The third stage of the 2019 Haute Route Dolomites took place this morning with an uphill time trial from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Passo Giau. Featuring 1028m+ of climbing over 16.6km, riders set off down the time trial ramp knowing they had one final big effort ahead of them before completing the Haute Route Dolomites and receiving their hard-earned medals.
Standing at the start line, Juan Lozano from Mexico felt ready for the final challenge of this 3-day event: “I have loved my experience here and although I know this last stage is going to hurt, I am ready to try my best. When I reach the main climb at Passo Giau I am really going to go for it.”
Leaving Cortina d’Ampezzo, the time trial began with gentle gradients towards Passo di Falzarego. With this part of the course already featuring at the start of the previous stages, the focus for riders was on improving their power and speed despite tired legs.
Careful not to overdo it on the first section, riders then turned left to face the main climb which would take them all the way up to the finish line at Passo Giau. A game of cat and mouse ensued, with riders pushing themselves both physically and mentally as they raced against the clock and against other fellow riders, working their way around the turns before the final straight to the summit.
Catching his breath at the top of the time trial, Belgium cyclist Christophe Vandercleyen reflected on his experience: “What a way to finish on top of this mythical climb, the perfect end to a beautiful weekend in the Dolomites. I have previously taken part in Haute Route Ventoux and Haute Route Stelvio but I will never forget the landscape I witnessed here. It certainly helps distract you when you are suffering on the bike.”
When asked what he loves most about the Haute Route events, Christophe added: “Whether it is the Mavic support services on the race or the massages at the end of the day, I have had the opportunity to spend the past few days being look after like a professional rider. You also meet a lot of amazing people from all around the world who quickly become friends. Speaking of which, I am now looking for a duo partner for Haute Route Stelvio so if anyone fancies it, let me know.”
Katia Takahashi from Brazil also loved the event and felt a huge sense of achievement having completed the Compact course: “This is an experience I have never had before in my whole life and I am sure that I am going to be much stronger after these three days. There were times when I thought I couldn’t do it but you just keep going and the Haute Route staff and other cyclists help you through any difficult moments. The energy and environment here is so nice!”
The fastest time of the day was posted by Sergei Pomoshnikov (47:19:92), competing in the Men’s Original category. Despite Sergei’s impressive stage win, British cyclist Ruari Grant remained in first place overall after the three stages with a time of 06h00’17, leaving Marco Rodero Prada (06h08’51) and Roedi Weststrate (06h08’59) to battle it out for second and third place respectively.
In the Women’s Original race, Hannah Rhodes-Patterson took the stage win in 57:38,75, securing a clean sweep with three stage wins over the Haute Route Dolomites event to finish in a time of 07h02’38. Victoria Grimmer (07h42’54) and Izabel Jaguaribe de Mattos (07h48’22) finished in second and third respectively to round off the podium. Similar battles played out in the Compact and Duo categories, with the overall results and age-group breakdown available here.
After three amazing days in the Dolomites, the event came to a close this afternoon with everyone coming together at the event village in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Riders took the opportunity to reflect on their achievements, discuss future Haute Route adventures and congratulate each other for their amazing efforts at the prize-giving and closing ceremony.
With the Haute Route Dolomites event being the first of the European events to take place this year, thousands of riders from around the world will be preparing for the rest of the upcoming season. Next up is Haute Route Alpe d’Huez on the 12-14 July 2019. With several of the events already selling out, make sure you secure your spot on the startline now.