Trans Alp, stage 1

A  beautiful sunny morning greeted us in Mittenwald. 1200 riders, i.e. 600 pairs were eager to start. At 10 o’clock the start gun went off and me and Carsten Bresser started our adventure that is supposed to end in one week in Riva del Garda. Our plan was to start easy, but as always I went too fast in the beginning. We were riding with the top guys until km 20. So I had to pay for the fast start in the first long climb up to Hochalmsattel. Found a steady pace and Carsten just followed me. Great to have such a good and understanding partner. I am weaker, but he doesn’t stress me at all. The first downhill went well. We stayed in the group and continued with them. I started to feel better, but it was fine to just save energy and do no work. In the second climb we saw the second mixed team, Vaude, just one switchback behind us. We did not panic. There was still a long downhill and a long flat part before the final climb. It is all about saving energy in such a hard stage race. On top of the climb we had about 50 seconds to our advantage. We road safely down and had one other team with us. All the other ones actually flatted in the downhill. It was really rough. From behind a strong team caught us and I must say it was fast. For about 30km my bikecomputer showed 40-45km/h. My only task was to stay on the wheel to Carsten. The last climb was then pretty hard. I was already tired, but wanted to go as fast as I could to make some time good. We crossed the finish line and were happy about our first stage victory. Finally I want to mention that I had so many supporters on the course today. I even heard Finnish supporters screaming ‘Hyvä Suomi’ (Go Finland) to me twice today. That made me very happy and gave me some more power to pedal hard. Thanks for that!

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