The end is in sight: Chrigel in touching distance of Monaco while chaser pack all pull Ledlenser Night Passes to reach Monaco before deadline.
After eleven days the end is finally in sight for race leader Chrigel Maurer. He landed in the Italian town Latte during the afternoon and was just 15km short of the Turnpoint of Peille last night. When he turns up is anyone’s guess however. He’s said to be hurting bad. He has a Ledlenser Night Pass so it could be a long march overnight; but equally he could take his time to rest and turn up in the morning. He’ll then most likely fly down into Monaco to complete his ‘victory lap’ descent in the evening.
As soon as he arrives at Peille, the countdown then begins on the rest of the chaser pack, who’ll have 24 hours to make goal before time is called on the 2017 Red Bull X-Alps. Outters who is 51km behind should safely make 2nd place, while Guschlbauer also looks in a strong position to claim his third 3rd place finish.
But who among the chaser pack will also make Monaco? The rest of the pack, made up of Stanislav Mayer, Pascal Purin, Ferdinand van Schelven and Simon Oberrauner, is clearly determined to put in one last push. Everyone who can has pulled a Ledlenser Night Pass – everyone except Nick Neynens that is, but then he’s always gone his own way this race.
Stanislav Mayer and Ferdinand van Schelven have both had outstanding races. But one of the chaser group will no longer be flying wing-to-wing with them. Today, Manuel Nübel called time on his race. He’s simply exhausted and doesn’t want to injure himself by continuing.
Meanwhile, rookie Simon Oberrauner pulled his Night Pass a day early, and has been flipflopping within the Top 10, making it as high as third for a while.
At the back, with 548km still to go, Jesse Williams and Tom de Dorlodot are currently bringing up the rear, but Mitch Riley just ahead, with Evgenii Griaznov a few kilometres up the road.
They are all currently hiking for their place in the race, and even though the Russian is leading the pack, he is the only one that doesn't have a Night Pass, and looks most likely to go.
It’s been an exhausting battle for the athletes, but the next 36 hours could be the most exciting of the race as they all put in a heroic effort to make goal. It’s going to be a long night.
Photo by © zooom / Vitek Ludvik