Austrian stars compete in roller racing showpiece

By BikeRadar | Thursday, December 2, 2010 11.30am

Daniel ‘El Nino’ Kofler and Andie ‘PandA’ Strießnig were crowned Battle Cranks bicycle roller racing champions on Saturday November 27 at the Hotel Mohrenwirt in Fuschl am See, sprinting to victory in front of a roaring crowd on the famous Rollapaluza rigs.

Kofler beat over 60 competitors including former professional rider Gerrit Glomser, top endurance athlete Gerhard Gulewicz and Red Bull Air Race pilot Hannes Arch at the high-adrenaline event organised by Zooom Productions.

After a qualifying session, the fastest 16 men and four women went head to head in knockout rounds over 500m. Quickest in qualifying was Jakub "Random" Velikovsky with 22.39sec, but he suffered an upset in the first round when Chris Sams, 16th in qualifying beat him by 0.07sec.

Surprise package was soccer player Bernhard Steiner. In the quarterfinals he knocked out one of the pre-race favourites, Ralph Pecher with the fastest time of the night, 21.71sec. In the semi-final he came up against Kofler and pushed him all the way, leading until the last 100m.

In the other half of the draw, Prolo Radl made steady progress, beating Sams, then Benjamin ‘Zappa’ Duh to come up against Kolfer in a highly anticipated final.

The distance was cruelly upped to 1000m and the crowd at fever pitch as the duo, both bicycle couriers from Graz, battled it out for the title. There was nothing in it for the first 500m, but Kolfer managed to keep his momentum going to the end, fighting against the burn in his legs and spinning to a well deserved win in 52.27sec.

Strießnig was favourite to take out the women’s prize, but had to work hard to beat rapidly improving Evelyn Winkler, who scraped through the semi-final just 0.04sec ahead of Lisa Pleyer.

In the final, Strießnig and Winkler were neck and neck, Strießnig just finding a final shred of energy to pull ahead with a time of 27.78sec ahead of Winkler’s 27.89sec.

As well as top-notch racing, a tombola was held in aid of Wings for Life with prizes from Airstreeem, Suunto and Fischer Skis.

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