A trial for time on the Spandelles


Looking down the starting ramp in Argelès-Gazost this morning, riders were ready to take on the new time trial course for Haute Route Pyrenees 2019. Despite heavy legs after the previous four stages, riders were looking forward to giving it their best shot on this lung-busting uphill time trial, knowing 15km was all that stood between them and the finish line for Stage 5.

“This is my third Haute Route and you always look forward to pushing yourself on time trial day. This course looks great so I am excited about getting out there in this beautiful weather and hopefully I will reach the finish line in good time,” said Rob Meeders from Canada.

As riders turned right out of town, they were straight into the climb, well aware that there was 920 metres of ascent ahead of them. The isolated road wound its way up to the summit, with the pine forests thinning out in sections to reveal stunning views, showing riders just how far they had climbed in a short space of time.

As the finish line came into sight, riders were greeted by the support of fellow riders, alongside a herd of Pyrenean sheep for extra support and stunning panoramic views. Full of adrenaline after an amazing effort, Tatiana Gomes from Brazil enjoyed going all out on this testing course: “Today is an important day because we now have chance to recover from the previous few days and get ready for the challenges to come. I am very happy to be here and to have completed this stage with my teammates from Brazil.”

Competing in his first time trial, Sanjaya Kodagoda from Sri Lanka loved the day and a spectacular finish atop Col de Spandelles: “Today I feel great! This is the second day that I have completed as I have had to make use of the Broom Wagon on some of the previous stages. I am not used to all of this climbing but I am learning everyday and loved today!”

With an impressive time of 42:18:.65, Carlo Fino took another stage victory to remain unbeaten so far in the Haute Route Pyrenees, followed closely behind by Pierre Carlot (43:18.98) and Daniel Pierre (44:42.73).

In the women’s category, Lina-Kristin Schink proved quickest on the climb today, finishing in 55:18.63 with Camille Deligny finishing a close 2nd. The general classification sees Georgia Smith in 1st place, closely followed by Alisha Myers in 2nd and Haute Route Ambassador, Wynnie Fung in 3rd place.

In the Duo Mixed category, BWCC VENOM posted the fasted time in 59:09.04, whilst the Men’s Duo category for Stage 5 was won by Team Koalas in 48:37.52.

With just two stages remaining, riders are looking forward to getting stuck into a longer stage tomorrow as riders leave Argelès-Gazost to return back to Pau. This 131km stage features some bucket-list climbs, with the Soulor, Aubisque and Marie-Blanque cols adding to the 2,700 metres of climbing for the day.