Stage 2 of the 2022 4Islands MTB Croatia saw both Singer Factory Racing and Allebike Canyon Northwave claim their second stage win on the trot.
The island of Rab was the playground for the stage that featured some 76 kilometres and 1250 metres of climbing and the racing was full gas from the start as the ferry’s horn sounded to signal the start of the day.
Singer Racing Team’s Simon Stiebjahn and Martin Frey had shown their class during Stage 1 and made it clear that they had arrived at the race to win, a statement they backed up as they controlled the day and lead into the 2000-year-old city of Rab which hosted the finish of Stage 2 for the first time in the event’s history.
Hot on the heels of Singer Racing Team were BUFF MEGAMO 2’s Hugo Drechou and Peter Pruus, but they were unable to hold the wheel through the town as Stiebjahn and Frey launched the stage-winning attack through the twisting and turning ancient streets.
“We couldn’t be happier to have secured the hat-trick,” recounted Frey of the team’s Prologue and two back to back stage wins. “Today we had it all under control and we could go for the win at the end of the stage to complete a great day.”
Stiebjahn added “When we heard the horn from the ferry it was a special situation that was made even better when we raced off the ferry and onto the island. That was a first-time experience for me, and it made the day really special for me.”
The Women’s racing saw an equally dominant performance from Allebike Canyon Northwave’s Lejla Tanovic and Stefanie Dohrn who won the stage and tightened their grip on the Ciovita leader jerseys. They now lead the Women’s category by 15 minutes and 18 seconds over second-placed MTB Pro Merchandising Racing and Olympia – RDR Italia.
“Today was really good and this island was totally different from Krk,” explained Lejla Tanovic. “We played to our strengths in the beginning, and I was in the front on the climbs, but when it flattened out I was just hanging on to Stefanie’s wheel. The stage really suited us amazingly and it showed we’re a great pairing.”
Stage 3 continues the race’s trend of showcasing a new island for each stage and teams will be treated to the trails on the islands of Cres. The stage is 72 kilometres long and boasts 1690 metres of climbing, much of which arrives within the first half, and if the profile is anything to go by, it is sure to be steep. But what goes up must come down and teams will experience a section of single track known as ‘Shepherd’s Paradise’, this section is closed outside of the event and is said to be the trail that all teams will remember when they reflect on the event for years to come.