Chrigel Maurer wins the Red Bull X-Alps
Success of the Salewa athletes at the Red Bull X-Alps: first Maurer, third Guschlbauer.28 June 2019
The athlete Salewa Chrigel Maurer wins for the sixth consecutive time the hardest adventure race in the world: from Salzburg in Austria to the Principality of Monaco.
With him at the finish line three other Salewa athletes: Paul Guschlbauer, who won the third step of the podium for the fourth time, Simon Oberrauner and the Merano-born Aaron Durogati.
After 10 days, 1,979 km, 40 hours of flight time and 77 hours of walking, Maurer was the first to pass the Red Bull X-Alps finish line in Monaco. Eighteen hours later came the Frenchman Maxime Pinot, one of the strongest athletes in the discipline but at his first experience at what is considered the toughest adventure race in the world. It took another 11 hours for the third-placed finishers to arrive, side by side: another Frenchman, Benoit Outters, according to the last edition, and the Austrian athlete Salewa Paul Guschlbauer, who for the fourth time conquers the step low of the podium.
This year the athletes have encountered dangerous conditions, rainy days when it was almost impossible to fly and a lot of snow at high altitude, where some were forced to spend the night.
"The last nine days have been incredibly intense – explains Chrigel Maurer, a native of Adelboden in Switzerland – and this is a victory for my whole team, which really gave the maximum. Without their support I could never have covered such a distance so quickly. In particular, it was great to have familiar faces around me during the rainy days I met at my home in Switzerland. It helped me never stop."
The company of Paul Guschlbauer, an athlete from Hallein near Salzburg, along the last hundred kilometers of the race was different but no less stimulating. The fight for third place with the French Benoit Outters, who finished second in 2017, was so close that in the end the two decided for the sportier solution, crossing the finish line together. For the 35-year-old Austrian the lowest step of the podium is a habit, having won it continuously since 2011 with the sole exception of the 2013 edition.
The second Austrian of the Salewa team of athletes, Simon Oberrauner, is more than satisfied with his second participation in the competition. His sixth place in the current race does not improve the result of the 2017 debut, when he was fifth from rookie. But reaching the finish line in Monaco despite the throat and ear problems that plagued him from day one is a success that confirms the talent of the 28-year-old from Graz and his brilliant prospects for the future.
Another athlete who has had to compete by coming to terms with his physique is Aaron Durogati from Merano. In 2017 he had to retire due to a knee problem, and this year he competed prudently, focused more on himself than on his opponents, and on the careful use of taping and acupuncture to keep the offending knee under control. For the 33 year old two-time world paragliding champion, having reached the finish line in 10 days and 17 hours is a personal victory.