The team of Michele Casagrande and Serena Calvetti wear the Tricolore jerseys: tomorrow, Calvetti will aim for the Internazionali d’Italia’s overall jersey. Fontana and Tempier frontrunners for the men’s title
The mountain bike weekend in the Aoste Valley has been opened today, Friday June 2nd, with the Italian Team Relay National Championships. Twenty-three teams have battled in the sun in Courmayeur: opening the afternoon was the Youth categories’ race, won by the “home” team, Pila Bike Planet.
After the amateur race won by Pavan Free Bike Asd, the anticipated Open race saw plenty of twists of fate over the five laps: after four, the Melavì Focus Bike team was surprisingly in the lead with a team of youngsters, just ahead of Damil – GT Trevisan. A strong final effort by Michele Casagrande allowed the latter team to take the lead and the overall win, edging KTM-Protec-Dama by 29 seconds and Lapierre-Trentino-Alè by 31 seconds.
The line-up of the winning team included Casagrande, Nicola Taffarel, Domenico Valerio, Maria Zarantonello and Serena Calvetti, who will try to secure her Internazionali d’Italia Series Open Women’s race. “We were hopeful to get a good result, even though there were stronger team on cards,” Michele Casagrande told. “The race got a good twist for us, my teammates did a huge work and I finalized it with a solid fraction, seizing the final celebration. But it is far from over: tomorrow Serena will start to defend her Internazionali d’Italia lead, Nicola Taffarel is third among Juniors and could rise to second, and I would also like to close on a high in Courmayeur.”
Calvetti herself shows confidence: “Tomorrow I will try to win my own final fraction, in a tight race in which I will have to defend a minimal gap on Chiara Teocchi for the Internazionali d’Italia Series GC. The course is very technical, but I like it a lot, even more than last year: today I felt good, hopefully I can confirm these feelings tomorrow.”
Tomorrow, Saturday June 3rd, the programme will be opened at 9.30 by the Junior Men race, where Juri Zanotti (Velo Club Monte Tamaro) will count on a good margin to save his red leader’s jersey. At 11.30, along with Open Women, Junior Women will be in the race with Marika Tovo (Rudy Project – XCR) in pole position. The grand finale will start at 13.30, with the Open Men race: GC leader Marco Aurelio Fontana (Bianchi Countervail) only relies on a slim cushion on Stephane Tempier, with Andrea Tiberi (NOB-Selle Italia) and Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Gabogas) standing out among the outsiders, whilst Nadir Colledani (Torpado-Gabogas), after winning in Albstadt, will try to save the Under 23 leader’s jersey against Gioele Bertolini (NOB-Selle Italia).
Saturday June 3rd (Internazionali d’Italia Series – Stage 5)
8.00-9-00 Route practice
9.30: Junior Men start
11.30: Open Women start
11.32: Junior Women start
13.30: Open Men start