The Italian rider repeats the Pineto success among Open Men, whilst “Gio il Bullo” strongly defends his leader’s jersey from Loo. Among women, 19-year-old Tovo claimed the Women’s Open and U23 series, stage success by European Champion Belomoina. Avondetto and Specia earn the Junior jerseys, Naspi best U23
A great challenge was expected and that’s what happened: Alpago Bike Funtastic, the final stage of Internazionali d’Italia Series, celebrates one of the most beautiful moments of this MTB season. After Marco Aurelio Fontana’s and Serena Calvetti’s success in 2017, two other Italian wins boast the history of one of the most important Cross Country circuit in Italy, and one of the most relevant in Europe – as Gioele Bertolini’s and Marika Tovo’s style and personality were awarded at the end of four vibrant stages.
It was a well-deserved success for the 23-year-old Bertolini – reigning U23 European Champion – has enjoyed a breakout season since the opening stage in Nals (Bozen). Among women, Open and Under 23 leader Marika Tovo kept under control her main rival for the GC in Chies d’Alpago, Italian Champion and last year’s winner Calvetti. Alessandro Naspi was the U23 final winner, whilst landing the spoils among juniors were Simone Avondetto and Giada Specia.
MEN’S OPEN: KERSCHBAUMER REPEATS SUCCESS IN CHIES D’ALPAGO
Today, on Saturday 30th June, in the race won by the Italian Champion Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Gabogas) followed by surprising Nadir Colledani (Bianchi-Countervail) and Brazilian Henrique Avancini (Cannondale Factory Team), Gioele Bertolini performed a controlled start which ended in an amazing finish, with a late comeback.
“In the first part of the race my legs weren’t working good – said Bertolini – I almost felt that Martin could ride away, then in the second part of the race I broke through. When I first distinguished the shape of Martin, I had a good feeling and I managed to performe a comeback. My goal of course was to hold tight my jersey, so I am happy with this success”.
However, no doubts on Kerschbaumer’s leadership – especially in the second part of the race. Another great performance by the rider from South-Tyrol and his unbeatable pace to the opponents, Avancini and Frenchman Stephane Tempier (Team Bianchi-Countervail) – ranking number six because of a bad fall in the final lap – were the latest to give up on Kerschbaumer’s tempo, but eventually felt the effort in their legs in the final lap.
“It’s been a good performance. At the beginning, it was difficult because Avancini and Tempier started with a tough attitude – explained Kerschbaumer. – Then, I managed to get my pace to successfully end Internazionali d’Italia Series. The early season is usually hard on me, due to allergy issues, but I finally feel good right now. I hope to feel like this in the next World Cup challenges”.
WOMEN’S OPEN, TOVO TAKES THE LEAD. BELOMOINA WINS IN ALPAGO
She’s 19 and you wouldn’t tell: as an established veteran. Marika Tovo watched her opponents and finally won the Women’s Open Overall Standings. It is the second consecutive achievement for the Team Rudy Project ride in Italy’s most important Cross Country circuit: in 2017 she managed to win the Juniores category.
In the Women’s Open Alpago Bike Funtastic race the situation was immediately clear: after a sprint start by Evie Richards, European Champion Yana Belomoina (Sandd American Eagle) was leading as protagonist of a long solo ride. The British Richards stood behind, whilst Marika Tovo ranked third before Chiara Teocchi (Bianchi-Countervail).
“I am so fatigued, and satisfied. It’s been so hot but I’ve managed to get focused on the competition: this is the only way to obtain results. In the first part of the season, I’ve been trying to match school and cycling – it was not easy but I’ve definitely reached my goals” – affirmed the 2018 Internazionali d’Italia Series winner.Among the Juniores, Justine Tonso (Volvo Cube DT Suisse) was on the spotlight winning over Giada Specia. The Team Velociraptors rider kept the Overall Standings jersey’s leader. “Justine is a very performing athlete, I’ve just controlled the situation. The stage win would have been a level up, but I am happy to be the Overall Standings’ leader.” – Specia said.
DOUBLE WIN FOR AVONDETTO IN THE MEN’S JUNIOR CATEGORY
Show by Simone Avondetto in the Men’s Juniores race: the young Team Silmax Racing rider was leading his rivals in the GC, and confirmed just that by winning the final stage.
At the finish line – behind Avondetto – Zaccaria Toccoli (Team Focus Selle Italia) and Filippo Fontana (Gottardo Giochi Caneva) respectively. Fontana took off with a fast start, but he had to surrender to Avondetto’s return, on the way to his second stage win after the one in Round 2, in San Marino.
“During the first and the second laps I was struggling a lot – Avondetto said. – Filippo, with a lot of courage, tried to attack immediately. Then, I’ve managed to gather the pace and in the final lap I’ve accelerated to gain the double win“.
CM OUTDOOR EVENTS: “PLEASED WITH OUR 2018 SEASON”
“This year, we have succeeded in embracing Italy, going to different parts, and getting encouraging outcomes – affirmed Michele Mondini and Luca Carton by CM Outdoor Events. – The live streaming represented a value added: another step towards the excellence, that has to be our goal. We wish to thank the Italian Cycling Federation, our sponsors, the organisers and the stage committees who shared passion and expertise for the circuit’s success”.