Hardcore racing expected in Nals after Friday’s showers  

An entertaining and uncertain race expects the riders tomorrow, Saturday April 2nd, at the 21st Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race. Friday’s heavy rain adds a further challenge to a very tough course. Hatherly and Mitterwallner challenge Kerschbaumer e Lechner

April is time for cycling classics, either in road and offroad cycling. In Belgium the expectation is rising for Sunday’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen; tomorrow, Saturday, the 21st edition of the classic par excellence of Italian Mountain Biking, Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, will be held in Nals, South Tyrol.

Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 2, the first Hors Categorie event of the season in Italy, might be more challenging and uncertain than ever. The long-expected rain in this area has finally come on the eve of the race, on Friday: good news for the apple growers, not quite as much for the athletes, who must be ready for a hardcore Saturday, between the slopes of the Nightingale climb and the pitfalls of the descents through roots and slippery stones.

The weather is expected to improve slightly for Saturday, with light rain still falling until the early afternoon.

OPEN RACES: CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING TAKE ON THE ITALIAN RIVALS
Among the riders who started testing the course today, Friday, April 1st, the general consensus is that the Cannondale Factory Racing’s riders, South African Alan Hatherly and Austrian Mona Mitterwallner, should be regarded as the top favorite for the HC race in Nals.

The toughest rivals in the Men’s race might be Italian national champion Nadir Colledani (MMR) and home-favorite Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Team Specialized), whilst fellow National Champion Eva Lechner (Team Trinx), whose hometown is a few kilometers from here, will chase her fifth career win in Nals.

German Ronja Eibl (Alpecin-Fenix), Dutch Lotte Koopmans (Netherlands National Team) and Italy’s Giada Specia (Wilier-Pirelli), the winner of Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 1 in San Zeno di Montagna, are more riders to watch in the Open Women’s race.

UCI JUNIOR SERIES: THE FUTURE OF XCO GATHERS IN NALS
As in previous years, the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race also hosts a UCI Junior Series stage.

The winner of Internazionali’s stage 1 in San Zeno, Liechtenstein’s Marco Püntener (Thömus Akros) starts as the top favorite among Junior Men in Nals, challenged by the likes of Germany’s Lars Grater (German Technology), France’s Paul Magnier (Veloroc Lapierre) and Italy’s Marco Betteo (Scott Racing Team).

The Junior Women’s race also projects to be open and hotly contested: Brit Ella McLean-Howell (Tofauti Everyone) will race with the #1 bib, but Valentina Corvi (Trinx Factory Team), winner in San Zeno di Montagna, has every chance to compete for the top prize.

The 2022 Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race program is split into two days. The Internazionali d’Italia Series’ race will take place on Saturday, April 2nd, starting with the Men’s UCI Junior Series at 9:30, followed by Open and Junior Series Women (11:30) and Open Men (13:30, all CET times).

On Sunday, April 3rd, the Youth Competitions will be held: Rookie and Cadet Women at 9:30, 1st-year Rookie Men at 10:30, 2nd-year Rookie Men at 11:30, 1st year Cadet Men at 12:30, and 2nd year Cadet Men at 13.30 (all CET times).

HIGHLIGHTS ON FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE 
On Saturday evening at 21:00 (CET), a 25’ video highlight magazine of the 2022 Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race will be broadcast on Internazionali d’Italia Series’ Facebook and Youtube channels.