Finale Outdoor Region welcomes two UCI Mountain Bike World Cups this weekend in Finale Outdoor Region, Italy, for the UCI Cross-country Marathon and Enduro World Cups.
The area has long been synonymous with enduro mountain biking, having hosted the Enduro World Series every year since its inception in 2013, but this year it expands its offering to Marathon - opening up these iconic trails to this growing format.
The UCI World Cup racing kicks off on Saturday, when the world’s best enduro riders will descend on Pietra Ligure to tackle its expansive trail network in the mountains high above the Ligurian Sea. With six big stages and over 3000 metres of descending on the menu, riders will have to push hard to keep both body and bike intact on these notoriously technical trails.
In the women’s competition, all eyes will be on series leader Bex Baraona (Yeti/Fox Factory Race Team). The British rider leads the standings by just 17 points ahead of France’s Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zip Collective), with Ella Conolly (Cannondale Enduro Team) rounding out the top three. However, local rider Gloria Scarsi (Canyon CLLCTV Dainese) is a definite podium threat who’ll be looking to turn on the speed for her home crowd.
In the men’s competition it’s Baraona’s Yeti/Fox Factory Race teammate Richie Rude who will start the race as the clear favourite. The American rider will be looking to add a fifth Finale podium finish to his roster, but trying hard to stop him will be Australia’s Daniel Booker (Nukeproof SRAM Factory Racing) and Luke Meier-Smith (Giant Factory Off-Road Team -EDR) who lie in second and third place respectively.
However, they’ll all face stiff competition in the form of Jesse Melamed (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Enduro Team) and Jack Moir (YT Mob).
On Sunday it’s the turn of the Marathon racers, who will depart from the ancient walled village of Finalborgo into the mountains on a gruelling 100km course that will feature fire road, singletrack and an energy sapping 3760m of climbing.
Leading out the women’s competition will be Lejla Njemčević of Bosnia Herzegovina, who took the win at round one in Nové Město na Moravě (Czech Republic) by an impressive margin of 02:46m. Her main competition will come in the form of Lithuania’s Katazina Sosna (Torpado Factory Team) and Switzerland’s Irina Luetzelschwab.
In the men’s race, Italy can expect a strong showing from the top two ranked riders in the form of Fabian Rabensteiner (Wilier-Pirelli Factory Team MX) and Nicolas Samparisi (KTM Alchemist powered by Brenta Brakes). At round one in the Czech Republic, the fellow Italians were locked in a sprint finish after 120km of racing, with Rabensteiner just coming out on top. Elsewhere, Germany’s Simon Stiebjahn (Singer Racing Team) will also be looking to make his mark after a strong third place finish on his last outing.
Amateurs will get their chance to race in both formats thanks to the Enduro of Finale Outdoor Region and the Marathon of Finale Outdoor Region.
To follow all the action from the UCI Marathon World Cup and the UCI Enduro World Cup, tune in to the UCI Mountain Bike World Series YouTube channel for the official race highlights, bike checks and exclusive athlete interviews.
Recaps and highlights from the racing are also available on Eurosport and globally on GCN+.
More information on this weekend’s races in the Finale Outdoor Region can be found here.
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