The 3 country challenge sponsored by Alutech bikes took place over the weekend. The race base was in Resia, Italy and the event would see participants compete in Italy, Switzerland and Austria all in one day! Saturday allowed the riders to practice the 5 stages, followed by a prologue in the evening. The race was around 32 km in total and took advantage of the various lifts in the region, one chairlift and 2 gondolas, the remaining sections the riders had to pedal between stages. The total descent was around 2000m vertical with an ridden ascent of only 500m, this was a nice balance.
The race saw riders battle it out in 3 countries!
Luckily this rock garden was raced in the dry!
Since the majority of the stages were accessed via lift, the organisers decided to make the prologue very physical and with limited options it was a quick 50 second sprint, if you were Gusti Wildhaber! It ran along the side of the Lago di Resia, a flight of stairs, two sharp climbs and then it was all over. After a long day it was time for the Allutech BBQ…
Gusti setting the tone for the weekend, a dominant force!
Alutech BBQ – Every race should have one!
After a gorgeous day on Saturday with temperatures well into 20 degrees, racers woke to a rainy Sunday morning, not what the organisers had promised! But hey that’s racing, riders geared up in their waterproofs and headed up to stage 1. Fortunately the wet weather didn’t change this stage too much. Out the start gate and you were greeted by roots and rocks whist dodging trees at high speed. The top section of the trail was brand new and totally unridden until Saturdays practice so the loam factor was very high. The lower section joined an old walking path and the exposed roots were slippery and unpredictable. The best time went to Gusti Wildhaber of the Cube Action team who was also the only rider to go under 5 minutes.
Conditions were much wetter come race day!
Scott Laughland on his way to 11th Place on his Cube Stereo
A long transfer section brought you to stage 2 where the riders had to battle with foggy conditions. Dropping out the start gate riders faced a short sharp climb before some high speed turns in open grass land. This stage was the most physical with lots of sharp sprints mixed with physically demanding and technically challenging downhill sections. Some sections were also connected by long straights of Northshore which weren’t chicken wired, causing the more cautious rider to loose large amounts of time. The best ride was again by the Cube Action team rider by a significant margin.
The northshore sections were slippery, caution was needed.
Stage 3 was the shortest but sweetest of the weekend, the majority of the trail was man made and featured some nicely bermed corners with fast flowy turns through the lower sections of forest. Gusti took the win and further extended his lead. A nice chair lift ride brought you right to the start of stage 4, out the start gate and you were immediately into fast rock gardens, tight turns and rooty sections. It mixed nicely, natural sections with man-made berms to ensure a good flow but maintained the physical element with lots of sharp climbs. Again the unstoppable Gusti took the stage win.
A great race in great scenery!
The final stage was accessed via a long Gondola ride and a short pedal along fire road. It started with a long climb before mellowing out to a grass meadow flat. Once this was over the riders were greeted with a long descent back into the village of Resia. The descent was simply amazing, long technical sections with tricky rock gardens to navigate whilst jumping in and out of the forest. The lower section featured fast loamy turns and rooted sections, this was a trail that covered everything. After that, back to the race village, drop your timing chip back and get your result…
End of a great days racing, just waiting on results.
In the mens category it was Gusti Wildhaber that took the win followed by Maxi Dickerhoff of Canyon Factory Enduro Team and in the women it was Birgit Braumann on the top spot, with Ursula Grundel and Andrea Ralser in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Mens podium! Gusti Wildhaber that took the win followed by Maxi Dickerhoff and Tobias Reiser
Womens podium, Birgit Braumann on the top spot, with Ursula Grundel and Andrea Ralser
It was a fantastic event and featured some amazing trails, thank you to the organisers they put in to the trail building and work behind the scenes, fingers crossed there will be an event here next year.
Photos: Tommy Bause Report: Scott Laughland (Cube UK)