The municipality of Costa Rica, in the North of Mato Grosso do Sul State hosted the eighth edition of the 24-Hour Solo Mountain Biking World Championship, the first ever held in Latin America. After 24 hours of excitement and adrenaline, Canada’s Cory Wallace and Italy’s Gaia Ravaioli were crowned world champions in the elite category. Cory completed 16 laps at 23:14:55 and took his third consecutive title, Gaia was the repeated her 2017 feat, completing 14 laps at 24:17:50, winning her second world championship.
Elite men at WEMBO
Cory Wallace completed just over 460 km in 16 laps to win ahead of Mario Veríssimo (BRA) in second and Ernesto Mora (PAR) in third. The Canadian had already won at Finale Ligure (ITA) in 2017, and at Fort William (GBR) in 2018. Mario started quickly, leading for the first few laps.
Cory and Taylor Lideen (USA) reduced Mario’s advantage, until Taylor retired to finish tenth after suffering severe pain in his right leg. Cory moved into the lead on his eighth lap as Mario gradually slowed and remained focused through the night to hold onto his advantage in the final 12 hours.
“Every competition is unique. The first title was special because I took the throne from Jason English. The second achievement was important for the sake of affirmation and the third here in Costa Rica is the icing on the cake,” said Cory. “Being a champion three times is unreal. It seems like yesterday I won the title for the first time. I’m glad to be here in Brazil and, like the other foreigners, being able to help raise the level of Brazilian mountain biking,” said Cory.
“This year’s World Championship had a course that required patience. Most of the time we cycled very fast. In the end, it’s always a mind race where you live each part in a way. The circuit began with lots of trees and single track, then the profile changed with wind on open dirt roads” commented the three-time champion.
Winner of the 2018 Pre-World Championship, when he completed 12 laps in the Mato Grosso circuit, Mario Verissimo also completed the same 16 laps as the three-time world champion this year but was just over 1h 20m behind Cory. Paraguayan Ernesto Mora closed out the top 3 with 14 laps completed.
Elite women at WEMBO
Gaia Ravaioli was the leader from start to finish and at no time slowed down, cycling for just over 400 km. One of the pre-race favorites, Ukrainian Elena Novikova crashed late on Saturday afternoon and ended the competition in tenth place with a suspected fracture of her right shoulder. The strong Brazilian riders Lucinei Marega and Hildebranda Leal finished in second and third with 12 and 11 laps respectively
“I am really happy for this achievement, mainly because in 2018 I lost the world champion jersey in Scotland. I promised myself that I would win this title. I trained very hard and focused a lot on this race. It’s a dream come true,” Gaia cheered. “All this was only possible because I had my husband Alessandro by my side. He accompanied me here in the race and made my support. This victory is ours,” she added.
Like the other cyclists, Gaia also spared no praise for the organization. “The route was very fast. The organization was perfect in terms of logistics and safety of the track. The people in Brazil are amazing, very human and warm. Thank you so much for being so well received.”
Among the 21 categories that were raced during the 2019 world championships on Sunday afternoon (July 28), one of them was more than special. This year’s edition marked the debut of PCD – people with disabilities – which was a world first.
The champion was Mato Grosso do Sul athlete Bruno Paim, a two-handed armless cyclist who managed to take the lead only in the second half of the 24 hours, when then-leader Eduardo Sanches could not continue in the race. At 23:52:37, Paim completed 12 laps and was ahead of Victor Luise – 23:29:02 and 11 laps.
World Champion Organiser
Cyclist and event organiser, well known to the mountain bike audience, Mario Roma has also won the world champions jersey in the 55 to 59 year category. In a very fierce contest with Plínio de Souza, the Brasil Ride founder pedalled for 25h 34min (14 laps), while Plínio finished his race at 22h 12min (12 laps).
“My definite strategy wasn’t very secret: push it. That’s all. Plínio was a wonderful opponent. We had competed against each other before and the spirit of fair play between us is huge. If you’re looking for a strong combatant, this is Plínio. I’m happy for both of us. Today it was my turn, but the next could be him” said Roma. “It is very good to be able to leave this legacy, not only because we held the World Championship, but also through the exchange of experiences between the athletes. We have the first world champion in PCD (People with Disabilities), Bruno Paim, and this will be forever in the history “.
During the awards ceremony, Mario Roma made a point of thanking the president of the World Mountain Bike Endurance (WEMBO), Russell Baker, and Costa Rica Mayor Waldeli dos Santos Rosa, for believing in his project for presenting the sports incentive trophy. “I would like to register my thanks to Russell and Waldeli, for being two people who believe in the sport and believe in our work. Without them, we would not have the World Championships here in Brazil,” said the age group world champion.
Other World Champions
In the other categories contested in the MTB 24h Solo World Championship, the champions were: Andrew Howett (single speed); Luisa Silveira and Felipe Nonato (under-23); Katia Cristina and Anycleison Cavalcante (23-29 years); Valeria Crema and Bruno Nunes (30 to 34 years old); Julia Ribeiro and Carlos Henrique Paixão (35 to 39 years old); Julyana Machado and Leandro Rambo (40 to 44 years old); Ana Paula Pereira and Juliano Gehrke (45 to 49 years old); Claudia Fiess and Valter Paes (50 to 54 years old); Brigitte Giurizzatti and Mario Roma (55 to 59 years old); and Dennis Smaggus (over-60).
Numbers – The following countries were in the World Solo MTB 24h Championship: Brazil, Canada, USA, Italy, UK, Paraguay, Ukraine, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, Australia and Spain. With the total of 241 participants in solo dispute, 2019 edition overcomes the world of Scotland, in 2018, when 151 cyclists were in the UK, in Fort William.