France in force at La Thuile: Marotte, Team Absolut Absalon and Ferrand-Prévot

French riders are expected to make an impact on Internazionali d’Italia Series’ fifth and last stage: in addition to GC leader Tempier, Maxime Marotte, Jordan Sarrou and former World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot will take part in the Italian race

The Aoste Valley is a land with a great tradition in Mountain Biking. After hosting 2017 Internazionali d’Italia Series’ final showdown in Courmayeur and the 2018 Italian National Championships in Pila, the North-Western region of Italy will again be theater to the final stage of the most important Italian Cross Country circuit. In the same weekend, La Thuile will host the Italian round of the UCI Junior Series.

On the occasion of the fifth and last stage of the circuit handled by CM Outdoor Events under the aegis of the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), French athletes are expected to impact prominently on the outcome of La Thuile MTB, on Saturday June 22nd.

In Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing) and the strong athletes of the Team Absolute Absalon – Jordan Sarrou, Mathis Azzaro and Thomas Bonnet – the main favourites for Internazionali d’Italia Series’ crown will find some serious competition. A challenge in the challenge, raising the bar of the run for the overall standings, between Frenchman Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail), the current leader of the circuit after winning in Andora and Nals, and his closest rival Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado Ursus), new #1 of the UCI World Ranking and winner of stage 4 in Pineto. The Italian Champion occupies the overall second place, 11 points behind Tempier.

“I am really looking forward to racing in Italy – said Marotte. – Internazionali d’Italia Series events are always well organized, and it’s a pleasure to take part in them. In addition, the race course seems to be really nice, so I’m just really happy to come and race with world-class riders in the build-up to the next World Cup fixtures”.

There’s more to that: along with duel for the overall win in the Women’s Open category between home-favorite Martina Berta (Torpado Ursus) and Eva Lechner (Torpado Südtirol), 2015 World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prévot is expected to star in La Thuile. The Team Canyon-SRAM biker is now on her way to full recovery, after missing the first part of the season due a vascular problem to her legs. Ninth in the recent UCI World Cup round in Nove Mesto, Ferrand-Prévot will try to claim the first seasonal win, with the goal of gaining confidence ahead of the second half of the season.

La Thuile MTB will offer three days of action: on Friday June 21st the warm-up and preliminary operations will take place, followed Saturday by the Internazionali d’Italia Series races. The Men’s UCI Junior Series round will open the programme at 10.30 am CET, followed by the Women’s competitions (Open and UCI Junior Series) at 12.30 and the Men’s Open race at 3.00 pm. On Sunday June 23rd, the youth races will close the programme: the Men’s Cadets race starts at 10.00, followed by Cadet and Rookie Women at 11.00 and Rookie Men at 1.30 pm.