The 2022 Internazionali d’Italia Series champion is ready to defend his title in the upcoming edition, which starts from San Zeno di Montagna on Saturday. “Marotte is the favorite, but watch out for Andreassen”
With just 48 hours to go until the Pineta Sperane XCO, the atmosphere in San Zeno di Montagna, (Verona, Northern Italy) is getting heated.Here, last year, Luca Braidot started his run to overall success at Internazionali d’Italia Series, which eventually led the way to winning two UCI Mountain Bike World Cup stages and the bronze medal in the XCO race at the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets. Among others, riders such as Simon Andreassen, Maxime Marotte, Nadir Colledani, and Simone Avondetto will try to contest Braidot in the season opener.
“I expect great competition, my new teammate Colledani is in great shape”, explained Braidot. “Last year, Maxime Marotte showed a great feeling with San Zeno’s course. He is a top rider and my favorite for Saturday’s race. In addition, I wouldn’t underestimate the youngsters, starting from Fontana, Avondetto, and Andreassen. Simon Andreassen is unpredictable: when he finds the right day, he’s very hard to beat”.
After debuting in Spain, Luca Braidot’s fitness is growing week by week. “I am not yet in top condition, but I’m where I have to be at this point. We have shaped my training plan to improve my condition race after race. However, I am determined to defend the Internazionali d’Italia Series title that I conquered last year.”
Braidot expressed his fondness for the San Zeno course, stating that it is very demanding, technical, and modern. “Climbs will make the difference, but the technical passages are crucial to achieving a good result.”
Braidot is the leader of the Italian movement and in the 2023 season, he will ride to consolidate his status in the UCI ranking, with the goal of being ready for the highlights of the season. “In 2022, the positive results achieved at the Internazionali d’Italia Series paved the way to a magic season, and I hope it will be the same this year, as the last round in Alpago is close to the World Championships. The Italian MTB movement is very healthy in this moment, and there are plenty of uprising youngsters starting with 2022 U23 World Champion Simone Avondetto.”
Braidot believes that the Internazionali d’Italia Series is instrumental to the growth of young riders. “I started gaining experience in this series by facing Julien Absalon, Marco Bui, and Marco Aurelio Fontana. Having these international events in Italy is crucial because there is a lot to learn from the best riders in the world,” concluded Braidot.
The first leaders’ jerseys for Internazionali d’Italia Series, made by Pasol, will be up for grabs on Saturday, March 18th, in San Zeno di Montagna. The junior men’s race will begin at 10:00 CET, followed by the women’s races at 11:45 CET, and the men’s open race at 14:00. The masters and youth competitions (rookies and cadets) are scheduled for Sunday, March 19th.