Description: XCM Stage Race
Haigerloch – Balingen, 59km, 913m of climbing
1.51h, 6th place in sprint finish
Balingen – Albstadt, 80km, 1668m of climbing
2.50h, 1st place, 1st overall
Albstadt – Hechingen 77km, 1216m of climbing
2.29, 4th place, 1st overall
I have read about the Trans Zollernalb a year ago and how tight and fast the racing is. I am not a fan of time bonus sprints during stages, since a stage has three to four finish lines every day. I like to concentrate on the real finish line, instead fighting hard for every bonus seconds in between. Alban and I we were counting seconds until the finish line… Stage two gave the general classification a face to it. Now I can say that I was lucky that it was rainy and cold that day! It made the race hard and a little bit more technical. That day I even won a time bonus sprint and also made up 6sec on Alban in the last downhill to the finish. A hard but sweet win.
3sec I was ahead of Alban going into the last stage. There were two bonus sprints (for first place 3sec then 2 and 1sec to win), a uphill finish plus Robert Mennen a strong team mate racing for Alban on the “menu” for me. Sprint one Alban won a second, sprint two we both did not succeed. Now Alban had to ether drop me on one of the rolling climbs ahead or up the final ramp up to the finish line. I did what I had to do and I was sucking his wheel like a vacuum pump. It was super hectic before the last ramp going around a few corners before it, but I felt strong and sharp. Alban sprinted into the climb like the finish line would be on the bottom. I was only looking at his rear wheel, not a second I could give up and sticked to it. To win so tight is always a big achievement and feels double sweet!
My bike: 2013 Stumpjumper hardtail with Renegade S-Works tires (26/27psi).
My breakfasts: rice with nutella and coffee
My lunches: Spätzle from the VIP tent
My dinners: salad, pasta and a glass of wine
My team: Dylan, Piet and Benno
By the way the race was super organized. As far as I can remember I have never seen a race course so well marked and safety so good. Also the crowds and atmosphere in the towns were amazing!