The Brazilian, mostly famous for his results in Cross Country, surprisingly won after an extremely intense race. Solo race for the Danish former champion instead, who had some advantage since the very first GPM.
Auronzo-Misurina (Belluno, Veneto), 15th September 2018 – The Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Three Peaks of Lavaredo) have decided: the Brazilian Henrique Avancini and the Danish Annika Langvad are the new MTB Marathon World Champions.
Avancini, 29 years old, 38th in the UCI ranking, crossed the finish line after more than 5 exciting hours during which he was always in the lead group. With him on the podium also the Austrian Daniel Geismayr and the Colombian Hector Paez Leon, Avancini’s breakaway mates since the Auronzo Refuge passage at 2,318 metre altitude, exactly the spot where the track paid tribute to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, World Heritage Site. The only riders able to jeopardize the leadership of the first three were the American Howard Grotts, who conquered the first GPM on Mount Agudo, and the European Champion Alexey Medvedev, whereas the outgoing rainbow jersey, the Austrian Alban Lakata, has actually never been in the race.
The best Italian performers were Samuele Porro and Juri Ragnoli, who placed fifth and ninth respectively. The twosome worked together to try to keep the frenzied pace of the first, yet without remarkable results.
Avancini thus explains his unexpected success: “I knew I was in good shape but also aware I was an outsider. In order to best play my cards, I tried to break the pace of the marathon riders and I think I made it. I don’t have a favourite discipline: I feel a biker first of all, and during this season I’ve tried to show it. By all means, I didn’t expect to close the year with a world title”.
The women’s race, which last 4h53’, had a completely different development.The Danish 34 year-old Annika Langvad, outgoing world champion, planned an attack strategy since the first climbs. Mile after mile, she went on gaining ground on her main opponents, the Austrian Christina Kollmann-Forstener and the Polish Maja Wloszczowska, who placed second (+5’19’’) and third (+12’13’’) respectively.
Also among women, Italy must settle for the fifth place of Mara Fumagalli, whereas the Norwegen icon, Guun-Rita Dahle, said goodbye to the official races with a brillian fourth place.
Annika Langvad, coming off a wonderful silver medal at the latest Cross-Country World Championships, commented her race in this way: “It was really tough, for sure the most selective race I’ve ever took part in. I tried to be aggressive since the very first climb and I was surprised I was already with no rivals since the beginning. Since I felt fine, I kept my pace until the end, and I managed to increase the distance from my opponents”.