Italy’s tricolor shines in San Zeno: Berta and Corvi unrivaled among women

Martina Berta‘s (SantaCruz-FSA) great start to the season has been confirmed in the first round of the 2023 Internazionali d’Italia Series, Pineta Sperane XCO.

The Italian athlete, reigning National Champion, took the lead in the opening lap in San Zeno di Montagna, and she never looked back for the four following laps. After seeing a likely success vanish in the final lap here last year due to cramps, this win was even sweeter.

“I took advantage of last year’s experience, knowing that the track was tough and the race would be challenging over the distance,” Berta explained. “I took the lead in the downhill section in the opening lap, and finding myself with a small gap, I kept pacing without overextending myself, but exploiting the sections that best suited my skills. I certainly didn’t expect such a remarkable start to the season, but the work done is paying off, and I am enjoying the moment.”

In San Zeno, Berta found a tricky course, including plenty of technical sections and single tracks, where to make show of her superb handling skills. Austrian champion Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) trailed behind her for almost the entire race and finished second, 52 seconds behind Berta. Mitterwallner may have been less comfortable on this kind of terrain, but her excellent endurance always makes her a challenging opponent.

The fight for third place was more intense, with a group of athletes competing for podium positions in the final lap. Giorgia Marchet (Trinx Factory Racing, +3.04), emerged as the winner, followed by Chiara Teocchi (KTM-Protek-Elettrosystem, +3.22) and the 2022 winner, Giada Specia (Wilier-Pirelli, +3.34). Sara Cortinovis (SantaCruz-FSA) ended is seventh place and was the best under-23 rider, becoming the first leader of the special classification.

In the Junior Women’s race, reigning Internazionali d’Italia Series’ winner Valentina Corvi (Trinx Factory Racing) dominated from the very beginning, even overcoming a flat tire without any problems. Her final advantage of 1.34 over Eva Herzog (RC Arbö Askö) and 1.48 over Elisa Lanfranchi (KTM-Protek-Elettrosystem) leaves no little doubt about her victory.

“I felt good from the beginning, and that led to a solid advantage early on,” Corvi commented. “During the race, I had a flat tire, but fortunately, the latex quickly sealed it, and I regained pressure without having to stop. I am happy to have started on the right foot.”