All the action from the first round of the Superenduro series at Golfo Dianese, in Riviera Ligure, Italy.
ITALIAN PODIUM FOR THE FIRST 2012 STAGE OF THE SUPERENDURO POWERED BY SRAM PRO SERIES
Bad weather forecasts weren’t enough to put off the 350 riders who took to the trails for the opening of the Superenduro Powered by SRAM 2012 season. All through the week rain had plagued the seaside towns along Golfo di Diano Marina, but on Saturday night the weather finally turned. As racers were arriving in the pits the sun finally made its appearance.
That change in the weather gave the three of the four stages time to dry out. Only the newly built trail, Molini, proved to be a problem on race day. That made tyre choice incredibly difficult – do you go for something big and grippy? Or would a fast-rolling semi-slick be worth the loss of grip?
It was Davide Sottocornola (Endura Cicobikes Ibis) who made all the right compromises on bike setup and took home the win. Racing was close though, he was the only rider to break the 20 minute mark, edging out Alex Lupato (Lapierre – Team FRM) by just three seconds. Defending champion Andrea Bruno (Transition – Team Ready2Ride) was what must be a disappointing 22.3 seconds back. Nobody could touch the dominance of the Italians, Karim Amour (Kona – Brooks Bike o’Clock) was the first non-Italian in fourth, 39.9 seconds off the winners pace. Surprise of the weekend goes to the UKs Paul Aston (Yeti – Leisurelakes). In his first Superenduro raced he lightning-fired his way to fifth overall.
After the victory in the prologue Alex Lupato nailed the first special stage, coming out with a seven second lead over Davide Sottocornola and 8.5 seconds on the red plated-Andrea Bruno. Fourth was Karim Amour over 16.4 seconds back and Manuel Ducci (Ibis – Life Cycle) rounded out the top five, 20.3 seconds back.
Stage two, Maiali was the one riders were nervous about though, with riders going down left, right and centre. Brit Paul Aston was obviously used to riding in those kind of conditions and emerged victorious. Davide Sottocornola was just 3.4 seconds back, Andrea Bruno 6.4. The UK’s Al Stock (Kona – Brooks Bike o’Clock) was also feeling good in the mud in fourth and Vitorio Gambirasio (GT – Team 360 °) completed the top five, despite racing with a broken finger.
With the drying track conditions the mid-point trip to the pits became more important than ever. Not only was it time to grab a few minutes rest, but a chance to switch tyres. A lot of riders who went out in the morning with Swampthings or Ardents, opted to go to High Rollers or Minions as the stages three and four were pretty much dry already.
Davide Sottocornola didn’t waste his break time changing tyres, sticking to the mud tyre on the front and smashing in a 6.3 second victory in stage three. Andrea Bruno stayed close in second and eight seconds back was Alex Lupato. This left Sottocornola and Lupato with a commanding lead over Bruno and the rest of the field.
In between stages three and four a snapped gear cable spelt disaster for Andrea Bruno, who was left to climb in a huge gear, which showed on the last stage as he lost nearly nine seconds to stage winner, Alex Lupato. Davide Sottocornola was 1.4 seconds behind Lupato, which was enough to give him the overall. Karim Amour bagged third, 4.8 seconds back in front of Vittorio Gambirasio (7 seconds back). By the time the riders reached that finish many were ruined, 45 kilometres of riding and 1,400m of vertical climbing left more than a few people writing in agony with cramps.
Among the women the French were unbeatable with Isabeau Courdurier and Morgane Such on the first two steps of the podium and Italian Clare Pastore, third.
The organisation of the FRRD crew and the support of the towns on Golfo di Diano Marina made an unforgettable weekend of enduro racing and their first Superenduro PRO race was a success. We are sure the riders would all agree with that and, thanks to the free shuttles to special stages they provided, so would the fans who came out to watch the race.
The Superenduro Powered by SRAM season continues with another race PRO at Punta Ala (GR) on 5-6 May. More information on that race will be available soon!