The Prorider dominates in Aosta Valley, the Damil GT Trevisan’s rider overcomes two punctures to end on the podium and claim th GC. Eva Lechner stage winner in Courmayeur, Juri Zanotti and Marika Tovo wear the Junior leader’s jerseys
The 2017 Internazionali d’Italia Series came to an end on Saturday June 3rd in Aosta Valley, offering a great show of technique and effort: Courmayeur MTB Event lived up to the expectations, with intense challenges on the very techincal 4km loop that severely tested the riders, who were coming off two weary World Cup weekends, as well as their bikes. Velo Club Courmayeur organizers deserve credit for creating a course that the riders themselves liked even more than the Italian National Championships’ one of twelve months ago.
It was a real test for the 200 riders in the race, but the fact that none of the six Internazionali d’Italia Series leaders’ jerseys by Northwave Custom Project has changed owners in the final stage means that the circuit’s races – from Verona to Courmayeur, through Milan, Montichiari and Nals, evidenced the real technical values of the contenders, hence giving valuable indications to the many top riders who came to Italy to take part in the circuit’s races. CM Outdoor Events, Internazionali d’Italia Series’ organizing company, managed to further raise the bar in terms of participation numbers and quality. The team work with the Italian Cycling Federation keeps delivering results.
Courmayeur saw the triumph of Marco Aurelio Fontana (Bianchi Countervail), who claimed his sixth overall success at Internazionali d’Italia (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017) in the season in which he changed teams and looked back to his best shape. In Aosta Valley, Fontana took his third stage win in this edition, after Verona and Nals. Among Women, Serena Calvetti (Damil GT Trevisan) had to fight to bring home the Internazionali d’Italia Series title, her second as Elite after 2014.
In the Under 23 category, Chiara Teocchi (Bianchi Countervail) managed to remain at the top after 2016, even though she could not achieve the same feat in the Open Women field. Nadir Colledani (Torpado-Gabogas) kept Gioele Bertolini behind to secure the Men’s Under 23 category GC. Finally, the Junior classifications were neatly and deservedly won by Juri Zanotti (VC Monte Tamaro) and Marika Tovo (Rudy Project XCR).
Open Men: Tabacchi puts pressure on Fontana, Tempier comes short
Those who expected an all-Bianchi Countervail duel in Courmayeur did not take Mirko Tabacchi into account. The C.S. Carabinieri rider was aggressive from the beginning, closing the first lap in the lead along with Jonathan Botero (KTM Protec Dama), chased by a quartet with Andrea Tiberi (NOB Selle Italia), Nadir Colledani (Torpado-Gabogas), Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Gabogas) and Fontana. Tempier was once again protagonist of a slow start.
In the second lap, technical issues put Botero and Kerschbaumer out of contention. Fontana and Tabacchi formed a duo in the lead, with Tempier emerging from behind as the most dangerous chaser, but struggling to close the gap.
At the end of the penultimate lap, a puncture forced Tabacchi to stop, leaving the way to Fontana’s triumph. The Italian was subsequently caught by Tempier, but showed all of his pride in distancing the Frenchman again, and claiming a prestigious runner-up spot. Tempier was third on the day, and second overall, followed by Tiberi in both stage and GC. Fifth spot for Nadir Colledani, the deserved winner of the Internazionali d’Italia Under 23 Series.
Calvetti stronger than bad luck for the Internazionali throne. Lechner celebrates again in Courmayeur
It was a hard race in the Open Women category, and the strongest Italian rider came out on top. Eva Lechner (Clif Pro Team), who had won the Italian National title in Courmayeur last year, took a repeat win today in the final Internazionali d’Italia Series stage. Lechner led the race from the beginning, in spite of a crash in the most technical part of the course, one that caused issues to plenty of riders.
The only rider who managed to theaten her lead was home-rider Martina Berta (BH SRSUNTOUR – KMC), who delighted the local fans with a solid display after her good results in the World Cup stages.
