Specialized Racing's Christoph Sauser not only defended his title at the Trans Germany, but made it three consecutive wins at the four-day mountain bike stage race. He was 11th in the final 78km stage on Saturday from Seefeld, Austria to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
"I'm super happy to do the triple here. The third time coming here and winning is very big for me," said Sauser.
The marathon world champion rode both strongly and intelligently throughout the race. The final day, raced in cold, wet conditions, proved to be all about riding conservatively to defend the race lead.
"I thought it might be dry for the start, but at soon as I left the hotel, it started raining and was very cold," said Sauser. "I put on booties. The rain jacket wasn't a really good idea because I didn't feel so comfortable or competitive in such a big jacket as it got soaked and sweaty. I was opening and closing it the whole time, but I was happy I stayed warm on the last downhill."
Sauser took it carefully on the final descent, after a climb that was a bit longer than he had expected. During last 45 minutes of the race, it rained heavily.
"I never like to lose time in the GC to my main competitors. The last climb I underestimated. I thought it was the same as last year, but it went more than halfway up, and I really suffered there. Visibility was bad. There was fog and then the final fast, dangerous downhill."
"I took it safe and on the last three to four kilometers to the finish, I wasn't celebrating. It was a driving rain until the end. Luckily Max Knox joined me, and we could ride together."
Sauser lost some time to the runner-up David George in the final stage, but he finished the race with a one-minute overall advantage on his rival.
Sauser will race next at the World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, on June 23.