Ferrand-Prèvot, Neff and Courtney threat Sina Frei’s defense in Nals

A world-class start list for the women’s race of the third stage of Internazionali d’Italia Series on Saturday, April 10th. Swiss Sina Frei, winner of the last two editions, puts the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race crown at stake against tough competition

A long-established Italian classic, now in its 20th edition, the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race in Nals, Italy, Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 3, will take place on Saturday, April 10th with another impressive lineup: something that has happened consistently in this season at the Internazionali d’Italia Series, in a year that will also see the World titles assigned in Italy, in Val di Sole, from August 25 to 29.

The Women’s Open competition of Italy’s only HC race has a long history of MTB legends like Paola Pezzo and Gunn-Rita Dahle, the latter having won it six times, and expects another top name to join the golden book, having all the best of today’s Women MTB at the start.

Reigning champion Sina Frei, the winner of the last two editions, took advantage of her agility to resolve the race on the long Nightingale Climb and leave her rivals behind. “I can’t wait to race in Nals, I have great memories of this race,” explained the Swiss. – “I am ready to give my best among a top-level starting field. The course suits my pace perfectly. The best test for the World Cup season.” The Specialized Racing athlete is aware of the fierce competition. On her side, Frei will have young Austrian Laura Stigger, winner in Nals in 2018 in the junior category.

On top of the starting list, World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prèvot (Absolute Absalon) trying to return to form in South Tyrol after a low-key start in Andora. Behind the rainbow jersey, there’s another former World Champion, Swiss Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory), who kicked off her season with success at Andora Race Cup.

France’s dreads do not end with Ferrand-Prèvot: U23 World Champion Loana Lecomte and her teammate Julie Bresset also take part in the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race. The winner of Capoliveri Legend XCO, American Kate Courtney (SCOTT-SRAM), will also be at the starting line, while Team Ghost will battle to defend the leader’s jersey of Caroline Bohe, with Anne Terpstra, Nadine Rieder and Nicole Koller joining the Dane.

Italy counts on the home athlete, vice World Champion Eva Lechner (Trinx Factory Team), four-time winner in Nals (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014). The South Tyrolean will look to make the best of her skills on an ‘old school’ circuit, arguably less suited to the emerging new generation. “It is a special appointment for me, I’m looking forward to it,” said the South Tyrolean. – “I’m building up my conditions: I will try to play it out, while knowing who I am competing against. In Nals you have no shortcuts: strength and endurance are more important than technique and driving skills.”

Another South Tyrolean will take part in the race, Greta Seiwald (Santa Cruz-FSA), while the other Italian hopes are pinned on the rousing Chiara Teocchi (Trinity Racing Team), second overall in Capoliveri, and on Martina Berta (Santa Cruz-FSA).

Other riders to watch are Alessandra Keller (Thömus RN), Linda Indergand (Swiss National Team), Yana Belomoina and Anne Tauber (CST PostNL), and Austrian sensation Mona Mitterwallner (Trek Vaude), with a splendid second place to show in the opening round in Andora and winner in Nalles in 2018 among Cadets.

The program is distributed over two days of racing for the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race. On Saturday, April 10th, the racing starts at 9.00 AM CET with the UCI Junior Series, followed by the Open Women’s competition at 11.00 AM CET and the Men’s Open race at 1.00 PM CET. On Sunday, April 11th, it will be the time for the youth competitions Women’s Rookies and cadets at 9.00 AM CET, 1st year Men’s Rookies at 10.00 AM CET, 2nd year Men’s Rookies at 11.00 AM CET, 1st year Men’s Cadets at 12.00 PM CET and 2nd year Men’s Cadets at 1.00 PM CET.