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|Alvaro Figueiredo Sandoli|
Tolmezzo, 19th July 2019
In the longest task of this world championship to date, Italy is still a team to
beat. Great is the Brazilian Pinto who redeems the landing out of the third day.
After the stop imposed yesterday due to adverse weather that has actually
anticipated the rest day (required by regulation after six consecutive tasks),
the XXII World Championship of hang-gliding organized among others by Flyve, Aec
Lega Piloti and AeroClub Italia is resumed today with the fourth task, which in
the usual morning briefing saw the change of take-off location on Mount Cuarnan
near Gemona del Friuli. For the landing instead, once again the Bordano airfield
was confirmed, one of the many countries (together with Gemona of course) that
on the evening of 6 May 1976 it was razed to the ground by the terrible
earthquake, but like all Friuli knew be reborn in a short time and leave again.
Today's task was very demanding, at the moment the longest of the World
Championship with almost 143km to go all in one go, with Italy called to defend
first place in the team general with 8503 points (according to Brazil with 7746
and third Germany with 7367), as well as the individual where in the order
Ploner, Ciech, Selenati and Laurenzi find themselves in the top five positions
with a single intruder the never-Austrian Austrian Ruhmer, ninth in the FAI
ranking and holder of ten world titles.
After the splendid departure from Cuarnan (admired by many people with the
"upturned nose" from Gemona del Friuli), the first buoy a few kilometers away
was that of Artegna, where our Ciech passed first and left behind the Slovenian
Franc Peternel, the compatriot Ploner (second in the flight of debut and in that
of the day before yesterday) and two other insidious pilots, like the German
Gricar (winner of the second task) and the Swiss Neuenschwander (second
Tuesday). The hang gliders continued to the turn point in Slovenia, near Kobarid:
for the first time in the history of the World Championships, the race was
partially carried out in a different state than the host one, surely due to the
organization which it was well spent in order to reach this historic goal.
Polach (Czech Republic), Smith (New Zealand), Majors (USA) and another group
managed to find an important thermal just a few kilometers from the turn point
across the border; Cantesanu, the only Romanian in the race, has lost altitude
instead by landing off goal. Behind this group, the excellent Italian (and
Friulian) Suan Selenati quickly arrived; the choice of the group was instead to
follow the mountain slope, a fitting decision because in a short time they were
re-attached to the fugitives at an altitude of about 2000m of height and over
70km/h of speed.
In the return to Trasaghis, where the third buoy was placed, the leading trio
was composed of Gricar, Ciech and Ploner, with Pinto, Ruhmer and Neuenschwander
(very fast in the stretch in question) to chase. Most of the group even in this
phase, preferred to follow the profile of the mountain, which guaranteed their
quotas and speeds always worthy of respect.
Ruhmer first touched the third turn point; unlike the stretch carried out up to
that moment along the mountain (continuous line with very high average speed),
the path towards the last buoy located at 9km from Cividale del Friuli, flying
over a hilly area, required an important mental strategy, where fundamental it
was the evaluation of the lines: the development of the heaps and also the
flight of the birds, were important references - as underlined by the "meteoman"
Damiano Zanocco - transforming the competitive challenge into a real chess game.
Ruhmer continued taking altitude following a line able to make him bypass the
plain, flying east and also Ciech, Ploner and Gricar, along with the Brazilian
Pinto, opted for this choice. Neuenschwander instead chose the trajectory from
Cuarnan (today's take-off site) towards the south, about 3 km from the other
pilots, climbing well but not quickly and soon being overtaken by the first
group just mentioned that in the meantime had reached almost more than 2000m.
Ciech, Ruhmer and Ploner once again composed the leading group flying at 2200m
at about 85km/h "at full throttle" towards Cividale; in the Nimis area they
found a thermal with good values (more than 4m/s) and took advantage of the
full altitude. In the equally fast return to Bordano, Alex Ploner - thanks to a
wonderful tactical choice that guaranteed him a stable speed towards landing
more than 70 km/h without ever having to stop to resume altitude - he managed
to take a good margin of advantage over Ciech and Ruhmer scoring first with a
time of 02.45.46 anticipating the Austrian and his teammate, thus putting
another important seal on both the individual journey and the Azzurri towards
the final goal.
Petr Polach: https://www.facebook.com/polachp/videos/2582778105113987/
|Alvaro Figueiredo Sandoli|