KAIDER UND WINTER WIN THE RAN
At the fifth edition of the Race Around Niederösterreich (RAN), Philipp Kaider from Lower Austria won the men’s race and Maria Winter from Upper Austria the women’s race. Exciting decisions characterized the anniversary edition, in which 158 participants took up the challenge to circumnavigate the largest Austrian province.
On time at 4 p.m. on Friday the ultra cycling scene started into the national season. 600km with 6,000 meters of altitude had to be completed and even if the conditions with headwind at the beginning and occasional rain showers in the morning hours in the area around the Semmering demanded everything from some participants – the decisions in the individual categories were characterized by exciting duels.
First time winners in all categories
In his third appearance, the reigning 24-hour time trial world champion Philipp Kaider won the RAN title for the first time. For about 12 hours the rider from Wolkersdorf had a neck-and-neck race with Dominik Meierhofer from Kuchl. It was not until 8 a.m. that the Lower Austrian was able to mount a decisive attack and pull away from Meierhofer by about five minutes. In the end, the two were separated by twelve minutes at the finish line and Kaider (17h 36min) was able to celebrate his first victory on home soil and was happy about a successful final rehearsal for his Trans Austria record attempt in one month from Feldkirch in Vorarlberg to Nickelsdorf in Burgenland. Third place went to Manfred Zöger from the Buckligen Welt, who reached the finish in Weitra after 18h 17min. The women’s race was won by Maria Winter from Upper Austria in 22h 5min. Eight women (record!) took part in the 600km adventure this year. Second place went to Tulln-based Swiss Lilian Kuster, who finished ahead of Sabine Kornelson from Lower Austria.
“I just rode my pace and after 400km Dominik finally eased up. It was the motivation we poured into each other. Neither of us let up. The victory has a very big meaning for me. It is something else to take home the number 1 on the wood (note: the trophies for the winners are made of wood in reference to the Waldviertel),” said Kaider happily at the finish.
Exciting duels in the team rankings and two pulverized records
Three-time Olympic luge champion Felix Loch and his team “Athletes for Ukraine” set a new sensational course record in the 3-person teams. Loch, Berchtesgaden’s mayor Franz Rasp and Thomas Wagner pulverized last year’s record by almost 40 minutes and scraped by with 16h 19min only six minutes from the fastest time ever set.
“Everything worked super together. Our mountain specialist Thommy is up the mountains like no other, which of course helps. The nicest thing was the sunrise. In between, to be honest, it was really cold,” said Loch, who like many others used the race to collect donations.
The closest decision of the day was made by the women in the 3-person team classification. Only eight minutes separated the first-placed “Wonder Women”, led by last year’s Race Around Austria winner Justyna Sieber, from the “Schnellen Brillen”. With the team “Swim Bike RAN” the record for the 3-person mixed teams fell by 54 minutes.
The 2-person teams were also close: The men’s team “Thomas Wiesmayr GmbH” won 29 minutes ahead of the “Astifterbau Racing Team” from Burgenland and the father-son team “Team Freitag”. The 2-person team mixed classification went to the German team “RadelnundHelfen” around Peter Scherrer and Valeria Rechenauer ahead of the team “Taxi Thalhuber Racing Team” and the “Team Kilometerbolzer”.
A varied program of side events in Weitra with have-a-go stations and raffles, as well as a livestream lasting more than 24 hours, elaborately produced with the support of Sportland Niederösterreich, rounded off the fifth edition. “It was a great first small anniversary and it was extremely exciting in all categories. We sincerely congratulate the participants on their finish, thank our brilliant team as well as our great partners and look forward to the 6th edition in May 2024,” said the organizers.