La Thuile is Kerschbaumer’s apotheosis: World’s #1 takes it all

Impressive show of strength by the Italian, who legitimates his top spot in the World ranking with a top-class success and the circuit’s GC. Unlucky Tempier forced to abandon

 From the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia Series, something has changed in Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus). The wins in Pineto and Chies d’Alpago had elevated him to a different dimension and a new awareness, the same that led him to the World Cup success in Andorra and the World’s silver medal after a tight battle with Schurter.

Today at La Thuile MTB, the World’s #1 offered a classy display, winning with authority a spectacular and top-level race, in which the technical quality of the course met the riders’ desire to give their very best, and climbed back to the top of Internazionali d’Italia Series seven years later.

Second overall before the race, Kerschbaumer knew he had to attack to assault the lead of Stephane Tempier (Bianchi-Countervail) and was ready when Gioele Bertolini (Santa Cruz-FSA) accelerated early on, followed by the fellow Italian, Jordan Sarrou (Absolut Absalon) and Maxime Marotte (Cannondale). Starting from lap 1 after the launch, Kerschbaumer took the initiative by forcing a frantic pace: first to give up was Marotte, followed by Bertolini in the third lap, and finally Sarrou in the penultimate one, leaving way to a solo parade for the Italian Champion. In the meantime, Tempier was forced out of the race in lap 3, due to a broken chain. The Frenchman was left with the second place overall, followed by teammate Nadir Colledani, ninth on the day.

It was a tough and beautiful race, very high level – told Kerschbaumer, – I liked the loop since the first recognition, but honestly I didn’t expect Sarrou, and particularly Bertolini, to be so strong today. I am back on the Internazionali d’Italia Series throne after 2012, but it’s an all-different story: it was three months of highly-competitive racing, closed by this World-class La Thuile MTB.

What has changed from last year? I am more serene, more confident. I know I can go fast, to make a difference on the uphill. The results are only a consequence.” There was more than a reason to celebrate at Torpado-Ursus, with Juri Zanotti claiming the overall win among Under 23.

Second and third placed on the day, Sarrou and Bertolini also looked satisfied with their performance and results. “Gerhard made the difference in the climbing sections,” the Frenchman said, “I came back on him several times on descent, but in the end, it was the strongest man who won. It’s always a pleasure to race in Italy: the level is very high, that’s ideal racing to warm up for the upcoming World Cup stages.” Bertolini was back on the podium after a challenging early season stint. “I think today’s Gioele was stronger than the one who won the Internazionali d’Italia Series last year. I have worked hard, and now I am finally spinning legs the way I wanted. That’s a valuable result, and I aim to be even stronger in Andorra’s World Cup stage.