Next Sunday a generational duel is expected in the Internazionali d’Italia Series’ opening stage. World Champion Jolanda Neff announces her presence and challenges six-time winner Dahle: “Gunn-Rita made history at Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race and I can’t wait to test myself against her for the first time on Nals’ track”
The queen of Nals (Bozen, Northern Italy), Gunn-Rita Dahle, has to watch out: on Sunday, April 15th she will find one more exceptional rival on the road which leads to the seventh win among Open Women at the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, the “hors catégorie” event opening the 18th edition of Internazionali d’Italia Series.
The Mountain Bike legend will be challenged on the demanding South Tyrol track by Swiss Jolanda Neff, 25 years old. Distinguishing marks: blonde hair, charming smile, and a World Champion’s rainbow jersey. Therefore, Internazionali d’Italia Series will be opened in style by a generational duel: on the one hand, the World Champion, on the other hand the outstanding Norwegian, still fighting and highly-competitive at age 45. 7270 days divide them, just less than twenty years, and at least two cycling generations.
Jolanda Neff has already arrived in Italy, in Schlanders (Bozen), where she is training with the Swiss National Team. “The Mountain Bike season has started well – considering that I lost some training time to recover from the injury suffered in the last round of the Cyclocross World Cup in Hoogerheide – said the Swiss athlete. – The condition is improving, I am just back from a good test in the Swiss Cup and I will definitely try to do well in a challenging race, with very strong opponents.”
In fact, after winning on her season debut in Spain, the Swiss champion ranked sixth in the first round of the World Cup in South Africa, then showed an improving condition last weekend in Monte Tamaro (Switzerland), where she earned the fifth place despite a puncture.
Jolanda Neff vs. Gunn-Rita Dahle, and much more: another great Cross-Country performer has just announced her participation in Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, Pole Maja Wloszczowska, the other star of Jolanda Neff’s Kross Racing Team, who comes to join an already stellar “cast” that includes 2017 World Cup winner Yana Belomoina, her teammate Anne Tauber, Swiss Linda Indergand, Slovenian Tanja Zakelj and youngsters Alessandra Keller, Malene Degn and the U23 World Champion Sina Frei.
“Dahle is a reference for all of us, because Nals is a bit like her home garden – Neff explained – but it looks like it is going to be a World-class challenge. With six athletes out of the World Ranking’s top-10, it is going to be a great show for the Italian MTB fans: I love racing in Italy, and I am looking forward to enjoy myself, and possibly raise my arms to the sky in the World Champion’s jersey“.