The Prologue was fast and furious – with three worthy winners!
The Prologue to the Red Bull X-Alps made the best of the weather and saw a fast and furious race to the top of the 1,991m Griessenkareck, Turnpoint 1.
Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), Benoit Outters (FRA1) and Maxime Pinot (FRA4) made it there together in 55m 31s, for joint first-place. A brilliant display of sportsmanship – they raced up the mountain together, and they finished together.
“It was an uphill kilometre an hour.”
From the start in Wagrain-Kleinarl to the top of the Griessenkareck it was a straight-line distance of 3km with 1,153m of ascent – all under a blue sky in strong June sunshine.
It wasn’t easy – climbing 1,153m in less than an hour will never be that. “It was a hard race,” Maurer said afterwards. Pinot agreed: “It was an uphill kilometre an hour.”
The rest of the athletes came in close behind, with a spread – the time between the first and the last athlete – of 38 minutes 45 seconds. Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) was in close fourth, finishing just 1 minute 12seconds behind the winning three with a time of 56m 43s. He was closely followed by Tobias Grossrubatscher (ITA2)– the young Italian athlete was. He also finished in under the hour, clocking a time of 59m 45s.
The Top 10 then included Simon Oberrauner (AUT2), the standout Rookie from the 2017 Red Bull X-Alps, who finished in 1h 01m 15s. Markus Anders (GER2, 1h 03m 18s), Aaron Durogati (ITA1, 1h 03m 33s), Gavin McClurg (USA1, 1h 04m 55s) and Patrick von Kanel (SUI2, 1h 05m 25s) made up the rest of the Top 10.
The next 10 all made it to the turnpoint within another seven minutes, with the competition’s oldest athlete, Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN), 59, coming in 20th behind Tom de Dorlodot (BEL) in 19th.
Dominika Kxasieczko (POL) was the first of the two women competing to make the turnpoint, arriving in 22nd position for a time of 1h 14m. Kinga Masztalerz (NZL2), the second woman in the Red Bull X-Alps this year, was 30th with a time of 1h 16m 33s.
Marko Hrgetic (HRV) arrived a few minutes later, finishing 31st in 1h 19m 29s. Chikyong Ha brought up the rear, reaching the top of the Griessenkareck just under 39 minutes after the race leaders for 32nd place.
Once the athletes had reached the Turnpoint they had the choice of either descending on foot or flying down. Because of the strong wind it was deemed unsuitable for competition flying, but pilots who wanted to were allowed to launch and fly down to the goal field in Wagrain-Kleinarl. Those who did were soon swooping into the grassy goal field. It was then just a short run to the finish line.
The three joint winners all win a coveted extra Night Pass. This allows them to hike through the night during one night of the Red Bull X-Alps.
Night Passes can be used tactically – at the start, to get ahead of the pack. Or they can be used if an athlete needs to catch up – to avoid elimination or to overtake a competitor.
With their gear tested all athletes will now take the next couple of days to make final preparations before the Red Bull X-Alps starts on Sunday June 16.
1. Benoît Outters (FRA1) – 55m 31s
1. Maxime Pinot (FRA4) ) – 55m 31s
1. Christian Maurer (SUI1) – 55m 31s
4. Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) – 56m 43s
5. Tobias Grossrubatscher (ITA2) – 59m 45
6. Simon Oberrauner (AUT2) – 1h 01m 15s
7. Markus Anders (GER2) – 1h 03m 18s
8. Aaron Durogati (ITA1) – 1h 03m 33s
9. Gavin McClurg (USA1) – 1h 04m 55s
10. Patrick von Känel (SUI2) – 1h 05m 25s
11. Gaspard Petiot (FRA2) – 1h 05m 39s
12. Rodolphe Akl (LBN) – 1h 06m 42s
13. Toma Coconea (ROU) – 1h 07m 10s
14. Nick Neynens (NZL1) – 1h 08m 34s
15. Cody Mittanck (USA3) – 1h 08m 40s
16. Willi Cannell (USA2) – 1h 08m 43s
17. Antoine Girard (FRA3) – 1h 10m 43s
18. Juraj Koreň (SVK) – 1h 11m 29s
19. Tom de Dorlodot (BEL) – 1h 12m 04s
20. Kaoru Ogisawa (JPN) – 1h 12m 18s
21. Eduardo Garza (MEX) – 1h 13m 45s
22. Dominika Kasieczko (POL) – 1h 14m 00s
23. Alex Villa (COL) – 1h 14m 03s
24. Thomas Juel Christensen (DNK) – 1h 14m 59s
25. Helmut Schrempf (AUT3) – 1h 15m 07s
26. Evgenii Griaznov (RUS) – 1h 15m 19s
27. Baris Celik (TUR) – 1h 15m 25s
28. Manuel Nübel (GER1) – 1h 15m 30s
29. Adrian Keller (SUI3) – 1h 16m 23s
30. Kinga Masztalerz (NZL2) – 1h 16m 33s
31. Marko Hrgetic (HRV) – 1h 19m 29s
32. Chikyong Ha (KOR) – 1h 34m 16s
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Photos © zooom / Harald Tauderer, Vitek Ludvik, Honza Zak