Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) currently holds the bronze crown and is just summiting a ridge 5km ahead of his nearest (largely Austrian) rivals, Rookie Simon Oberrauner (AUT4), Pascal Purin (AUT3) and Manuel Nubel (GER2).
A late flight from the Colle di Turlo (2,738m) could gain Paul some more valuable distance and take him one step closer to Turnpoint 6, Matterhorn.
But nothing is certain in this part of the race and the competition is intense. While Paul has covered an impressive 165km today, 127 of which were in the air, Simon has made up 180km (156 flying) and Manuel, 179km (153 flying). Manuel, Simon and Pascal remain in the main valley, but may well now follow Paul to higher ground.
Simon will also be using his Ledlenser Night Pass this evening and by tomorrow morning will almost certainly have moved ahead of the other members of this gaggle. Whether he can get ahead of Paul, however, depends on any late flights made this evening.
And there are more athletes on their heels, too. Stanislav Mayer (CZE) and Ferdinand van Shelven (NLD) are also within just 10km of Paul Guschlbauer. The rest of the Red Bull X-Alps field may have split, but the quest to take 3rd position gets ever more heated.
Photos by © zooom / Sebastian Marko, © zooom / Harald Tauderer and © zooom / Honza Zak