Mathias Flückiger and Loana Lecomte win a Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race of the highest level
The third stop of the Internazionali d'Italia Series came to the town of Nalles to host the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, without a doubt the highest level XCO race of the season so far, in which French rider Loana Lecomte and Swiss rider Mathias Fluckiger took a victory with a World Cup flavour.
Mathias Fluckiger wins the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race
With the best riders of the UCI ranking on the starting line, the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race began with the favourites sprinting to avoid being caught in the peloton. This initially hurt Avancini, but he was able to recover quickly to lead the race on the first lap. For his part, Nino Schurter was able to hold firm in this explosive start and held his own in the top three. He himself confessed last season that these starts were difficult for him and conditioned the rest of the race.
Although Avancini, Marotte and Schurter exchanged the first positions, there was a big lead group with up to 10 riders, including the Swiss Mathias Fluckiger, who took the lead at the beginning of the second lap, Ondrej Cink, Filippo Colombo, Titouan Carod, Jordan Sarrou and Victor Koretzky.
While Schurter held on to fourth position, we still didn't know if it was out of necessity or strategy, Fluckiger and Ondrej Cink exchanged the lead and Marotte remained third, we saw how Henrique Avancini was dropping down to fifth and sixth position. The Brazilian seemed to be suffering from the fatigue of Monday's win in Capoliveri.
The mystery of Schurter's condition was finally solved when he took off on the last lap to take the lead with Flueckiger and Cink on his wheel.
But the end of the race was still unresolved and it was decided in a sprint with victory for the Swiss Mathias Flueckiger. Nino Schurter repeated second place and Maxime Marotte closed the podium.
- FLÜCKIGER Mathias THÖMUS RN SWISS BIKE TEAM 1:23:37.95
- SCHURTER Nino SCOTT SRAM MTB RACING TEAM +3.60"
- MAROTTE Maxime SANTA CRUZ FSA MTB PRO TEAM +10.30"
- CINK Ondrej KROSS ORLEN CYCLING TEAM +10.30"
- COLOMBO Filippo ABSOLUTE-ABSALON - BMC +28.00"
- SARROU Jordan SPECIALIZED RACING +29.60"
- CAROD Titouan ABSOLUTE-ABSALON - BMC +38.65"
- FORSTER Lars SCOTT SRAM MTB RACING TEAM +59.60"
- AVANCINI Henrique CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING +1:27.20´
- KORETZKY Victor TEAM KMC ORBEA +1:34.25´
Loana Lecomte dominates and wins at Nalles
In the women's category, the level was just as high with the presence of the best riders on the international scene, but the young French rider Loana Lecomte has shown that her victory in the 2020 World Cup was not something anecdotal and consolidates herself as one of the top favourites to win this year. Lecomte led the race solidly from the start and only gave the rest of the riders a chance to fight for the second and third places on the podium.
Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot has started to show signs that she is more and more ready to start fighting for the victory this season and she performed a race from less to more in which she finally took the second place. The third step of the podium seemed to be for the Swiss Sina Frei as almost all the race she stayed in that position, but finally it was for the Austrian Mona Mitterwallner of Trek Vaude who slipped into the podium to the surprise of many. Sweden's Jolanda Neff was fifth and American Kate Courtney, who had won with great authority just 5 days ago, had a very bad start and could only come back to finish in seventh position.
- LECOMTE Loana MASSI 1:22:01.45
- FERRAND PREVOT Pauline ABSOLUTE-ABSALON - BMC +1:43.10
- MITTERWALLNER Mona TEAM TREK VAUDE +2:04.60
- FREI Sina SPECIALIZED RACING +2:44.80
- NEFF Jolanda TREK FACTORY RACING +3:14.75
- TERPSTRA Anne GHOST FACTORY RACING +3:48.60
- COURTNEY Kate SCOTT SRAM MTB RACING TEAM +4:00.60
- TEOCCHI Chiara TRINITY RACING ITA F +4:30.75
- KELLER Alessandra THÖMUS RN SWISS BIKE TEAM +4:33.75
- TAUBER Anne CST POSTNL BATANG MTB RACING TEAM +4:33.80