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Cycling - 15. April 2013.

Eva Lechner wins the 13th Marlene South Tyrol Sunshine Race


Eva Lechner wn the 13th "Marlene South Tyrol Sunshine Race" in Nals, Italy.

Local favorite Eva Lechner asserts herself for the 4th time in the women's race. The Italian champion wins ahead of Blaza Klemencic from Slovenia and Elisabeth Osl from Austria. Sabine Spitz places 4th.

This victory pushes Lechner to the lead in number of victories ahead of Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle, who has won on this course three times.

Women covered 26.6 km. The race is part of the "Internazionali d'Italia" race series. 750 registrations set a record in terms of participan

The Women's Race: 27-year-old Eva Lechner from South Tyrol captures her fourth gold after winning in 2009, 2010 and 2012. She distances herself by 32 seconds from the Slovenian champion Blaza Klemencic, 33, with a time of 1:28.19 hours.

The 2010 World Cup champion from Austria, Elisabeth Osl, ranks third with a delay of 1.44''. Beijing Olympic champion Sabine Spitz places fourth (+3.07''). Eva Lechner is closely behind Lisi Osl after the opening loop but manages to take the lead shortly thereafter maintaining it throughout the remainder of the race.

Lechner decides to attack in the second loop to distance herself from Blaza Klemencic, particularly in the downhill. This allows her to extend her lead, which grows to 50 meters at the highest point, the "Keschtnigl" in the third round of the race.

That lead shrinks to 14'' at the end of the third round. Kelmencic sticks to her guns but is not able to keep up with Lechner in the downhills. Dawidowicz from Poland and Alvarez from Argentina place fifth and sixth, respectively.

"Eva was very clever and thoughtful about her competitors' strategies" says Race Director of the Italian Federation and former World Champion Hubert Pallhuber, adding: "It wasn't easy to keep Blaza Klemencic under control."

Rankings Women (Full results at www.sunshineracers-nals.it )

1. Eva Lechner (TEAM COLNAGO ARREGHINI) 1h 28' 19; 2. Blaza Klemencic (TEAM CALCIT BIKE) 1h 28' 51"; 3. Elisabeth Osl (GHOST FACTORY RACING) 1h 30' 04"; 4. Sabine Spitz (SABINE-SPITZ HAIBIKE PRO TEAM) 1h 31' 27"; 5. Aleksandra Dawidowicz (BI&ESSE CARRERA) 1h 33' 37"; 6. Jackelina Alvarez (TEAM SHIMANO LATIN AMERICA); 7. Serena Calvetti (SURFING SHOP SPORT PROMOTION ASD) 1h 34' 07"; 8. Daniel Veronesi (SURFING SHOP SPORT PROMOTION ASD) 1h 34' 51"; 9. Andrea Waldis (COLUMBIA) 1h 35' 41"; 10. Nathalie Schneitter (COLUMBIA) 1h 37' 01".

Statements Women

Eva Lechner, Winner: "I am very happy. The audience definitely provided a boost to my energy levels. I love riding here in Nals. There were a few Junior racers ahead of us in the first three rounds, which was a bit distracting. I wasn't able to ride the way I intended in my first downhill. I knew Blaza is very strong, which is why I wanted to be strong right from the start. But I really pushed hard in the short, steep uphills and that was the key. I had no problems in the downhills."

Blaza Klemencic, 2nd: "This was a hard race. I have tried to stay close to Eva on the uphills and even managed to do so in a few instances. But she took off when it got very steep and certainly also in the downhills, where she is always strong. I am pleased with my 2nd place, even if I do want to win here in Nals at some point. My aim is to continue to place among the top 10, trying hard to reach the podium."

Elisabeth Osl, 3rd: "Anyone who knows me is aware that I am never very strong at the beginning of the season. My third place showed that I'm trending up. I want to regularly place in the top 10 and maybe add to my great results from 2009-10. My shape is definitely getting better. But I am thrilled for Eva because I know how it feels to win at home."

Sabine Spitz, 4th: "It was a hard, but beautiful race. I suffered from the constant change in rhythm and the altitude profile peppered with difficult sections. In general, I am pleased with my 4th place as I raced against true specialists who are strong in the uphills. I am also pleased as I am in ever better shape and that is great for the upcoming World Cup season. South Tyrol is great, the people very nice and I hope to be able to return."

Italiy leads the nations ranking

Athletes from ten different countries feature in the nations ranking. Italy leads with eleven victories. Six of these victories are in the women's races, five in the men's. Norway is next with three victories ahead of Germany, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland with two each.

New Record: 750 participants from 20 nations

A new participation record was set with 750 athletes from 20 nations starting in the 13rd edition of the "Marlene South Tyrol Sunshine Race". This makes it the best-cast mountain bike race in Italy. "This is a great incentive also for our dedicated volunteers" states OC President Florian Pallweber.

The first race in the "Internazionali d'Italia" race series took place in optimal conditions. "Thanks to the vernal temperatures, the track was in great condition. The atmosphere was already strong in the morning during the student and youth races and hundreds of spectators assembled at the most spectacular sections of the course to secure good viewing positions. I am very pleased with this year's edition of the race." adds Pallweber.

The international cross-country race belongs to the UEC European Junior and U23 Mountainbike Cup series along with the events in Bad Säckingen (D), Haiming (A) and Graz/Stattegg (A). The race is also part of the "Internazionali d'Italia" race series for the eighth time and the Austrian mountain bike league for the second time.

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