First lap on the new event’s loop for the top riders of tomorrow’s Internazionali d’Italia Series’ final stage. Absalon: “A tecnhnical and spectacular race, on a World-Cup-worthy course”
Big expectations are surrounding the first time of La Thuile MTB, to happen tomorrow – Saturday June 22nd – with the final act of 2019 Internazionali d’Italia Series and the UCI Junior Series stage.
Most of the big names have arrived in the Aosta Valley on Friday, while a few have even anticipated their presence to get accustomed with the course charted by Enrico Martello, that has definitely gained the consensus from the best names in World MTB since the early laps.
The course was endorsed by Julien Absalon (Absolute Absalon), who did not miss the chance to ride over it along with former World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, who will start with #1 in tomorrow’s Open Women race. “The loop is awesome, I had heard something about it in recent days, but it actually impressed me – the two-time Olympic Champion told – there are technical elements that you rarely see outside of the World Cup. Who knows, maybe the World Cup itself might come here in the near future.”
“Tough climbs, fast and technical descents – confirmed Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-SRAM) – the La Thuile MTB course is beautiful and unforgiving. Technique and legs will be on demand to win – I hope to have fun and continue progressing after my early-season surgery.”
Saturday will be the decisive day for the 2019 Internazionali d’Italia Series titles. Among Elite Men, Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail) starts with a few points’ cushion over Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus): “To win, I need to be ahead of Gerhard, or stricly on his wake – the Frenchman argued – and it won’t be easy with other big riders in the race like Sarrou, Marotte and Gaze. I feel good and confident anyway, and ready to give my best.”
In the Open Women’s series, the clash to watch is between Martina Berta (Torpado-Ursus) and Eva Lechner (Torpado-Südtirol), with the young rider from Valle d’Aosta slightly ahead of her rival. “It will be nice to race for the title at home, ahead of my fans, but I make no ilusions: at the end of the day, the legs are what makes the difference. Two years ago, in Courmayeur I had finished second behind Eva, and I was delighted, but now it’s an all-different story. And I want to be the one in front.”
Andreas Emanuele Vittone (V.C. Monte Tamaro) is the fellow home rider to hunt for an Internazionali d’Italia Series crown, specifically in the Junior Men category, but he will have to deal with the World’s best in the category, arrived in Italy to race the UCI Junior Series stage, including World’s #1 Scot Charlie Aldridge. Letizia Motalli (KTM-Protec-Dama) will be in charge of defending the leader’s jersey in the Junior Women race.
Tomorrow, Saturday, things will get on at 10.30 with the Men’s UCI Junior Series, followed by Women’s races (Open and Junior Series) at 12.30 and Open Men at 15.00.
On Sunday June 23rd, the La Thuile MTB programme will be closed by the youth races: Rookie Men will start at 10, followed by Women’s Rookies and Cadets (11.00) and Men’s Cadets (13.30).