After finishing second at the high mountain stage around Livigno, the two climbing specialists took the day's victory on the queen stage of this years TransAlp from Aprica to Pellizzano.
The route and the elevation profile left no doubt, the fourth stage could rightly be called the queen stage of the TransAlp 2021. Right from the start in Aprica the transalp riders went up to Trivigno and on to Passo di Guspessa. This was followed by 40 kilometers on bumpy trail terrain before the biggest challenge of the stage waited. Over a length of 30 kilometers the riders climbed 1700 meters up to the highest point of the TransAlp 2021, the Forcella di Montozzo at 2613 meters. From the end of the Passo Tonale valley, on to Ponte di Legno up through the historic mountain village of Case di Viso, the ascent becomes steeper and steeper in the direction of Rifugio Bozzi. Here the tree line was crossed and the athletes are again on the last meters up to Forcella di Montozzo in absolutely high alpine terrain. A hard one but this is exactly the terrain that the German-Belgian duo chose after their strong performance on stage two in order to start another attack on the stage win.
“We knew about our climbing power. Steffen is very experienced, he can win anywhere, but I really like the high mountains. I live in Finale Ligure in the mountains of Italy and train for a good 10 weeks a year in the height of Livigno, so steep mountains are my terrain”, said Rob vanden Haesevelde about the route after winning the stage. The athletes from Aalen ́s Mountainbike Racingteam not only showed his great skills, but also the necessary composure to win such a stage. At the beginning it was others like road professional Niki Terpstra, who dictated the pace. Thum and vanden Haesevelde only went along with the attacks. Even on the last long climb, it was the yellow jersey on the shoulders of the Austrian team KTM (Manuel Pliem-David Schöggl) that attacked. Thum and vanden Haesevelde countered the attack and on the last few meters of the climb they had the gap they needed to bring home that great stage win. “Yes, that was how I imagined it. We had a good plan, fought hard at the right moment and in the end we were successful. I have to admit: it was very strategic from the start to the champagne shower almost perfectly, as we had already planned in the training camp in January ”, said a very satisfied team captain Steffen Thum about the victory of the toughest stage of the Transalp 2021.
The other stages no longer lead over the very high mountains towards Lake Garda, but the two technically strong riders should also be accommodated on the last stage down to Riva del Garda.