The first race of the new European Enduro Series presented by XS Power Drink is history - and what a race it was. Best weather, demanding trails and a Mediterranean coastal landscape determined the opening race in Punta Ala, Italy.
While the riders were reminded on the training day that it was only April with rain showers and gusts of wind, the sun came out on Sunday for the day of the race and put the dream trails of the Bandite Trail Area Punta Ala in the right light. Each of the four stages knew how to inspire and challenge with a varied route, crisp key points and a lot of flow. In addition to well-known trails of the Enduro World Series, some sections were also ridden in a race for the first time. With a route length of more than 50 kilometers and more than 1700 meters of altitude difference, the physical demands were not neglected.
After training, things started on Saturday with the prologue, a fairly pedal-heavy single trail. The drivers from the UK and Ireland secured the first places, Sam Shucksmith was fastest, followed by Robert Williams and the Irishman Daniel Wolfe. Chiara Pastore dominated the women's race.
On Sunday morning, the participants received the best conditions, the ground was neither too dusty nor too wet, so it had good grip and was fast. When the drivers started at nine o'clock, all eyes were on the Italian superstars. Would Marco Milivinti, Davide Sottocornola and young Denny Lupato challenge the Brits for the podium? The first special stage was a long, perfect and technical single trail with a short but crisp climb in the middle. Right from the start, the Brits and the Irish set passable times. They approached the transfers fairly quickly to be first on the stages. At first it looked like Shucksmith would dominate, but then the Italians were able to counteract it. First and foremost the Super Enduro star Davide Sottocornolo, who set a time that seemed unbeatable. But then Denny Lupato crossed the finish line and beat that time by another ten seconds. Denny's tactics differed from those of the British and Irish riders, as he took time between stages to gather energy.
At the end of the day, however, the strong local riders dominated: With best times on all stages, Denny Lupato was able to build on his fourth place in the prologue and with a time of 25:43.92 secured the overall victory in the Pro Men category - with a remarkable 27.03 seconds ahead of the second place Davide Sottocornola. Third was Vittorio Gambirasio. In the women's race, the Swiss Lorraine Truong came out on top with a lead of more than a minute in front of Laura Rossin and Chiara Pastore. The fastest Master was Francesco Fregona from Italy, followed by Remo Heutschi and Benedikt Purner.
After the successful start in Punta Ala, the European Enduro Series presented by XS Power Drink continues in Flims at the beginning of July. Instead of Mediterranean flair, alpine racing awaits the starters here - anyone who knows the region knows that the Flims trails don't have to hide from Punta Ala in any way.