Glorious sunshine and summer temperatures round off the fun over the trails of the Alpicella Bike Park, the arena of the second round of Superenduro’s season.
Will it dry out? Will it rain? These were the main questions circulating in the paddock area during the whole weekend, here in Calestano. The answer was going to be clear only on race day, but everyone was tuned in to the weather forecasts. As never before, on this specific kind of terrain the weather was going to prove critical for the results.
And in the end what they got was ‘hero dirt’: the perfect balance between hard-packed and moist terrain, an incredibly good condition where making mistakes is almost impossible and you feel you are riding like a ‘hero’. A real treat that this small venue in the province of Parma – Emilia-Romagna region – gave to all riders to redeem the place after last year’s muddy conditions.
With the issue of the grip out of the way, riders could finally work on their line choice, trying to figure out how to maintain a good pace throughout endless sequences of corners and turns, along 13 km of race course and four Special Stages.
Two 8-minute long Special Stages and a total racing time of about 30 minutes made Calestano Superenduro a tough race: only riding clean and keeping good flow over the fast sections – that were alternating with technical off-cambers, steep and treacherous – was going to get its payback.
Today, thanks to the hard work of the Alpicella Bike Park crew and of all organizing staff, Calestano is a venue that boasts dozens of miles of dedicated mountain-bike trails; a place where all qualities that are typical of a small venue are not lost.
Since Sanremo’s round we knew that the championship this year was going to be a tough battle: many riders of several teams are on form and all of them are strong contenders for the title; besides a number of young riders who are getting top positions and are not shy of threatening the more experienced old foxes in the field.
Calestano’s round fully confirms this trend, with a number of Juvenile and Youth riders at the start line and three different winners over 4 Special Stages. Nicola Casadei, CMC Cycling Experience Team, has been the most consistent and takes home the Open Men’s win: he has been the fastest man over the two longest stages of the day, the first and the fourth, and he is now second in the overall championship ranking, behind Alex Lupato.
Lupato brothers, Denny and Alex (Cingolani Team) are second and third respectively; the consistency paid off and they managed to secure their good ranking all day long. True highlight of the day is the top result in PS3, the most technical stage of the day, of Mirco Vendemmia, the nineteen-year-old fast man of CMC Cycling Experience Team.
In the Open Women, New Zealand’s Raewyn Morrison, Giant Factory Off-Road Team, literally dominates the race, winning all four Special Stages and finishing the day with a margin of almost one minute and a half over Laura Rossin (Soul Cycles Racing Team), who is second on the day but manages to keep the leadership in the series. Third position for Jessica Bormolini (GB Rifar Mondraker Asd).
A great battle in Youth/Juvenile too, with the two rising stars of the Ancillotti Factory team, Andrea Garella and Francesco Mazzoni, both born in 2002, who fought each other wildly, exactly as it happened in the previous round of Sanremo. They won a Special Stage each, but this time Andrea has been the one who made it, by not even 4 tenths of a second! In the overall they are now joint winners. Alessandro Lani (asd Zeroemezzo Racing team) is third.
In the Amateur Men’s race, the fastest man is Giacomo Dodino (Marchisio Bici Team) followed by Fabio di Renzo (Ancillotti Factory) and Giovanni D’Aroma (Soul Cycles Racing Team). In the Women, Megan Christine Chinburg (Raptors Bike asd) takes the top step of the podium, followed by Federica Casini (asd Cicli Taddei) and Irene Savelli (dsb Comes Fristads Airoh Ion Team).
The Ebike race has been dominated by Alessandro Bonarotti (Bikegarage), who won all stages. Marcello Ghidini and Alessandro Cavandoli, both of Beltrami TSA Gravity Games team, are second and third respectively.
“If in 2017 we put down the first little pebble here in Calestano and today it has been a big mile stone all together. As the event organizers we are very satisfied. I would especially like to thank Gianluca Pinardi of Mangusta Bike Team and the whole crew of the Alpicella Bike Park: all together we have been able to put together a top-notch race and in doing so we managed to keep strong and enhance the friendly nature of this venue. ”. Marco Santojanni, Calestano Superenduro organizer.
“I am very happy. I knew some very fast ladies were going to be in the race, so taking the win here gives me great satisfaction. The terrain was very slippery in quite a few sections, but both bike and riding style worked out the right way and I found the right feeling to be fast ” Rea Morrison, winner in the Open Women’s race
“I am stoked; it is a somewhat unexpected victory. In the past few days I felt a little tired. The weather was the largest unknown factor. Today I just tried to enjoy myself on the bike and that worked out well with a good result”. Nicola Casadei, winner in the Open Men’s race
The winner of the 2017 edition of Calestano Superenduro, Vittorio Gambirasio, adopts the wrong strategy this time and compromises his results. Definitely at ease on the terrain of the Special Stages, as shown by his second position after PS1 and his PS2 win, after Time Control he somehow gets in trouble and finishes the race in fifth.
Mind you, at this level a fifth position means that he has been very fast, but maybe not as fast as we would expect of ‘the champion’ 😉
Racing conditions last year were really at the limit, and it was very muddy. Today’s forecast was not good either, but at the end it has not been the case.
Possibly not helped by fatigue, warm and humid conditions, a terrain that was drying out quickly, Vittorio has been unable to keep a good pace throughout the race perhaps due to the mud tyres he used, too sticky, less precise with line choice and certainly less and less appropriate to the challenge of the day.