The Italian biker soloed to win in Pineto, in Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 3. Bertolini, runner-up, took over the overall leadership from Martin Loo. Stage and GC lead for Marika Tovo in the Open Women’s race. Pezzo and Bramati’s follow famous parents’ wake in the youth competitions
The first edition of the Aprutium Race, Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 3, has been one to remember for mountain bike fans. On Sunday June 10th, the Pineto promenade and a unique atmosphere welcomed the Cross Country pros who brought the show on the circuit charted by ASD Cerrano Outdoor on a hot and sunny day.
One week ago, Italian National Champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer had prepared the race with a recce on the course, discovering all its secrets. Today, the Torpado Gabogas athlete claimed his first win in 2018 Internazionali d’Italia Series with an aggressive display, clearly seizing the feeling matured with the technical tricks of the Abruzzo’s circuit. Behind the Italian National Champion, Gioele Bertolini (Focus Selle Italia) took the second place and moved into the Internazionali d’Italia Series Open Men leader’s jersey, overtaking Estonian Martin Loo after a furious comeback in the final lap.
In the Open Women’s category, Marika Tovo (Team Rudy Project) delivered a solid win to follow her good performances in the MTB World Cup, taking over the overall lead from Italian National Champion Serena Calvetti (KTM-Protek Dama), runner-up on the day ahead of Sara Casasola (Servetto Stradalli). The “battle” for the overall win is far from over: surprises might be in store in Chies d’Alpago’s final showdown.
OPEN MEN: KERSCHBAUMER THE STRONGEST ON A HOT DAY
On a day characterized by hot temperatures (up to 35°), the four main protagonists of the Open Men’s category, Kerschbaumer, Bertolini, Loo and Nadir Colledani (Team Bianchi Countervail), got clear from the rest pretty early. In the second part of the race, Loo increased the pace with the Italian Champion in his wake, whilst Bertolini and Colledani gave up some terrain. In the final lap, the Kerschbaumer managed to solo to win, whilst a tired Loo was caught and outsprinted by Bertolini.
“I’m happy – Kerschbaumer said – Usually, hot conditions aren’t the ones that suit me best, but it was a nice novelty to race by the sea. Today, I immediately had a good feeling. I knew the route from last week and today I seized that advantage: there were technical difficulties and flat sections that required power.”
“The goal was the overall jersey and I reached it – commented U23 European Champion Bertolini, satisfied for the result – I wanted to win, but I had spent a lot of energies in the early phases of the race. At some point, I felt very tired but in the last lap I found the energy to surge back and take second place. Now, I want to defend this jersey in Chies d’Alpago”.
Alessandro Naspi (Superbike Bravi Platform) was the first U23 rider to cross the Aprutium Race’s finish line, consolidating the overall leadership.
OPEN WOMEN – SOLO WIN FOR MARIKA TOVO: STAGE AND OVERALL LEAD
Marika Tovo continued her superb stretch by winning the Open Women’s race with a long-way solo effort. The 19-year-old Italian biker moved on the attack in lap 3, outdistancing Serena Calvetti (second at 1’34”) and Sara Casasola (third at 1’46”). The latter occupied the second place until the finale, but Calvetti managed to overcome her in the final lap. Thanks to this success, Tovo conquered the leadership in the GC. “I didn’t have good feelings in the first laps. Then, I found my pace and I managed to outdistance my rivals in the longest climb. The route was very technical, and I faced the rock garden on foot. I like to compete in the heat: today, the weather has helped me”.
JUNIORES – TOCCOLI AND SPECIA SMASH THE OPPONENTS
Team Focus Selle Italia’s Zaccaria Toccoli clinched a solid victory in the Junior category thanks to a great finale, preceding his long-way breakaway companion Andrea Colombo (Velo Club Monte Tamaro), second with a 20-second gap. Third place for Federico Ceolin (Libertas Scorzé) at 1’49”. In this category, Internazionali d’Italia Series has crowned three different winners so far, as Filippo Fontana won in Nals and the new overall leader Simone Avondetto (fourth today) took the success in San Marino. In the women’s race, Giada Specia (Team Velociraptors) soloed to the finish line preceding of 53 seconds her teammate Gaia Pagotto, whilst Julia Maria Graf completed the day’s podium. Specia maintained the overall leadership thanks to her second win in a row at Internazionali d’Italia Series.
THE LEGACY OF PEZZO AND BRAMATI CONTINUES AT APRUTIUM RACE
Twenty years have passed since Paola Pezzo and Luca Bramati’s triumphs in the greatest races of the Mountain Bike universe, but time seems to have stopped thanks to their respective children, Kevin Pezzo Rosola (SC Barbieri) and Lucia Bramati (Team Bramati), winners in the Rookies Men 2 year and Rookies Women 1 year, respectively, whilst Matteo Sfregola (Pedale Feltrino) and Marta Zanga (KTM-Protek Dama) won in the Rookies Men 1 year and Rookie Women 2 year categories.
In the Cadets category, the successes went to Marco Betteo (Racing Team Rive Rosse) and Giorgia Asia Peroli (UC Costamagnaga) among the 2nd year athletes, while Carlo Bonetto (Rostese Rodman) and Vittoria Calderoni (Young Bikers Team Balmamion) celebrated the victory among the 1st year athletes.
NEXT STAGE: CHIES D’ALPAGO, INTERNAZIONALI D’ITALIA SERIES’ FINAL SHOWDOWN
The GC leaders, who wore the jerseys designed by the Northwave Custom Project, will have to defend them for the last time on Saturday June 30th in Lamosano di Chies d’Alpago (Belluno, Northern Italy), on the occasion of the fourth and final round of the Series, Alpago Bike Funtastic (C1). Internazionali d’Italia Series will leave Central Italy to return in the North of the Peninsula for the final showdown, when the definitive verdicts will be given.