Red Bull X-Alps 2013: Swiss machine storms ahead
Two-time winner Christian Maurer (SUI1) opened up a comfortable lead yeasterday on the second day of the Red Bull X-Alps, the world's toughest adventure race.
The Swiss athlete, 30, reached turnpoint 2, the summit of the Dachstein on Sunday evening. He had pulled a Night Pass, which allowed him to hike through the night, but in the end he barely used it. But the extra time allowed him to take off almost two hours before his closest rivals — and that's all he needed to forge ahead of the field, reaching the Wildkogel turnpoint at 13:40 and then passing the Zugspitze turnpoint in the evening, way ahead of schedule.
Flying at speeds of up to 60kph, he stormed along the Pinzgau valley. Known as 'racing valley', its south facing slopes provide near continuous lift, allowing the athletes to surf from ridge to ridge. Combined with a high easterly wind, it gave athletes perfect flying conditions as they headed west. Hot on Maurer's heels Monday afternoon were Aaron Durogati (ITA1) and the French athletes Victor Sebe (FRA3) and Clement Latour (FRA1). Also in the lead pack was the indomitable Toma Coconea (ROM).
In other developments, Raul Penso (VEN) was served a penalty after putting himself in danger. "He got lost on his way up the Dachstein and called the race organization for help," the race committee announced. A mountain guide was sent to find him and they found a safe place for him to bivouac for the night. The Venzuelan athlete will receive a 12-hour time penalty which he must serve after the next rest period. Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN1), who was lying in 3rd last place, pulled a Night Pass today in a bid to move further up the field.
For what happens next in the drama, go to Red Bull Mobile Live Tracking, which lets you follow the athletes in real time on www.redbullxalps.com/live-tracking.