After winding up in second place last year to Raphaël Addy, now serving a two year doping suspension, 26 year-old Swiss cyclist Justin Paroz only had one goal on Saturday 6 August, improve one place and finish first at the 242 kilometer Tour des Stations ultrafondo high in the Swiss Alps.
In 9:35:55 Paroz, with support from his #1 fan – mom, crushed the mountainous course with over 8800 meters of vertical ascent to become Tour de Stations Champion. It was on the Thyon 2000 climb that he made his move and dropped lead companions Michiel Minnaert, who finished second at 9:49:47, and Steve Morabito who crossed the final timing mat at 9:53:32 in third place.
Afterwards in tears of joy, Paroz told Swiss ArcInfo news, “The last hectometers were only happiness. I was quite ahead, so I tried to manage. Above all, we must be careful never to put ourselves in the red.”
In the not-as-ultra gran fondo, only 133km and 4700m vertical, Austrian Stefan Kirchmair added another victory to his impressive 2022 palmarès by stopping the clock in 4:53:03. Loïc Ruffaut was next in 4:59:44 and Arnaud Tissières earned the final podium spot in 5:03:50
Estonian Nele Ohmann won the women’s gran fondo category with a time of 6:20:13, followed by Luise Valentin (6:24:50) and Tess Lawson (6:26:53).
UCI WorldTeam pro rider Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama–FDJ) rode the gran fondo route for training and in a gentlemanly manner intentionally soft pedaled, letting Arnaud Tissières pass and earn the final podium spot.
“I wanted to leave them the podium. For me, it was good training…” Reichenbach told ArcInfo.
Complete Tour des Stations results HERE.
Photos: Tour des Stations, Justin Paroz