Team Centurion Vaude mastered the route's final 60.41 kilometres and 2,309 metres of climbing, which led from Roncone to Arco today, in 2:48.13,6 hours.
In total, the triple winners of 2013, 2014 and 2015 pedalled 22:41.23,9 hours to make it via 505.88 kilometres and 18,167 metres of climbing from Imst to Lake Garda.
Urs Huber (SUI) and Simon Stiebjahn (GER) of Team Bulls 1 wrapped up the Transalp as second of the general classification (22:46.44,7) being forced to burry their hopes for a wonder on the final race day due to a technical defect.
Over the past days, the Swiss-German pair had controlled the fate with four consecutive stage wins therefore continuously reducing the gap to the yellow jerseys. But today, rank four (2:52.28,4) behind of Tony Longo (ITA) and Johnny Cattaneo (ITA) of Wilier Force 7C 1 (2:49.55,1) as well as two-time world champion Roel Paulissen (BEL) and Mattia Longa (ITA) of Cannondale Buonristoro RH Racing, who jumped on the podium as third for the first time this week (2:52.03,6), was the maximum Huber and Stiebjahn could get.
Rank three in the overall ranking went to Uwe Hochenwarter (AUT) and Gregory Brenes (CRC) of Wilier Force 7C 2 (23:09.56,1), who rolled over the finish line in Arco as fifth fastest team today (2:53.09,3).
Following a stormy night the final stage took place on partly muddy tracks promising the most thrilling duel for the title of the recent years after Team Bulls 1 had closed the gap on the top spot of the general classification to 1.06 minutes over the past four days.
As a result, the dominating duos of this year's Transalp had a game plan in store for the showdown across di Giovo Pass and Bocca di Trat as well as several technical very demanding single track downhills. However, Huber's and Stienjahn's dream burst like a bubble when Stiebjahn suffered a puncture in the first part of the race.
While Kaufmann and Kaess had opted for offence is the best defence, Stiebjahn had tried to break away with Longo and Cattaneo in the downhill from di Giovo Pass hoping that his teammate Huber would be able to power away from Centurion Vaude in the final climb of the 2018 Transalp. But other than expected, his back wheel queered his pitch.
“We had a puncture in the first downhill, and basically that was all about it,” explained Huber. “But we are pleased with how the race week did unfold. It was more than we had been expecting. We were able to battle for the title until the end and also claimed five stages. Congratulations to Markus and Jochen who rode very strong and consistent. They both deserve the title.”
Thanks to their victory, Kaufmann and Kaess, who both had placed second last year behind of their teammates Hermann Pernsteiner (AUT) and Daniel Geismayr (AUT), were able to extend their squads Transalp winning streak. Since 2013, a duo of Centurion Vaude has prevailed at the BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma.
“It was obvious that today would be like all or nothing with plenty of attacking by all teams. Team Bulls did try to break away a few times but we were able to maintain in control. In the end, we did benefit from Stiebjahn's technical defect,” rounded up Kaufmann.
“This title means a lot to me. It's the sixth consecutive win for the squad. That Jochen and I were able to take home the win, especially after we had our problems two years ago, is amazing.”