Along with Lechner and Berta, Serena Calvetti (Damil GT Trevisan) had moved to the fore early on, but was later slowed down by two punctures. The Italian rider didn’t give up though, and moved up the ranking again and again, finally claiming an invaluable 3rd place, and the final Internazionali d’Italia Series crown.
Her main rival for the overall glory, Chiara Teocchi (Bianchi Countervail), did not shine on the day: the 20-year-old was 7th on the day, but still secured the overall runner-up spot and the win in the Under 23 category. Lisa Rabensteiner (Focus XC International) was fourth on the day, ahead of Giorgia Marchet (Four Es Racing Team).
Junior Men, Juri Zanotti is the king. Avondetto claims surprise stage win
After wearing it from Montichiari on, Juri Zanotti is now the final owner of the Internazionali d’Itali Junior Men leader’s red jersey. The Velo Club Monte Tamaro used two first and two second places on the way to his first overall win in an International circuit.
Zanotti was second also in the final Internazionali d’Italia Series display, Courmayeur MTB Event, though he had to surrender to Simone Avondetto (Silmax-XBionic) for the stage win. Nicola Taffarel (Damil GT Trevisan) was third, Fabio Signorino (Lapierre-Trentino-Alè) fourth ahead of Filippo Fontana (Gottardo Giochi Caneva).
Junior Women, an incredible Tovo equals the elites
Marika Tovo (Rudy Project-XCR) was the clear favorite in Courmayeur after her performances in Montichiari e Nals, but in Aosta Valley the 18-year-old actually surpassed the expectations, dominating the race with over 4.30 minutes on her closest rivals, Giada Specia (Team Velociraptors) and Francesca Baroni (Melavì Focus Bike), and even found herself in the midst of the Elite Women field, that had started two minutes before her.
After three wins and a second place, the Junior Women’s overall jersey was just a consequence of Tovo’s consistent domination over three months.
MARCO AURELIO FONTANA (Bianchi Countervail): “I had a lot from this Internazionali d’Italia season, and maybe I could have got even more wins, but I am happy like this. I think this might be my first ever win in Aosta Valley, and this adds something extra. Internazionali d’Italia Series is very important for our Team too, and we were determined to take this win home. We managed to do it, and now it’s time for some rest.”
MIRKO TABACCHI (C.S. Carabinieri): “After my injury in January, I got back on bike in March, but it seems the condition is on the rise. Without that puncture, I could have put some more pressure on Marco.”
STEPHANE TEMPIER (Bianchi Countervail): “Today I paid some fatigue after two good World Cup display. I missed some spark, but I think Marco was clearly the strongest today. We kept the jersey within the Bianchi team, and that’s what matters the most.”
EVA LECHNER (Clif Pro Team): “I felt good in the race today, buti t wasn’t easy. The course was tougher than last year, and the technical sections were really tricky. But a win has come, and that’s what really counts.”
MARTINA BERTA (BH SRSUNTOUR – KMC): “Today I managed to take a great result in front of my people, and the fans really gave me a boost. I endured a slow start of the season, but now things are getting much better, as shown by the World Cup results.”
SERENA CALVETTI (Damil GT Trevisan): “I am happy of how I reacted to the two punctures today, without losing focus and determination. I think I could have got more from today’s race, but the punctures came after my mistakes, so I have nothing to blame.”
MICHELE MONDINI (CM Outdoor Events): “We are fully satisfied of this Internazionali d’Italia Series’ season. The circuit has shown progress in the numbers and quality of its participants. The excellence is our goal, and we are still some way to go, but we want to build on our organizing group to pursue such goal and keep on growing. We sincerely wish to thank the sponsors who helps us to build this challenge, the organizer who contributed to the circuit with their knowledge and experience, and of course the Italian Cycling Federation who put its faith in us last year: we hope to proceed together towards a more ambitious 2018”.