome with “incredible happy feelings” and it had been a “pleasant ride”, the 29-year old said. “There were really steep sections and with an e-Bike you can really dial it to your needs and use all the settings to have a great ride - if you want to put in more pedal power, you can adjust the support and if you want to ride with less effort, that is possible also - this is an important factor when we train. You can have a training effect and increase your heart rate and fitness without too much damage to your muscles”, she explained. She also added that the fun aspect was very important because with e-Bikes riders of so many different abilities were able to ride have fun experiences and share them with family and friends.

In this spirit the Alpentour Trophy will return to Schladming again in June. The 21st edition of the event will once again offer the classic stages to excite local and international visitors alike.

>>> Link to Online Results portal

Elite Men

Stage 4:

1 1 Daniel Geismayr AUT 28 TEAM CENTURION VAUDE 53:48  

2 15 Markus Kaufmann GER 36 TEAM CENTURION VAUDE 54:28 +00:00:40

3 30 Tony Longo ITA 33 Wilier Force 7C 32:47 54:32 +00:00:44 

4 66 Andreas Seewald GER 26 Rocklube Revolutional Racing 55:18 +00:01:30

5 58 Martino Tronconi ITA 22 TEAM BIKE INNOVATION FOCUS ROSTI 55:48 +00:02:00

Overall after 4 stages:

1. 30 Tony Longo ITA 33 Wilier Force 7C 9:19:45 --  

2. 1 Daniel Geismayr AUT 28 TEAM CENTURION VAUDE 9:20:23 +00:00:38  

3. 15 Markus Kaufmann GER 36 TEAM CENTURION VAUDE 9:21:21 +00:01:36 

4. 4 Jochen Käß GER 37 TEAM CENTURION VAUDE 9:24:37 +00:04:52  

5. 7 Uwe Hochenwarter AUT 31 Wilier Force 7C 9:31:49 +00:12:04  

Elite Women

Stage 4:

1 114 Christina Kollmann-Forstner AUT 30 Texpa Simplon 1:07:28 -- 

2 117 Maria Cristina Nisi ITA 32 TEAM BIKE INNOVATION FOCUS ROSTI 1:08:46 +00:01:18 

3 111 Githa Michiels BEL 35 Versluys Team 1:10:15 +00:02:47

4 118 Angela Parra Sierra COL 36 CBZ-7C-WILLIER 1:11:06 +00:03:38

5 121 Andrea Böttger GER 33 MTN CREW 1:11:28 +00:04:00

Overall after 4 stages:

1. 114 Christina Kollmann-Forstner AUT 30 Texpa Simplon 11:22:08 --  
2. 111 Githa Michiels BEL 35 Versluys Team 11:35:02 +00:12:54  

3. 110 Jitka Škarnitzlová CZE 28 GAPP System - Cabtech MTB racing team 11:39:26 +00:17:18  

4. 117 Maria Cristina Nisi ITA 32 TEAM BIKE INNOVATION FOCUS ROSTI 11:43:27 +00:21:19  

5. 118 Angela Parra Sierra COL 36 CBZ-7C-WILLIER 11:47:34 +00:25:26

Further overall solo winners:

Elite Master / 1. 206 Pérez Mata Eddy CRC 36 CBZ-7C-WILIER 10:37:45

Sportklasse Damen 1 / 1. 153 Jacqueline Meister AUT 25 BC Stoahupfa 14:25:15

Sportklasse Damen 2 / 1. 170 Sonja Brodbeck GER 45 CSV MTB-Team 16:04:08

Sportklasse Men I / 1.407Arne TurelurenBEL2410:26:37

Sportklasse Men II / 1. 537 Gonzalo Chacon Barquero CRC 33 TEM GOCHA 10:46:56

Sportklasse Men III / 1. 627 Franz Laaber AUT 42 Toms Radhaus 11:33:35

Sportklasse Men IV / 1. 736 Eduard Trausmülller AUT 53 WSA greenteam 11:53:27

Sportklasse Men V / 1. 750 Luigi Basso ITA 60 Speed Wheel Team 13:36:16

Overall team winners:

AA Women / 1. CRAFT and Friends 1 in 29:00:06 - Denise Möderl & Kristina Schollerer (GER)

AA Mix / 1. SK VÖEST in 26:04:44 - Barbara Mayer & Philipp Reindl (AUT)

AA Men / 1. Cycling Team Limburg 2 in 21:03:43 - Maik van der Heijden & Roel van der Stegen (NED)

AA Master II / 1. RSV-Fischerbach in 23:43:30 - Augustin Bächle & Reinhard Braun (GER)

AA Master I / 1. NORA PS Oldtimer in 24:15:00 - Marco Conter (ITA) & Robert Hotter (AUT)
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