Internazionali d’Italia Series opens in the name of Mathias Flückiger


In his first time at Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, the Thömus-RN Racing athlete ruled in Nals (Bozen). He opened the way over Tempier, and Marotte achieved third place. Among women, the U23 World Champion Frei stops Dahle’s domination. F. Fontana and World Champion Stigger win the UCI Junior Series.

Usually, whoever deals for the first time with the Nals’ circuit catches up with the debut. Usually, indeed, because Mathias Flückiger made an amazing exception to the rule, achieving a renewed success in the 18th edition of the Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race, first “hors catégorie” stage of Internazionali d’Italia Series.

Yesterday, the Swiss from Thömus-RN Racing Team had said: “I like the circuit very much, I think I might have a say on it”. Today he confirmed it by facing the difficulties of the challenging circuit developed in the Sunshine Racers Nals with the experience of a veteran, reversing the eve’s previsions which forecasted a transalpine duet in the first row - the solid Stephane Tempier and the lively Maxime Marotte.

It’s been Tempier the one who represented the main difficulty for Flückiger: Team Bianchi Countervail’s representative gained first, second and third place in the last three editions of the South Tyrol “Classic”, with a very regular race attitude who let him into the competition until the sprint. Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing) followed behind in third, 1’06” from the winner, yet never comfortable in such an “old style” trail like the Nals’ one.
Podio Uomini

“It’s been an incredible race, a very tough one - Flückiger said. - I’ve tried to make the difference in the last climb, but Stephane never gave up, so in the final round I’ve tried to save up some energy in view of the sprint as I was aware of being the fastest between the two of us”. “I’ve tried to do my real best, but it wasn't enough - Tempier announced - In the last downhill I’ve tried to close the gap between me and Mathias and finally the strongest achieved the success”.

Fourth place for the European Champion Florian Vogel (Focus XC Team) who arrived before the first of the Italian athletes Gioele Bertolini (Team Focus Selle Italia), excellent fifth-place. The current champion Marco Aurelio Fontana (Team Bianchi Countervail), 11th, disappointed, as did local idol Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Gabogas), only 16th.


Sina Frei (Ghost Factory Racing) the winner, Linda Indergand (Focus XC Team) the second: great Switzerland also in the Women’s Open race. The U23 World Champion was the protagonist of a flash start, with multi-winner Gunn-Rita Dahle and Pole Maja Wloszczowska (Kross Racing Team), the latter ruled out of the run for success by a crash. Linda Indergand (Focus XC Team) performed a comeback in the second part of the race by gaining a position on Wloszczowska first and then getting closer to Dahle and Frei. However, in the last round, the World Champion finally changed pace and crossed the line with 11 seconds leads over the fellow-countrywoman and 31 seconds over Dahle.

“I’ve raced the competition in the only way possibile, trying to keep up a steady pace while being focused - the winner announced. - I wasn’t thinking about the opponents, trying to avoid sudden pace changes until the last round. In that moment, I’ve tried to boost my pace and it ended up well”. Dutch Anne Tauber (CST Sandd American Eagle) didn’t get the podium and achieved the fourth place before the 5th-placed Alessandra Keller (Thomus-RN Racing), and the 6th-placed Wloszczowska. The first Italian athlete was 11th-placed Chiara Teocchi (Bianchi-Countervail). World Champion Jolanda Neff (Kross Racing Team) got home in a disappointing 15th place.


Filippo Fontana (Gottardo Giochi Caneva) and World Championship Laura Stigger (Austria) won the Internazionali d’Italia Series’ Juniores, also counting as second round of the UCI Junior Series, the World Cup for the category. If on the one hand Stigger’s solo performance was quite “ordinary”, with the palmares boasted by the reigning rainbow champion, on the other hand the victory of the athlete from Treviso, came as a surprise. At the end of a comeback race, the Italian athlete finally took the lead, moving away from Brits Sean Flynn e Charlie Aldridge and Swiss Alexandre Balmer and Luca Schatti, and finally, in the last round, he won alone before the Swiss couple, followed by the 2nd-placed Balmer before Schatti.


Excitement in Nals also in the morning’s youth races: in the Rookies’ category the winners have been the South African Luke Moir and the Austrian Mona Mitterwallner respectively among the 2nd year's athletes, whereas Filippo Agostinacchio and local athlete Noemi Plankensteiner got the target among the 1st year’s athletes. In the Cadets’ category, achievements have been gained by Ivan Franzini and Sophie Auer among the 2° year’s athletes, while Carlo Bonetto (Rostese Rodman) and the Slovenian Hana Zagar Kranjec (Calcit Bike Team) celebrated the victory among the 1° year’s athletes.


The six rankings’ leaders, who wear the jerseys designed and realized by the Northwave Custom Project, will defend them next Sunday, at San Marino. Titano XCO, the event organised by the San Marino’s Cycling Federation, represents in fact the first foreign stage in 18th Internazionali d’Italia Series’ editions. The first race’s edition of the competition at San Marino is going to be raced in the challenging circuit which hosted the competition of the Cross-Country Games of the Small States of Europe last year. If it’s true that you can see how things will end by the way they begin, lots of fun is going to arrive, not among the apple trees in Burgraviato but 400 km in the South, on the Mount Titano.