Red Bull X-Alps 2009 Day 3 Summary
Nutella for breakfast, Marmolada for lunch, predicted Christian Maurer (SUI3) earlier today...
The Red Bull X-Alps race leader delivered. He rounded the Marmolada turnpoint at midday. Maurer is now setting off west across the stunning Dolomites towards the next turnpoint: Switzerland’s Matterhorn.
At the time of writing, Maurer is the only athlete to have rounded the Marmolada turnpoint. His nearest rivals, Swiss athletes Martin Muller (SUI2), Alex Hofer (SUI1) and running man Toma Coconea (ROM) struggled to reach the notoriously challenging summit.
Maurer (SUI3) stunned his competitors by bursting into the lead yesterday and travelling over 130 km during a 24 hour period - over half that distance in the air!
Yesterday, Maurer took off very early near Zell am See, Austria. He flew his paraglider over several hops, managing to slope-land without losing too much height, then taking off when weather conditions improved. He passed the Grossglockner at an altitude of 3000 m, and cracked on into Italy's southern Alps.
Steve Cox, race director, reported; ‘Maurer can't walk brilliantly fast but he lands on one side, walks up a ridge, and launches again," he says. ‘It's a very efficient way to travel.’
"Maurer can land and pack his gear within a minute,’ he continued. ‘He can land his glider in really tight spots, and launch again from places others can't."
In other news, two athletes have incurred six hour time penalties. Leone Pascale (ITA) and Peter Vabrec (SVK) both hiked through a long tunnel near the Grossglockner.
"This is against race rules," said Cox. "Certain tunnels are banned because they connect between two different valleys." If they make it to Mt Gros, the final turnpoint before Monaco, they'll have to sit on their bags for six hours as a penalty.
Meanwhile, Thomas Dorlodot (BEL) has his knee strapped up from an repetitive strain injury. Pierre Carter (RSA) has injured his toe while landing fast. He'll get stitches later from the race doctor but is continuing to race. Vincent Sprungli (FRA) and Honza Rejmanek (USA) also report leg strains.
Live Tracking on www.redbullxalps.com