Another withdrawal: Tanguy Renaud-Goud who was the winner of UAE Hike & Fly Championships and current leader of the Hike & Fly World Cup. He hiked 40km yesterday and he has a damaged knee and ankle. We are so sorry to hear this and wish him a swift and complete recovery.
News from the head of the race…
This morning we met Maxime Pinot in the cold, rain and miserable weather and he wasn’t looking forward to the day. He hiked across to Spain following a similar route to Chrigel Maurer. We also headed to Spain and the weather was totally different beyond the border and the tunnel of Vielha. The sun was shining and there was high cloud.
Chrigel Maurer and Maxime Pinot pushed hard towards TP 6, but Pierre Remy, who lives near TP5, Midi de Bigorre, took a different route, heading for Castejon de Sos. He got the turn point first and is currently 17 km beyond the turnpoint. Pinot and Maurer are 8 km short of the turn point. So we have a new leader. Pierre has 78.8km go to the next turn point at the Pic dels Morros and 177.3 km to go to the end of speed section at St Helena de Rodes.
The forecast is great for tomorrow and there will be a westerly wind helping them along so they could theoretically get to goal tomorrow. It’s going to be a nail-biter. Three things about this…
1) Chrigel has won this competition three times before and the final turn points are always somewhere along this area. He knows it well.
2) Maxime went to school in Font Romeu, where paragliding is an elective. The take-off at Targassonne is at the turnpoint. Maxime knows this area between Andorra and east of Targassone well and should feel right at home.
3) For the first time, it is possible to fly all the way to the final TP at Santa Helena. In previous editions, due to the CTR of Girona Airport and the drop zone at Empuria Brava, pilots had to walk the final 30+ km to the final turn point. This year it is possible to fly there, under a certain altitude.
Keep watching to see if the first pilots arrive tomorrow!
Last night we had 10 pilots between TP 4 Arras and TP5 Midi du Bigorre, after the leading 4 Maurer, Pinot, Remy and Oberrauner had tagged the turn point and headed for 6.
Today only more 2 pilots managed to get past the big bad mountain – Tim Alongi and Jordi Vilalta, leaving Noe Court, Lars Meerstetter, Tomas Matera, James Elliot, David Corpas, Fabian Umbricht, Andreas Viehbock and Logan Walters closing in on the point but yet to round it.
The large number of pilots who experienced poor weather and were unable to progress much beyond TP2 at Accous yesterday were rewarded today with much better conditions and a number are overnighting close to TP3 Peña Montañesa, including Rob Curran.
The exciting race was actually at the back today. Keep tuned to that one tomorrow as well, as a lot of pilots are neck-and-neck and will leap frog each other for sure.
The forecast on the course leading to TP4 does look interesting. Winds are light but swinging from WSW, through N to ENE.
Two quick bits of team news…
Kinga has been biviing every night and we met her in a hurry to get to the village of Campo by this evening. The motivator was a night in a hotel, so she was determined to get there before 9pm so as not to miss the chance to have a comfortable bed.
And Rob Curran, he decided to climb Pena Montanesa to tag the turn point and thought he had enough time to get down again. In his words, he worked hard but didn’t think smart and didn’t make it back down the hill. He now has to sleep on a ledge as he is stuck there until 7am. His supporters will bring him a bivi bag and food, but he has a long, uncomfortable night ahead.
Tomorrow could be the day we have our first pilots in goal… or maybe Saturday. Keep tuned and enjoy the race.