The Azzurri’s dreams of glory start at Elba Island

Capoliveri hosted the preseason training camp for the Italian National MTB Team with a preview of the 2022 Internazionali d’Italia Series’ HC event

A few months after the 2021 Marathon World Championships, which ended the Italian mountain bike season, Elba Island has opened the new season for Italian mountain biking. In fact, Capoliveri hosted the preseason training camp for the Italian National Cross-country Team from January 24 to February 2.

Under the guidance of TD Mirko Celestino, 17 athletes – including the U23 runner-up world champion, Juri Zanotti, and the Internazionali d’Italia Series defending champion, Chiara Teocchi – joined the training camp to improve their fitness and sampled the race route for Stage 3 of the Internazionali d’Italia Series, set in Capoliveri and scheduled for Monday, April 18.

“We had training sessions with both the road and mountain bike, where we focused on technical skills. Elba Island is perfect for intense technical training, thanks to its favorable weather conditions. We would like to thank the Capoliveri Bike Park and Elba Tourism Board for the hospitality, as well as Maurizio Melis for the invaluable partnership,” said Mirko Celestino.

Year after year, Elba Island has represented an increasingly important junction in the international mountain bike season. In addition to the long and successful history of the Capoliveri Legend, which culminated in the latest edition of the Marathon World Championships, the Capoliveri Legend XCO was added in 2021. This year’s second edition has been awarded the HC classification for the impressive technical showdown from last April, which included the mighty racers, Nino Schurter and Henrique Avancini.

The Capoliveri Legend XCO is one of three HC events in the 2022 Internazionali d’Italia Series calendar, along with the historic Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race in Nals, and another newly promoted race, La Thuile MTB. This is a historic win for Italian mountain biking, which is preparing to host three HC events for the first time ever.

“It’s big news for us because organizing events such as these in Italy gives our riders, especially the youngsters, a great opportunity to race against the best athletes in the world. Furthermore, I have an ideal opportunity to keenly follow the most celebrated athletes on the national team,” explained Celestino.

Capoliveri Legend XCO organizers are already working on some interesting changes to the route. “After last year’s valuable feedback, we want to keep the bar very high and try to improve some details. The race route will be very difficult from a technical point of view, with more passing sections compared to the last edition,” announced Maurizio Melis, head of the race organization.

The Azzurri tested the new route located on Mount Calamita and designed with technical input from Enrico Martello. “The organizers added some variations to a race route that already had a solid technical foundation. We were all a bit curious to see the new course, which satisfied our riders. I think this is further confirmation of the very high level reached by the Italian organizers, who have become more and more recognized at the international level.”

Capoliveri Legend XCO will start on Saturday, April 16 with the youth races (cadets and juniors). Amateur racing will happen on Sunday, April 17, followed by the Internazionali d’Italia Series races (Junior and Open/Elite and U23) on Monday, April 18.