The most historical Cross Country race in Italy takes place on April 14th,: Marotte, Fumic, Tempier, Sarrou, Frei and Indergand challenge Italian National Champions Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Eva Lechner in Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 2 Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race
The Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race – the oldest Italian Cross Country competition – provided numerous exciting days to the Mountain Bike fans in 19 years of history, and looks to continue the tradition on Sunday April 14th, 2019 in Nals (Bozen, Northern Italy) on the occasion of the UCI Hors Catégorie event, 2019 Internazionali d’Italia Series’ stage 2.
On Tuesday April 2nd, the Sunshine Racers Nals’ organizers presented the programme of another high-level edition, both in technical and attendance terms. The press conference held at the Raiffeisen Pavillon, in Bozen, was attended – among others – by OC President Florian Pallweber, Südtirol Italian Cycling Federation committee’s President Nino Lazzarotto and reigning Italian Cross-Country MTB Champions Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Eva Lechner – both born and raised in Südtirol – and fellow rider Eva Maria Gatscher.
THE TOP RIDERS
Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race’s golden book is characterized by top names in mountain biking such as Julian Absalon (2003), reigning World and Olympic Champion Nino Schurter (2010), Manuel Fumic (2013-2014), Florian Vogel (2015), Stephane Tempier (2016) and Marco Aurelio Fontana (2012-2017). In the women’s competition, the “queen” of Nals is Gunn-Rita Dahle, record athlete with 6 wins (2003-2006-2007-2015-2016-2017), whilst Paola Pezzo (2004) and Eva Lechner (2009-2010-2012-2013) stand out among the Italian riders. The Swiss bikers dominated the 2018 edition, thanks to the wins by Matthias Flückiger and Sina Frei.
Also this year, Nals awaits the top names on the international scale. Spotlights on Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus), already strong in the early season: the #2 of the UCI World Ranking will look to seize the home field advantage to deliver his first win in Nals. Competition will be strong though, featuring Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing), Luca Braidot (CS Carabinieri-Cicli Olympia-Vittoria), Internazionali d’Italia Series’ overall leader Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail), winner at Andora Race Cup, and German Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing), runner-up at Absa Cape Epic. Moreover, Frenchman Jordan Sarrou (Absolute-Absalon), Swiss Fabian Giger (Superior XC Team), Internazionali d’Italia Series’ defending champion Gioele Bertolini (Santa Cruz FSA), Italian Nadir Colledani (Bianchi Countervail) and Russian Anton Sintsov (Primaflor Mondraker Rotor) will also look to be in the discussion.
In the women’s race, Italian Martina Berta (Torpado Ursus) will need to defend her Internazionali d’Italia lead from two fellow Italians, Eva Lechner and youngster Greta Seiwald (Santa Cruz FSA), as well as from many foreign contenders. Ghost Factory Racing Team will support the defending champion Sina Frei with a strong line-up, formed by Magyar Barbara Benko, Austrian Lisa Pasteiner, Dutch Anne Terpstra and 2018 Internazionali d’Italia Series’ overall winner, Italian Marika Tovo. Superior XC Team’s Linda Indergand and Karla Stefanova are also part of the list of favourites.
The Nalles route is well known in the Mountain Bike field as one of the most challenging. Its length is of 4.3 km with a 175 mt. elevation gain. Right at the beginning we find the most feared and characteristic stretch of the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race: the “Hill of the Nightingale”, the challenging 1 km-stretch (600 meters in the woods) with 10 hairpin bends, which traditionally states which contenders may really go for the victory. After the spectacular stretches of the Keschtnigl, the Gugguhütte and the Step Downhill, the Ganterer downhill leads the athletes to the Stachelburg estate and then brings them back to the finish line.
The Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race show already starts on Saturday, April 13, with the races of the Cadets and the Rookies, giving life to a technical competition which will be a prelude to the races of the following day.
On Sunday April 14th, the programme starts with the Women Cadets and Rookies (8.30), followed by Men Cadets (9.15), Men Rookies (10.00), Men Juniors (11.15), Women Juniors and Elite (13.00) and the Men’s Open race closing the day at 15.00.
PARTNERSSponsored by the Municipality of Nals and the Nals Tourism Association, also in 2019 the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race can count on important partners like Marlene, Südtirol, Raiffeisen and Forst. The Internazionali d’Italia Series has two Main Partners in cycling leading brands Northwave and Shimano.