Anchorage — After finishing fourth overall in the first stage and third in the second stage, Butch Martin of Indiana rocketed to first place in Thursday's third stage of the Sadler's Alaska Challenge handcycling race.
Martin covered the approximately 51 miles from Nenana to Healy in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 4 seconds, to win the gradually uphill stage by more than eight minutes.
Rafal Wilk of Poland, who won Stage 1 and Stage 2, finished second in Wednesday's stage in 2:11:19, good enough to maintain his first place overall in the general classification. Wilk's total time is 5:01:26, which gives him a lead of 5:05 in the overall standings.
Walter Ablinger of Austria, third Wednesday in 2:12:08, sits second overall in 5:06:31. Third-place overall belongs to Martin, who trails Wilk by 14:44.
Thea Rosa of California posted the fastest women's time Wednesday in 2:53:56 and has been the fastest woman in all three stages of the seven-stage race that bills itself as the longest, toughest handcycling race in the world. Rosa leads the women's overall standings by nearly 29 minutes.
The race gets even more difficult Friday, when the 16 racers compete in two stages. The day begins with a 10.9-mile time trial in the morning. That will be followed by an afternoon road race that covers 28.2 miles from Cantwell to Denali.
The Challenge on Saturday covers nearly 50 miles in a road race, then wraps Sunday with a brutal 22.5-mile climb from Palmer to Independence Mine.
Sadler's Alaska Challenge
Thursday's Stage 3 -- 51 miles
(Overall time in parentheses)
H2 -- 1) Walter Ablinger 2:12:08 (5:06:31); 2) Peer Bartels 2:32:55 (5:56:26); 3) Jacob Freeland 2:53:56 (7:19:12); 4) Michael Biship 3:42:55 (9:05:01).
H3 -- 1) Rafal Wilk 2:11:19 (5:01:26, overall leader); 2) Butch Martin 2:03:04, stage winner (5:16:10); 3) Carlos Moleda 2:13:48 (5:31:31); 4) Michael Postell 2:44:06 (6:32:58); 5) Gerard Ah Fook 2:44:06 (6:59:49); 6) Larry Coutermarsh 4:15:57 (12:13:41).
H4 -- 1) Alfredo de los Santos 2:19:46 (5:47:39); 2) Robert Puckett III 2:53:56 (6:44:08); 3) Joseph Beimfohr 3:45:09 (9:16:57).
Women -- 1) Thea Rosa 2:53:56 (7:36:16); 2) Carrie Finale 3:11:56 (8:05:08); 3) Karin Korb 3:45:53 (9:19:19).