The second stage of Brasil Ride resulted in a new leadership in the Open category, during the eighth edition of the main mountain bike stage race in the Americas. More than four minutes ahead of the runner-ups in the 130-kilometre route between Arraial d’Ajuda and Guaratinga, Portuguese Tiago Ferreira and José Silva are definitely podium contenders. The top three teams in the day have the Italians Michele Casagrande and Fabian Rabensteiner, present champion, followed by Brazilian Henrique Avancini and Czech Jiri Novak.
On the trails at Brazil Ride
Completing the stage in 4h39min36, Tiago and José now have accumulated 5h33min40. Runner-ups Casagrande and Rabensteiner finished in 5h34min41, one second ahead of Avancini and Novak. Top 5 in the GC is completed with Stage 1 winners Dutch Hans Becking and Danish Sebastian Fini, and Brazilians Mario Antônio Veríssimo and Kennedi Sampaio, who kept their white shirt, for the best riders in the Americas.
Stage two was defined near kilometre 80. Ferreira and Silva were behind during the first half of the stage, than they approached the leaders, and set the pace in the final kilometres. “We had a different strategy this year. I respected José’s limits on the technical sections, predominantly in the beginning, and we stayed behind the front peloton. In the middle of the stage we reached our competitors, never taking any risk. On kilometre 90, José told me he was feeling well, and then we pushed hard. We set a strong but comfortable pace”, highlighted Ferreira.
“Actually, our strategy was not making strong attacks, we just pedalled without overthinking, checking how hard could we go, and talking a lot. We took a chance and I repeated the second stage win, just like in 2016, and now we are in the fight for the win”, told Ferreira, world MTB marathon runner-up, who rode the second stage 9 minutes faster than last year.
José Silva, who was Ferreira’s partner in 2011, says his win had a special taste. “I feel like I’m living a dream. After the birth of my two children, I feel like I’m dreaming here. Tiago is an idol and a great friend, besides being the greatest XCM (marathon) rider in the world. Winning a Brasil Ride stage with him is something I had never thought about”, praised Silva.
Casagrande/Rabensteiner and Avancini/Novak, are also considered favorites for the 2017 win so far, along with Ferreira and Silva. “The stage was good, I felt my knee a little, due to the fall during the prologue, but I felt better as the hours passed. On kilometre 80 we improved our pace. In the final kilometres, we managed to pass Avancini and Jiri, who are the favourites in our opinion”, told Rabensteiner.
Rider Henrique Avancini assessed the stage. “It was a warm race for the elite. I tried to raise the pace on the first part, until the first assistance point, and this was good, because we stretched the peloton, even if I knew it would regroup later. Tiago came strong and opened a gap in a simple section, and kept opening the gap little by little”, told Avancini.
Trouble in paradise in the Masters
Used to ruling the masters category in the last four years, Dutch Bart Brentjens and Brazilian Abraão Azevedo did not have a good result on the stage. More than 12 minutes behind the new leaders, Czechs Robert Novotny and Fojtik Ondrej, Brentjens and Azevedo lost their lead in the masters category, after being the winners from 2013 to 2016.
Twice champion in the open category, in 2010 and 2011, not long before retiring from the professional riding, Robert Novotny celebrated the result in his return to Brazil. “The pace was very fast in the beginning, and I didn’t ride as expected. I started to feel better, and on km 100 we reached Bart and Abraão, and left them behind. It was very hot, and my water finished. Fortunately, we finished first. I feel great”, celebrated Novotny, finishing the stage in 5h08min35.
All action for the women in Brazil
Ladies keep their lead – Raiza Goulão and Margot Moschetti kept their lead and finished the day with a wide gap, in 5h37min20. “Strategy was very important on this stage. We were very excited in the beginning and started very strong, and after two hours Margot literally pulled me, and this was very important. In the end, we inverted this. But this is ultramarathon, one helps the other”, told Raiza.
“It was a long stage, but good. The beginning was bad, but I improved in the second half. We finished well, it was a good stage. Competing side by side with Raiza has been very important, because she teaches me a lot”, declared the 23 year old rider Moschetti.
Looking to Stage three
Already settled in the Vila Brasil Ride campsite, in Guaratinga, athletes will face the first one of the two queen stages, the most difficult for the riders. Starting at 8 a.m., the nest mountain bikers in the world will have 74 kilometres and 2,559 meters of climbing among the mountains of the extreme south of Bahia.