Great day for Nick Neynens (NZL)
Ok all Australian fans. You can stop the flightless bird jokes about the Kiwi. It took him a while but finally Nick Neynens took to the air in style today and showed what he's made of with a 170km flight. Just a few days ago he was languishing at the back after an error on Day 1 and was threatened with the elimination axe.
By the end of today, he'd made the top ten. Nick's flight was particularly special as he flew a remote "inside" line, off the road of the classic paragliding highways. Using his extensive adventure flying experience, and no stranger to flying "off the beaten track", Nick was able to catch up and overtake many of his European rivals on their home turf.
Kiwis don't really shout about their achievements, but this is what Nick told us earlier:
"I dunno," he says, "it was this morning or yesterday that I decided that I really have to make use of the full day, and today I think I did that."
"This morning it went from blue to booming in less than an hour. The highlight of the whole experience so far was the Matterhorn valley."
Had he planned his route out through the high mountains? "No, I kinda got the idea when I was there. I stuck my nose in, searched around for about 20 minutes, and then decided to give up and go back the way I'd came. Then I changed my mind, went back in, and got a bit higher. I saw some fluffy clouds over the peaks and maybe a bit of convergence."
Nick busted through a high col at over 3600m crossing through the heart of the Swiss mountains. "I was looking at it," he said, "and decided to go through it. But there was a headwind and I didn't have any penetration. Had to fish my speed bar out for the first time in the race. When I got through the col it was amazing: massive big glaciers. Still it was really steep so you could glide out. I really enjoyed it."
Before speaking to Nick, we spoke with his supporter Louis about the day who responded with typically dry Kiwi understated humour: "Yeah, it was pretty good. Nick kept his nose clean and flew quite well."