The Women’s World Champion and the South African are the top favorites for Saturday’s Internazionali d’Italia Series finale in Aosta Valley
Internazionali d’Italia Series is ready for its last seasonal showdown. Tomorrow, Saturday, June 25th, La Thuile MTB Race will crown the new champions of the most important Italian XCO series. The challenging course designed by trail builder Enrico Martello was made more treacherous by Friday morning’s downpour; nevertheless, sunny weather is forecast for Saturday’s showdown.
Evie Richards will don her XCO World Champion’s rainbow stripes in La Thuile on Saturday. The Brit returns to the competition in the Italian event after dealing with back troubles and skipping the recent World Cup stage in Leogang. This will also be Richards’ first display in Italy since last year’s World Championships’ glory in Val di Sole.
Richards perfectly knows the La Thuile terrain, having dominated the first two editions of the event in 2019 and 2021. Also, South Africa’s Alan Hatherly has had the chance to get acquainted with La Thuile’s course, having arrived in Aosta Valley nearly two weeks ago for an intense altitude training camp.
The Hors Category event’s schedule spreads over three days, with the Internazionali d’Italia Series final races holding place on Saturday. On Friday and Sunday, June 24th and 26th, the Italian Cross Country Eliminator National Championships also take place in La Thuile.
FOUR RIDERS IN THE RUN FOR INTERNAZIONALI OPEN MEN’S CROWN
Luca Braidot (Santa Cruz-FSA), Nadir Colledani (MMR Racing), both with 140 points, Filippo Fontana (CS Carabinieri), 130, and Simone Avondetto (Wilier-Pirelli), 122, are all in the discussion for Internazionali d’Italia Series’ overall win in the Open Men’s category. Gioele Bertolini sits just behind those at 104.
A thrilling encounter for the overall win might well be decided by the likes of Hatherly himself, among the most consistent performers in this 2022 season, and Italy’s Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Specialized Factory Racing), feeling the urge of changing the pace of a so-far disappointing season.
SPECIA TO HOLD OFF LECHNER IN OPEN WOMEN’S LEAD DEFENSE
World Champion Evie Richards will certainly be the rider to watch in the Open Women’s race, but the competition for the series GC also adds interest to this final round. Giada Specia (Wilier-Pirelli) has a 45-point cushion to defend on Eva Lechner (Trinx Factory Team), in the quest to win her first Internazionali open title.
Other standout names include American Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Team), Canadian Emily Batty (Canyon MTB Racing), and Martina Berta (Santa Cruz-FSA), racing in her home region.
UCI JUNIOR SERIES STAGE 12
The men’s race of the UCI Junior Series will open the Internazionali d’Italia Series program at 09.00 AM CET. Italy’s Marco Betteo (Scott Racing Team) sits firmly atop the Internazionali d’Italia Series standings for the category. Frenchman Paul Magnier (Veloroc-Lapierre) and Liechtenstein’s Romano Puntener (Thomus Akros), winner in San Zeno di Montagna, are expected to feature big in the quest for the stage success.
In the Women’s Junior Series race, Internazionali’s leader Valentina Corvi (Trinx Factory Team) will look to compete for the big prize against Ukrainian Mariia Sukhopalova (Carbonhubo) and Chilean Amalian Medina Fernandez (Chile National Team).
LA THUILE MTB RACE’S SCHEDULE
The La Thuile MTB Race program spreads over three days: after today’s Italian Youth XCE Championships, tomorrow, on Saturday, June 25th is dedicated to the Internazionali d’Italia Series events (Men’s UCI Junior Series at 10.30 CEST, Open and UCI Junior Series Women at 12.30 CEST, Open Men at 15.00 CEST).
On Sunday, June 26th, the XCO youth competitions will start at 09.00 CEST with the Rookie Men races, followed by Rookie Women races at 10.00 CEST, Cadet Women at 11.00 CEST and Cadet Men at 12.30 CEST. Rounding out the program will be the Italian XCE Championships in the afternoon, from 15.30.
HIGHLIGHTS ON FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE
On Saturday night, an extended video highlight feature of Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 5 will be aired at 21:00 CEST on the series’ Facebook and Youtube official channels.