Two weeks after the XCM World Championships, many of the world’s elite rolled around the corner for the classic Italian marathon – the Dolomiti Superbike. Over 5500 riders lined up for the race – a new record.
The Portuguese Tiago Ferreira and the Austrian Christina Kollmann won the 21st edition of the Südtirol Dolomiti Superbike. This year the route was raced clockwise, over 113 km and with 3,357m of difference in climbing. The mountain bike marathon started at 7.30 a.m. in bright sunshine and at high summer temperatures.
Tiago Ferreira gained a commanding victory, his first at the Dolomiti Superbike, leaving behind former winners, such as Ilias Periklis from Greece (2014) and Kristian Hynek from the Czech Republic (2013). The Portuguese finished the race after 4:26.22 hours. The deficit of the second Ilias Periklis equalled 1.35 minutes, whereas Hynek arrived at the finish 2.56 minutes after the winner.
The beginning of the race was very fast, with seven athletes dictating the pace before Ferreira was able to leave all his competitors behind at the second ascent up to San Silvestro square. However, Ilias Periklis and Leonardo Paez tried to catch up with the Portuguese. The Columbian started a first attack at Monte Elmo, but Periklis was able to keep the pace. Together they managed to catch up with Ferreira near Dobbiaco, but then Ferreira started the decisive attack in the flat section of Prato Piazza, where he was able to mobilise all his forces and leave his competitors behind.
“I’m in a really good form, which is due to the long preparation for the World Championship and came to fruition today.”
Ilias Periklis could mobilise his forces in Prato Piazza as well and could beat eventually Paez, who did not drink enough for the heat. In this situation Paez lost also the third place, with Kristian Hynek overtaking him, who was really satisfied with the result, considering the deficit of training due to his injury. World Champion Alban Lakata, who finished in fifth position, had complained about his “heavy legs“ already the day before the race. “Tiago today was cycling in a league of his own“, says the best Italian Damiano Ferraro (7.).
Tiago Ferreira: “I am very satisfied. It is a great feeling to have won such a prestigious and important race as the Dolomiti Superbike. I did a really good preparation and that is what made the difference today. Most part of the race I had to cycle on my own, as I tried to keep the pace high. At a certain point Periklis and Paez were able to catch up with me, but then I increased pace even further and gave everything until I arrived at the finish.”
Ilias Periklis (GRE), 2nd place: “I am very satisfied with the result, also because my teammate won the race today. I had to let the leaders go ahead twice, but was then able to catch up with them again mobilising all my remaining forces, even if I could not cope with the pace of Tiago. With the last ounce of strength I overtook Leonardo and cycled at full speed until the finish.
Kristian Hynek (CZE), 3rd place: “I am really satisfied with the result. The last weeks have been quite difficult for me, as I was not able to do any training due to my injury and the Dolomiti Superbike being only the second race after my accident. Today I wanted to test my current form and really worked well together with Alban Lakata. I did not think to be able to reach a top ten result today, so the third place is even more unexpected. Today Tiago was clearly the strongest.“
First victory for Kollmann
In the women’s category Christina Kollmann from Austria came in first after 5:27.04 hours with a lead of 7.16 minutes on the second placed Annabella Stropparo (ITA). 9.31 minutes after Stropparo the Lithuanian Sosna Katazina finished the race in third position. “There was a very hectic start“, says the winner Christina Kollmann after the race. “For quite a long time I was convinced to be in leading position, but it was not the case, as Annabella Stropparo was faster than me.” Kollmann could catch up with Stropparo only at the ascent of Baranci, due to a tyre failure the Italian had to cope with. The remaining distace Kollmann had to race on her own. “Starting from Dobbiaco, direction Schluderbach, I cycled together with a group of male athletes, but they weren’t really eager to help me…” The 27-year old Austrian National Champion found, that the last ascent up to Prato Piazza was really brutal“.
The 20 year older Italian Stropparo, who won several National Championships, has recently won four marathon races. The third, Sosna Katazina, who has her origin in road racing, found it extremely difficult to race at such high temperatures: “It is my first year as mountain biker and there is still a lack in the right techniques for the downhill tracks“, she says. For Katazina especially the first ascents were difficult to cope with, in the second and faster part of the circuit she was then able find her own rhythm. Three-time winner Sally Bigham could not start at the 21st edition of the Dolomiti Superbike due to a flu.
Christina Kollmann (AUT), winner: “The first kilometres I tried to keep a low speed, as I wanted to pace myself correctly choosing the right intensities. Starting from km 60, after having overtaken Stropparo, I managed to go ahead on my own. The victory is unique for me, as I did not expect to finish first. It took me quite a long time to find the right pace.“
Annabella Stropparo (ITA), 2nd place: “I was on maternity leave for quite a long time and my friends encouraged me to participate in the race. Now I am cycling only for fun without any pressure. Even if I didn’t have any tyre failure or cramps in my legs, I would not have been able to win the race. Christina was simply too strong.
Sosna Katazina (LTU), 3rd place: “I am very satisfied with the result, even if I hoped to be faster at my first Dolomiti Superbike. I really suffered during the ascents, as I am not used to this kind of characteristics and they were really difficult for me. In the second part of the circuit I felt much more conformable. It is a beautiful race, I gave everything I had and can say that I am satisfied at the end of the day.“
1. Tiago Ferreira (POR) 4:26.22,8 25,45 km/h
2. Ilias Periklis (GRE) 4:27.58
3. Kristian Hynek (CZE) 4:29.19
4. Leonardo Paez (COL) 4:30.16
5. Lukas Büchli (SUI) 4:34.33
6. Alban Lakata (AUT) 4:34.38
7. Damiano Ferraro (ITA) 4:35.41
8. Matous Ulman (CZE) 4:40.18
9. Travis Walker (RSA) 4:40.35
10. Croeser Rourke Douglas (RSA) 4:40.35
1. Christina Kollmann (AUT) 5:27.04 20,728 km/h
2. Annabella Stropparo (ITA) 5:34.21
3. Sosna Katazina (LAT) 5:36.36
4. Alexandra Hober (ITA) 5:50.26
5. Katrin Schwing (GER) 5:52.55
6. Verena Krenslehner (AUT) 6:02.12
7. Florentine Striegl (GER) 6:03.18
8. Lorenza Menapace (ITA) 6:06.35
9. Elena Gaddoni (ITA) 6:15.49
10. Jenny Manuela (SUI) 6:17.58