Two happy Daniel Geismayr and Hermann Pernsteiner © Miha Matavz
The two Austrians of Centurion Vaude 1 mastered the queen's stage of the 20th event edition from Mayrhofen to Brixen (104.79 km; 3,119 m) in a time of 4:01.51,2.
US American-Czech paaring Jeremiah Bishop and Kristian Hynek of Topeak Ergon Racing 1 came in 24 seconds later (4:02.15,2) while Transalp triple winners (2013-2015) Jochen Kaess (GER) and Markus Kaufmann (GER) of Centurion Vaude 2 rounded out the podium as third (4:05.01,0) being already 3:09 minutes behind of today's fastest duo.
Geismayr and Pernsteiner had already underlined in this year's first climb that they are back for more when they broke away together with 7C athletes Luis Mejia (COL) and Joseph Chavarria (CRC) on the 18 km ascent to Pfitscherjoch.
The four racers had already gained a lead of more than half a minute when they passed the Schegeisspeicher before they got caught again in the downhill to Sterzing.
But when the top-5 teams approached the second climb to Valser Joechl, which was implemented to the well-known Mayrhofen-Brixen route this year for the first time things got decent again.
The defending champions upped the tempo with Topeak Ergon Racing 1, which had been teamed up just two days prior to the event start, being the sole duo able to keep up the pace.
The quartet rode side by side before a collision between Bishop and Pernsteiner led to a broken pedal for the US American who then had to burry his dreams of his first Transalp stage win.
“He was a little bit over-motivated and took me out in a turn so we both went down. That was unnecessary – but that's racing,” commented Pernsteiner in the finish.
“Despite that, things went well for us today. Now, we have to make sure to recover again and keep pushing it tomorrow.”
His teammate Geismayr, who had earned his career first world championships medal a few weeks ago coming in third in Singen, added: “As it was the first race day, everyone was going really fast. It was a tough ride.”
The start in Mayrhofen © Miha Matavz
Women's favourites on top
Over in the women's event, Esther Suess (SUI) and Jennie Stenerhag (SWE) of Meerendal CBC underlined in 5:20.15,8 that they are here to take home the Transalp crown.
The 2017 Cape Epic winners relegated ValdiSoleBikeLand-SCOTT Girls Lorenza Menapace (ITA) and Naima Diesner (GER) with an advantage of more than 25 minutes to the second rank (5:45.45,1).
Former world champion Massimo Debertolis (ITA) and Dax Jaikel (CRC) of Wilier Force 7C dominated the masters classifier (4:34.16,5) while Swiss Hansjuerg Gerber and Daniel Christen of bikeholiday.ch/bike arena emmetten stood out in the grand masters event (4:44.15,5).
2014 and 2015 Transalp winners Silke Ulrich and Sascha Schwindling of Germany based Team Herzlichst Zypern 1 won the mixed category in a time of 4:50.13,2.
All results of the 20th BIKE Transalp's first stage can be checked online.