This Saturday, 12th July, 13 winners, four world champions and an Olympic gold medallist will start the 20th Dolomiti Superbike in Villabassa, Italy. 4700 participants from 40 countries, including 100 elite riders will tackle the course. This is a new record. The men will cover 119km with 3822 metres of climbing; the ladies 60 km at 1.688 metres.
The list of hitters is impressive. First up, Swiss Bull, Urs Huber, who has won the marathon three times (2011, 2010 and 2008). At the World Champs in South Africa ten days ago, he finished 4th behind Jaroslav Kulhavy, Alban Lakata and Christoph Sauser.
His fiercest opponent to reach victory could be the Austrian Alban Lakata – the Albanator – who won the long-distance race in South Tyrol in 2012. In 2010 he was World Champion and in South Africa he won his third World Championship silver medal, with a stunning ride back through the field after a mid-race slump.
Roel Paulissen is a two-time world champion, he won one of them in 2008 in Villabassa.
Ilias Periklis was World Champ in 2012, winning on a horribly muddy day in Ornans, he will be trying to claim his first title at Dolomiti Superbike, after a good showing at XCM Worlds a fortnight previously.
After winning the XCM World Championship in 2004 and Dolomiti Superbike in 2009 and 2007, Massimo Debertolis is eager to win for the third time this year. But without the bout of hard racing in the legs that riders who were in South Africa have – will he have the form?
Despite posting a DNF at XCM Worlds, Kristian Hynek is a big threat, and was victorious in 2013. Leonardo Paez has won the Alpentour Trophy and Sellaronda Hero in the last 6 weeks, and he won the Dolomiti Superbike in 2006. Going further back, The 2005 Marathon legend Marzio Deho from Italy captured the title in 2005, while the Frenchman Thomas Dietsch was successful in 2003, the Italian Yader Zoli in 1999 and Jörg Arenz from Germany in 1996. Owing to age, the latter’s chances of winning aren’t great..
Big news is that 2000 Olympic Champion Miguel Martinez will be racing, he’s been racing World Cups, but has recently won a marathon in Italy.
Not forgetting the strong Dane Søren Nissen, among the competitors claiming for gold; the Transalp winners from Germany, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm as well as the Austrian Christof Soukup. The Italian Marathon Team is led by the World Cup participants and Italian XCM Champion Samuele Porro (2014), Tony Longo (2013) and Yuri Ragnoli (2012).
Among the women, Sally Bigham, who won the Dolomiti 2012 and 2013 and was last year’ World-champion runner-up, is a favourite for the race. She will get opposition from the Norwegian champion and third placed at the European Championshisps Borghild Løvset as well as the winners of 2009 and 2008, Katrin Schwing and Elena Giacomuzzi.
The routes are counter clockwise this year.