In the eve’s interviews, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Absolute Absalon) was shy about her condition for just her fourth outing of the season, but was sure in naming Loana Lecomte (Massi) as first in her list of favorites.
The World Champion was right: the fellow French rider, reigning Under 3e World Champion, literally dominated a star-studded race. Right from the start, Lecomte forced the pace and left the company of the rest of the group. Behind her, Ferrand-Prevot was the only athlete, along with Sina Frei (Specialized Factory Racing) to limit the damage initially, but already at the end of round 3 (of 5), Lecomte had over a minute on the Elite World Champion, nearly two on Frei and 2.30 on a quartet formed by Anne Terpstra (Ghost Factory Racing), Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing), Mona Mitterwallner (Trek-Vaude) and Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM).
For the 21-year-old Frenchwoman, already a World Cup round winner among the Elite in Nove Mesto in 2020, it was a triumphal ride. “It was great to win here, but I didn’t expect to do it this way – said Lecomte. – “I was fine, but distancing rivals of this level is a really good sign in view of the World Cup. Last year, my first World Cup win was important, but every year is different: this result has great significance for me. I don’t race too much in Italy, but I hope this will change soon.”
“I’m not at my best yet, but I had good feelings so I tried to push hard,” said Ferrand-Prevot, second. “Loana had an impressive race, and I’m really happy for her and for France: the goal is to be the team to beat for the medals in Tokyo.”
On the other hand, the challenge for third place behind Ferrand-Prevot (second at 1.44) was an entertaining one, and winning it was young Austrian Mona Mitterwallner (+2.05), once again the protagonist of an impressive comeback like in Andora. Three reigning World Champions stepped on the first 3 steps of the podium: Elite (Ferrand-Prevot), Under 23 (Lecomte) and Junior (Mitterwallner). Fourth place for Sina Frei (+2.45), fifth for Jolanda Neff (+3.15).
Eighth and best of the Italians was Chiara Teocchi (Trinity Racing, +4.31), who also took over the overall Open Women leader’s jersey.
In the women’s round of the Junior Series, Sara Cortinovis (Four Es Racing Team) confirmed on an international scale what had already been showing in the previous Internazionali d’Italia Series rounds, taking her third success in as many stages. Two German athletes finished behind her: Andrea Kravanja (Stevens Schubert Racing Team) and Sina Van Thiel (RSC Auto Brosch Kempten).