The 21st Red Bull Dolomitenmann saw Kolland Topsport successfully defend their crown as well as the successful comeback of the Red Bull team. A review of four rock-hard battles.
The Kolland Topsport team laid the foundations for victory with the very first event. Jonathan Wyatt couldn't have been much further away from home in the Dolomites. But during the mountain run, the New Zealander was nevertheless in his element right from the start. He finished almost four minutes ahead of second-placed Marco Galardo of the Robotunits team, covering a distance of 11.1 km and a difference in altitude of 1,950 m. The 6-time World Mountain Running Champion was therefore the first event winner as well as the most outstanding athlete of the day: none of the winners of the other disciplines were able to paddle, fly or cycle their way to a bigger lead. Representing the Red Bull team, Markus Kröll finished the mountain run in fourth place, 4m 13s behind Wyatt.
The paragliding event saw the second battle between Kolland Topsport and Robotunits – only this time things swung the other way. Markus Prantl covered the distance half a minute quicker than Christian Amon of the Kolland Topsport team. He was pushed to his limit both in the air and on the ground: several stretches demanded an excellent balance between physical fitness and flying skills. And Red Bull athlete Wendelin Ortner had both, keeping his team in striking distance with a 1m 10s deficit.
With the leading team maintaining a constant advantage over its rivals, the battle for second place was gradually hotting up – not least thanks to Harald Hudetz of the Red Bull team. On the white-water stretch through the Drave and the Isel, the multiple Austrian champion bagged his third Red Bull Dolomitenmann title. He also pulled out a crucial four and a half minute lead over the Robotunits team, represented by Gerhard Schmid – finishing in an overall time of just 00:28:29.1. Kolland Topsport kayaker Herwig Natmessnig finished 33 seconds behind.
With Kolland Topsport rider Alban Lakata now only left with the task of defending his team's lead, Red Bull biker Roland Stauder and Robotunits representative Hannes Pallhuber were fighting for second place over the 27 km mountain bike course. Pallhuber was quickest on both the tough 1,700 uphill climb and on the downhill stretch over forest tracks, ski slopes and dirt roads. But not quick enough: with a deficit of 3m 04s, the Red Bull team came in second at the 21st Red Bull Dolomitenmann.