Red Bull X-Alps 2009 Day 6 Summary
Carter and Geijsen out while Maurer forges ahead
“This is the toughest day yet, it’s so hot!” said 14th placed Matsubara
Masayuki (JPN2) this afternoon. With winds blowing into the Southern
Alps, many Red Bull X-Alps athletes were struggling in the 34-degree
heat to hike out of the punishing terrain west of Italy’s Marmolada.
It was also a day when three athletes left the race. Vincent Sprungli (FRA1) quit this morning after two hard landings took their toll on his lower spine. The doctors also told Ronny Geijsen (NED) to finish racing: he said he was “very, very disappointed.”
Pierre Carter (RSA) was eliminated at 11:30am this morning. First up the Gaisberg, the 43-year-old has since been slowed by a toe injury. According to race rules, every 48 hours the back runner is cut and today it was the South African’s turn to face the chop.
Meanwhile, the race continues. Christian Maurer (SUI3) still leads, and was over 455 km down course by 2:15pm - well over half way to Monaco. In the cooler air of higher altitudes, Maurer has increased his lead to nearly 100 km over defending champion Alex Hofer (SUI1).
Maurer and Hofer are the only athletes have crossed into Switzerland, at the time of writing, although Maurer has since crossed back into Italy, heading directly west.
It's increasingly becoming evident that supporter Thomas Theurillat is playing a huge role in Maurer's success. Theurillat is a psychologist and mountain guide. He has broken the route to Monaco down into six binders rammed full of routes and information, and has checklists for every stage of every day.
Meanwhile, Toma Coconea (ROM) is fit and well again, but hasn’t reigned in his racing instincts. His supporter is similarly well-prepared, but Coconea appears to be one-track minded. “Toma's been up running and walking since 2:00am this morning, but his zigzag path shows how inefficient all his efforts have been this morning,” reports race director Steve Cox.
Twenty-four athletes continue the 818km adventure race to Monaco.
Live Tracking on www.redbullxalps.com