Cannondale Factory Racing’s Frenchman, #3 of the UCI World ranking, start things off at the Internazionali d’Italia, where he won in Montichiari last year. With a view on the overall title
The 2017 Internazionali d’Italia Series start in the name of big stars on Saturday March 4th with Verona MTB International at the Parco delle Colombare, just a few kilometers away from the iconic Arena.
Showing up on the starting line of the new event, organized by Ivan Cristofaletti ASD Giomas, will be Maxime Marotte, the 30-year-old rider, #3 of the UCI World Ranking, and new big gun of the Cannondale Factory Racing Team that said goodbye to Marco Aurelio Fontana. An international star is coming to Italy to contend the frontrunner’s status for the Internazionali d’Italia opener to Team Bianchi Countervail’s Prorider and his teammate Stephane Tempier.
“Until last year, I was racing for a French team (BH Bikes) whose programme was very much focused on the French calendar, so I did not get so many opportunities to race at the Internazionali d’Italia”, said the 30-year-old from Mulhouse, who claimed the sole Internazionali d’Italia race he took part in last year, the Trofeo Delcar in Montichiari. “I really like this circuit. I am looking forward to the show and a great atmosphere, also because the races are usually run in the city centers, with a lot of fans. And I was looking forward to a new challenge to start the season.”
About his change of jersey, Marotte already looks comfortable in the new colors: “The first training camp in South Africa went really well, and I think joining Cannondale was the right choice. Honestly, it feels like I have been part of this group for much longer.”
The Frenchman won’t make predictions on his performance in Verona, but has clear mind about his most expected rivals: “I just have training under the belt, so it’s hard to say where I could be compared to the rivals, and I am looking forward to the feedbacks from the first race. In Verona, I think Marco Aurelio Fontana will be the one to beat: he is coming off the cyclocross season, and he will be super motivated from the new challenge at Team Bianchi Countervail. I expect Stephane Tempier to get better race after race, and I think he will be the man for Nalles.”
The event in Verona will be the first round of an intense campaign for Marotte at the Internazionali d’Italia: “I also have Milano, Montichiari and Nalles in my programme. Do I think about the GC? If things get well, it would be a pleasure to fight for it.”
Everybody watch out: whoever wants to claim the Internazionali d’Italia crown will find Maxime Marotte on his way.
VERONA MTB INTERNATIONAL’S PROGRAMME
Saturday March 4th, 2017
9:00 – 11:00 – Free practice on the route
11:40 – 11:55 – Call-up Open Women, Junior Men and Junior Women
12:00 – 13:30 – Internazionali d’Italia XCO race – Open Women, Junior Men and Junior Women
(awarding ceremony to follow)
13:40 – 14:10 – Free practice on the route
14:15 – 14:30 – Call-up Open Men
14:30 – 16:00 – Internazionali d’Italia XCO race – Open Men (awarding ceremony to follow)
2017 INTERNAZIONALI D’ITALIA SERIES CALENDAR
March 4th 2017: Verona MTB International
March 12th 2017: Milano “La Montagnetta”
April 2nd 2017: Trofeo Delcar – Montichiari (BS)
April 9th 2017: Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race – Nalles (BZ)
June 3rd 2017: Courmayeur Internazionale (AO)