Is suffering fun? Ask the teams at Red Bull Dolomitenmann
The 33rd Red Bull Dolomitenmann took place in Austria on Saturday, and Team Kolland Topsport Professional took top prize.
With its 'suffering is fun' tag, Red Bull Dolomitenmann is renowned as being one of the toughest team competitions in the world. Elite athletes from around the world gathered in the Austrian town of Leinz to take part in the gruelling race that takes in mountain running, paragliding, wildwater kayaking and mountain biking.
Following new safety rules, the start took place at the Dolomitenstadt in Lienz on Saturday, September 12, and finished at Kuhbodentörl. It was a tight and exciting race from beginning to end.
97 teams from 10 nations took up the challenge. For many of the athletes, it was the first competition in 2020, which made the quantity of highly-decorated athletes in Lienz very high. Canoe champion Ronald Rauhe and ICF World Champion Hannes Aigner, both from Germany, faced the battle in whitewater at Red Bull Dolomitenmann after the cancellation of a race in the Czech Republic.
The winning team, Kolland Topsport Professional – Rémi Bonnet, Chrigel Maurer, Lukas Kubrican and Juri Ragnoli – won in 4h 21m 27s ahead of the Red Bull team – Anton Palzer, Paul Guschlbauer, Harald Hudetz and Daniel Geismayr, who finished in second place at 4h 24m 23s.
Notable moments included Francesco Puppi completing the 2,000m vertical and 12km-long race in 1hr 24m 34s, a debut victory for the Italian mountain runner. (Switzerland's Rémi Bonnet and Italy's Henri-Aimo Aymonod took second and third place.)
Maurer won the individual ranking in paragliding for the second time since 2016, nearly a minute ahead of Italian Martin Stofner and two-and-a-half minutes ahead of Swiss Tobias Grossrubatscher. “I was extremely happy that the race could take place," Maurer said, "because I won here before and of course I wanted to win again. I started the race in second place with a small gap to the first. I managed to stay calm in the tricky passages, for example at the start. Then I attacked and even had to take out some speed so that I could stop over at Moosalm.”
Red Bull Dolomitenmann 2020 POV – the world's toughest team competition
Winning the individual ranking for the fifth time consecutively, Kubrican secured the title on the kayak course, which meant the Czech laid the foundation for Kolland Topsport Professional’s later victory in the team category. Only 23 seconds behind, Austria's Hudetz narrowly missed his eighth individual victory. But this impressive catch-up race spurred his team on and the quartet finished in second place overall.
Although Andreas Seewald’s team didn't make it to the podium after taking fourth place overall, the German cyclist secured the individual victory in mountain biking after a torturous 1,600m up to Hochsteinkreuz and the downhill on the Alban Lakata Trail. Last year’s winner and world champion Geismayr of Austria finished second in the mountain bike classification; Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic) came in third.
The Wings for Life team – snowboarder Benjamin Karl, biathlete Dominik Landertinger, canoeist Marcel Bloder and Red Bull Dolomitenmann veteran Wendelin Ortner, all Austrians – took 34th place.
At the end of the race, chief organiser Nikolaus Grissmann said: “After half a year of really tough preparations, we are absolutely happy now. In the end, everything turned out well. The weather was great and the original route was feasible today. You can’t wish for more. The fact that makes me most happy for the athletes is that the 33rd Red Bull Dolomitenmann could be held today.”
Find out more about Red Bull Dolomitenmann here.