The third stage of the 2019 Haute Route Stelvio took place this morning with a time trial up Bormio 2000. After taking on climbs such as the Mortirolo and Stelvio in the previous stages, riders set off down the time trial ramp knowing it was time to give one last big effort before receiving their hard-earned finisher medals.
Standing at the start line, Jon Gujer felt ready for the final challenge of this 3-day event: “I am ready to push as hard as I can up this climb and let my teammate help me a bit too of course. We have worked to help each other for most of the event, so it will be nice to finish at the top together after the final push.”
Thanks to the duo format at Haute Route Stelvio, most riders were quick to take advantage of the opportunity to work as a unit throughout the time trial and throw in a mix of tactics. With several long straight sections and a consistent gradient, it proved the perfect race of truth as riders worked hard to catch competitors just ahead.
For others, it was all about going it alone and pushing themselves physically and mentally as they raced against the clock to get to the top cheering on their duo-partner and other riders as they made their way up the final ramp at Bormio 2000.
Catching his breath at the top after an all-out effort, Julien Wilkie reflected on his experience: “I loved the time trial, it is always good motivation to try and catch as many people as you can. For me, the favourite part of the weekend was probably the Mortirolo but the whole event has been great as you really get a mix of everything. From the Cancano climb which was stunningly beautiful, to the Mortriolo which was really steep and then the Stelvio which was a high and unforgettable summit finish.”
The fastest time of today’s time trial was posted by Philippe Béchet of Switzerland, completing the stage in an impressive time of 00:31:39. With his mixed-duo partner, Linda Farczadi also posting a strong time throughout the three stages, the pair secured a strong overall lead in the Mixed Duo category (06.51.43).
The Men’s Duo category was won by Michele Antonioli and Daniele Schena as part of the Asterix & Obelix team with an overall time of 06.08.49.00, closely followed by GDR Canaviais Comprarcasa Evora (06.11.09) in second and Challenge Family (06.18.57) rounding off the podium in third place.
For the Women’s Duo Category, it was a closely fought battle for first place between Your Pace or Mine team and the Wattbikers. The former team made up of riders Bethan Hopewell and Christine Ford pulled ahead to win by just 3 minutes after three stages.
The event came to a close this afternoon with everyone coming together at the Bormio Terme to enjoy the prize-giving and closing ceremony. It proved another unforgettable Haute Route event, with the Italian Alps leaving a lasting impression on the riders:
“It has been a spectacular event and I don’t have the words to describe how beautiful the region is. Some testing climbs but so beautiful. Getting to do it with your teammate helps you forget the pain as you conquer whatever lies ahead by working together.” Jao 128.
Next up for Haute Route riders this month is Haute Route San Francisco before another exciting month in October with the last European event of the season at Haute Route Ventoux, and the inaugural Haute Route Qingcheng and Haute Route Mexico events. For many riders, they are already starting to think about their 2020 cycling season, with registrations for the Haute Route 2020 events opening last week. Take a look at our events here and sign up before they sell-out.