In 2018 the World Cross-country Mountain Bike Marathon Championships head back to Italy, to a mountainous course in the Dolomites – running alongside the 3Epic event. The 2017 edition has proven to be an excellent preview for the organisers, racers and fans.
Italian Samuele Porro (Team Trek Selle San Marco) just won the 2017 edition of the 3Epic which anticipates the 2018 World Championships. The mountain biker from Como earned an exciting victory with strong determination on a tough and demanding track, which in the previous days had been plagued with bad weather, but was then cheered by the sun that peeked out throughout the whole race and lifted up the spirits of the more than 1,600 participants.
The race was an excellent test for the World Championships, and was included in the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon Series (95.8 km long, with 3,183 m altitude difference). But Porro didn’t take a certain victory, the race had been fought and uncertain until the very end, and the 3Epic track did not disappoint the expectations at all.
Paez lights it up at the 3Epic
It was the Colombian Paez who started inflaming the race since the very beginning, by anticipating his opponents and taking advantage of the initial ascents. After two hours, at the downhill of Col de Varda, he also got rid of the European Champion Tiago Ferreira.
After 45 km, a duo – made of Samuele Porro and the Austrian Hochnwarter – chased Paez down with a 1’-delay at Malga Rimbianco.
After three hours, at Malga Maraia, Paez started to give in, and his opponents from behind seemed closer and threatening. The chase came to an end before the last 25 km, when a trio made up before the last three ascents. Porro was the most active, seized the moment, and amazed everyone by making the decisive move and gaining ground and precious seconds, whereas Paez felt the blow and was sent back to the rear.
In the final pulse-pounding race moments, the Italian cyclist took advantage of the technical and fast track sections in the final descents – that he masters at his best – in order to avoid the comeback of the Austrian Hochnwarter, and risked the impossible, building suspense and exciting the many spectators crowded together along the homestretch. Porro arrived solo with arms raised and a little bit of emotion crossing the finish line after 4:37:30 ahead of a thrilled Hochnwarter by 28”, and of Kristian Hynek by additional 4’, unexpectedly third further to an amazing comeback in the final sections.
Kollman wins the women’s 3Epic
It was the new European Champion Christina Kollmann (Team Texpa Simplon) who surprised and excited all by winning the race, notwithstanding a slow and cautious start. Kollmann crossed the finish line after 5:34:39 ahead of the Swiss Lüthi by more than 4’, and of a satisfied Maria Cristina Nisi by 19’.
Protagonist in the initial track sections, Nisi in the final kilometres was able to make up the places lost in the descent technical sections.
What can we learn for the 2018 3Epic?
1. You have to be able to climb. With a route of 95.8km and over 3000m of climbing, the route is like many UCI Marathons and will reward those who can climb.
2. Don’t forget the descents. It’s easy to disregard this element, but there is a lot of free speed on descents. From using your bike properly, to riding more relaxed, you can recover better and go faster. Never neglect the importance of skills coaching.
3. Hardtails rule. hardtailIt’s not completely a given, but looking through the images here the seems to be the weapon of choice, given the volume of climbing.
4. Gear for the climbs. There are a lot of very wide range cassettes and small chain rings on riders bikes. With some very steep climbs in the Dolomites, your day at the 3Epic could be undone by poor gear choice. Make sure you can spin your low gears though!
3Epic UCI Mountain Bike Marathon Series – Men èlite:
1. Samuele Porro – Team Trek Selle San Marco 04:37:30
2. Uwe Hochnwarter – Craft Rocky Mountain +00:28
3. Kristian Hynek – Topeak Ergon +03:11
4. Jiri Novak – DMT Racing Team +04:49
5. Jochen Kass – Centurion Vaude +05:43
6. Leonardo Hector Leon Paez – Polimedical FRM +05:51
7. Francesco Failli – Cicli Taddei +06:19
8. Hermann Pernsteiner – Centurion Vaude +06:37
9. Alban Lakata – Topeak Ergon +08:32
10. Riccardo Chiarini – Team NOB Selle Italia +08:54
3Epic UCI Mountain Bike Marathon Series – Women èlite:
1. Christina Kollmann – Team Texpa Simplon 05:34:39
2. Ariane Lüthi – Team Spur +04:41
3. Maria Cristina Nisi – Bike Innovation Focus Piss +19:03
4. Katazina Sosna – Torpado Südtirol MTB Pro Team +25:03
5. Michalina Ziolkowska – Volkswagen Samochody Uzytkowe +25:21
6. Jennie Stenerhag – Falu Cykelklubb +29:58
7. Elena Gaddoni – Cicli Taddei +32:10
8. Cemile Trommer – Focus Rapiro Racing +57:54
9. Jennifer Fiori – Bike Theraphy +1:27:19
10. Ilda Pereira – Amar BTB Torcatense +1:31:30
All photos by A. Billiani