Team Serpantin-Panavto mastered the 102.78 km and 1,511 metres of climbing from Kaltern am See to Riva del Garda in 2:43.56,7 hours.
With a gap of 2.10 minutes at the final timing, which had been moved outside of Riva del Garda to ensure a safe home stretch for the riders to La Rocca, Michael Spoegler (ITA) and Michael Markolf (GER) of Team corratec 1 came in as tied second (2:46.07,4) together with Frederic Glorieux (BEL) and Bob Michels (BEL) of Tauris – Grinta! who therefore kept hold to their title although they could not secure a stage win this year.
It's the second time in the 16 years of history of the tradition-rich classic through the Alps that a pairing was able to celebrate a back-to-back win. Back in 2009, South Tyroleans Werner Weiss and Andreas Laner were the first ones to pull of this feat.
Nine years later, it's Glorieux and Michels who were able to do so again. The most consistent team of this year's TOUR Transalp, which led in seven days over 827.70 km and 17,797 metres of climbing as well as 18 cols from Brixen to Lake Garda, needed a total time of 25:03.42,1 hours to bring home their second consecutive title. The Belgians therefore were 8.17 minutes faster than Team corratec 1 which, however, was able to edge off today's fifth ranked Team Strassacker / Garmin with Florian Vrecko (GER) and Nils Kessler (GER) to third overall.
“It's crazy. At the beginning of the race we never would have thought of anything like this as Bob was ill. So we just tried to survive the first three days. Then we got stronger and stronger until I crashed yesterday. Finishing off the TOUR Transalp in the Yellow Jerseys is incredible,” said Glorieux about the win.
A win, which was a sweet one with regards to 2015, when both had missed their first title by the tiny mere of 7,1 seconds. “We always have been asked how we could lose with only seven seconds,” stated Michels. “They said that it was our chance to win the title and that this chance would never come back. And now we have two of them. It's wonderful.”
He also explained that going home without a stage win under their belts wouldn't bother them at all: “There are all our friends. You take it easy when you are in the overall lead.” His teammate Glorieux added: “It's OK. We came here for the Yellow Jerseys. We wanted to go for the stage win today but Seledkov and Wielinga were too strong. All good.”
After Michels and Glorieux had distanced themselves from the rest of the field together with Spoegler/Markolf and Seledkov/Wielinga climbing up to Fai della Paganella, the Russian-Dutch duo attacked in the last two kilometres to the peak successfully breaking away and keeping the lead until the finish.