Brazilian Henrique Avancini and Czech Jiri Novak won the 8th edition of Brazil Ride, the biggest mountain bike stage race in the Americas, finishing 5min12 ahead of Italians Michele Casagrande and Fabian Rabensteiner. With this win, Novak has reached the highest place in the winners gallery on the open category, being the first cyclist to have three titles in eight editions. Avancini, now twice champion in his favourite race, had the pleasure of helping his partner in the perfect closing of his victorious professional carer in the sport.
After finishing the third stage on the top of the GC for a single second, and seeing Italians Michele Casagrande and Fabian Rabesteiner lead the fourth and fifth stages, Henrique Avancini and Jiri Novak recovered on Friday, during the cross country, an individual dispute. Despite Rabensteiner winning the previous stage, around one minute ahead of Novak, Avancini finished with excellent advantage ahead of Casagrande, and the difference, which was 10 seconds transformed in 21 seconds for the Czech-Brazilian duo.
Thus, in this last stage, the Marathon of Discovery, when some 1,000 other cyclists join the 500 participants of the stage race, for more 73,4 km, champions Avancini and Novak not only managed their lead and did not allow their competitors escape – even with the assistance of the other two teammates from Trek Selle San Marco, Samuele Porro and Andrea Righettini – but also finished more than 5 minutes ahead of the competitors.
Special sensation at the Brazil Ride
Even before the start of Brasil Ride, Jiri Novak was feeling a special sensation in the event, since he spent a long time with Avancini’s family even before the race. Now Novak brings his professional MTB carrer to a perfect end. “It’s amazing. I feel so good riding seven days in this crazy Brasil Ride race. In the final stage, we pushed very hard, and the last few kilometres were wonderful. Fabian crashed in the downhill, and it was a difficult moment for him, because there was a climb right after it. After this, we rode 20 km in full speed”, told Jiri.
“I spent one week with Henrique Avancini’s family, and he is an awesome guy. I had so much fun with Hans, and now with Henrique, he is a great person. His father, his sister and his wife, great people”, said Jiri. “I’m sure I’m retiring. When you’re at the top, it’s easy to fall. So this is definitely the moment to stop”, closed the only rider to win the open category three times
Henrique Avancini couldn’t hide his joy winning for the second time, and for being part of such a special moment in his partner’s life. “We escaped on the second half of the stage, and Jiri was very strong. He was ahead most of the time. It is a special day, because of the level of Brasil Ride. I believe this competition never had such a high level, with gaps of no more than 25 seconds until the last day. And also for my teamwork with Jiri. He is retiring, and now he is going to become a legend. The only athlete to win three times the open category. Those who have ridden Brasil Ride know this is not easy”, said Avancini.
Reward for the effort
Despite being runner-ups, Italians from Trek Selle San Marco leave Porto Seguro sure they have done their best this last seven days. Between crashes and days in yellow, Casagrande and Rabensteiner offered excitement from end to end. “Today was a hard stage for us. We were too tired, and we could not win. Jiri and Henrique were too strong. It was an important result for me, in my first Brasil Ride. We won a stage and came second in many others, I mean, we went really well”, declared Casagrande. “It was very hard from the very beginning and we did our best, but we had bad luck in some stages. I’m happy for the second place, and we must congratulate the champions”, told Rabensteiner.
The women’s race at Brazil Ride
Brazilian Raiza Goulão and French Margot Moschetti completed Brasil Ride winning the seven stages, leaving no space for the contenders. In the last stage, Goulão acknowledged the power of her young partner, who has been a protagonist. “This is my second win with perfect style. Racing with Margot was surprising, because we got along perfectly. Margot is strong on flat terrain and on climbs, and I helped on the technical parts. She had a hard time on the fifth stage, but today she started her engine, and made a difference”, said Goulão. “It was an excellent week here in Brazil, in an amazing race. Raiza is not only a great partner, but a great host, too. I’m happy for our win”, said Moschetti.
Masters in Brazil
Dutch Bart Brentjens, and Brazilian Abraão Azevedo had their fifth Brasil Ride win together this Saturday. It was Abraão’s eighth title, and he remains the only athlete to win all the editions of the event. Differently from the other four wins, this time the duo of legends of the sport did not have an easy time, with Czechs Ondrej Fojtik and Robert Novotny – two times champion – winning two of the seven stages.
Top 3 in open’s 7th stage
1-Henrique Avancini (BRA) e Jiri Novak (CZE) – 2h47min32
2-Michele Casagrande (ITA) e Fabian Rabensteiner (ITA) – 2h52min23
3-Hans Becking (NED) e Sebastian Fini (DIN) – 2h53min40
Top 3 in open’s GC
1-Henrique Avancini (BRA) e Jiri Novak (CZE) – 23h24min49
2-Michele Casagrande (ITA) e Fabian Rabensteiner (ITA) – 5min12 to
3-Hans Becking (NED) e Sebastian Fini (DIN) – 15min52 to