After two days of intense racing that saw six stage winners, five countries in the top ten and more than an hour of special stages, Davide Sottocornola (Cicobikes DSB Nonsolofango) emerged victorious.
A strong showing from some unexpected riders made for a gripping weekend of racing. From the first stage emerged the UKs Shucksmith brothers, Sam (3rd overall) and Phil (held 4th all weekend, but had a big mechanical on the last stage). From Slovenia Kristijan Medvescek (6th) and Peter Mlinar (winner of the stage 4, but had problems on stage 7) put in strong riders. Irish man Ryan Carroll (7th), Swiss downhiller, Martin Frei (started with plate 223 and finished 9th). The UKs Toby Pantling put in his strongest ride of the season to take 8th.
The fight for the win was dominated by two Italians, Manuel Ducci and Davide Sottocornola. Manuel lost precious time in the early stages after making an error on his trye choice, but finished strongly, pulling 25 seconds out of him in the closing stages. In the end the lead Davide built up was a bridge too far and Manuel had to settle for second this time. While the foreing riders came on strong, on the longer stages the Italians showed their true strength.
Here in the Alpi Bike Resort we saw the return to form of former series champion, Andrea Bruno, who won stage three and the Red Bull Timerush on stage six. For stage seven riders descended on the other side of the mountain for the first twist of the weekend, for the first time Superenduro used a second venue in a race with the stage finishing in Sestriere. Riders then had 30 minutes to work on their bikes before they were locked in parc ferme for the night, something none of the riders had faced before. It was 30 tense minutes of preparing, repairing and perfecting before the bikes were locked away.
The next morning riders were taken by coach back to Sestriere where they had ten minutes to make sure their bikes were ready for the days racing. Then up on the lift for the eighth stage which brought them back to Sestriere. Then it was time for the big twist of the weekend – the return of the mass-start Supermountain format, but in a slightly new way. Riders departed Sestriere to climb to the start of the race, untimed on the climb as always, but you could choose your spot on the grid based on when you arrived. It was a big tactical decision – do you go fast and expend precious energy to get a good grid position, or take it easy but risk a bad start?
With all 180 bikes lined up on the starting grid in the shadow of Monte Fraiteve riders the flag dropped and they were away! The sprinting power of Alex Lupato and Davide Sottocornola was too much for the rest of the field as they grabbed the hole shot. After more than ten minutes of battle on the stage riders arrived back in the heart of Sauze. In the words of Manuel Ducci, who took second: “It is years since I have enjoyed a stage so much! Alex and Davide were so fast, but we were overtaking each other, just like on a day with friends here in the Alpi Bike Resort, only faster.”
In the womens race Chiara Pastore took the win on stage six and on the Supermountain race, but Laura Rossin won everything else this weekend to give her an unassailable lead. Irish newcomer, Tarja Owen took third postion.
it was an epic weekend of racing and marks another milestone in the evolution of the Superenduro series. Now we take a small break as many of us head to North America for the Enduro World Series. The series returns 8 September with the Sprint race in Monte di Tolfa.
Words: Superenduro photos: © MATTEO CAPPE’ / SUPERENDUROMTB.COM
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