Returning for the 3rd year in a row, the Superenduro has landed on the doorstep of Canazei, but this year with a twist as it hosts the first round of the brand new European Continental Series - a branch off series from the EWS.
Known for its popularity amongst hikers, the Dolomites is also a haven for cycling, whatever your discipline be. Over the past decade local trail builders and Fassa Sport have worked hard to put Canazei on the mountain biking map, given that they’ve bagged an EWS round here in 2019, it’s safe to say they have succeeded.
After a downpour of rain that came with a traditional alpine thunderstorm on Thursday night, riders were worried if there was more to come. With the majority of the trails being freshly built, the rain threatened to turn it from fresh, dry loam into a sliding competition. Thankfully the damp weather stayed away and riders were treated with fresh trails and no abundance of dust.
With such a variety of terrain in the region, from rolling grass hills, alpine peaks as well as the distinctive ridges of the Dolomites, it’s no surprise that the tracks reflected this variety. Featuring 5 stages, the Canazei Superenduro had everything from a short and sharp 704m urban stage to a visually spectacular but relentless 4.8km stage and everything in between. Every style of riding was tested over the weekend, whether you’re a fan of bike park trails, steep twisty, rocks and roots, Canazei had it all, making the winner a real all-round best, which is one reason why it is so well suited to hold an EWS.
The riders headed off and took advantage of all the lifts on offer in the valley, maximising their number of runs without tiring themselves out too quickly. The course featured 5 stages over 40km with a vertical ascent of 2200m, however, only 600m of that was by pure pedal power, the rest would thankfully be lift assisted.
The popular and most talked about stage to tackle and conquer was stage 2. With rumors that at a casual pace you’d be looking at about 18 minutes to get from top to bottom many people were curious to see what this seemingly never-ending track had to offer, that is if you could tear yourself away from the view at the top of Col Rodella.Race Day
Stage 1 eased the riders into the day, with a short but steep pedal out of the centre of town the riders got to take in some of the local sights on their way.
After a short stint in stage 1 the riders were treated to the complete opposite on the following stage. Ridges, rocks, and roots are only some of things you could expect to find coming down stage 2, as well as tight hairpin bends, new lines, fresh loam, off camber sections, steep twisty chutes are some of the other things. Stage 2 really did have it all. Setting off on top of an alpine ridge before dropping into the trees where things got a little hard to see with the contrast of the bright daylight straight into a heavily wooded section. Although a tiring stage it was one of the most fun to ride as the moment you get comfortable with one style of riding, you’re instantly propelled into something completely different and have to instantly adapt. It was one to push you out of your comfort zone and the type of track where you’re riding and confidence would improve almost instantly as you’ve no other choice but to tackle what’s in front of you.
Despite being less than half the length of stage 2, stage 3 was almost equally tiring. With fresh soil and mounds at every opportunity, you really had to work your whole body to get up, over and around the natural and undulating track. Only dropping 261m it also meant there were a few flat stretches which if you wanted to win, you had to pedal hard and push through the pain.
Aptly named Voltron after the cartoon character where 5 robots merge into 1, stage 4 featured 5 of the Fassa bike park tracks into one long stage totalling 4.1km. Don’t be fooled by it being parts of a bike park however, the top section was flowy and smooth with numerous fast and high banked berms, however, the latter part of the trail just gets steeper with rocks and roots to try and catch you out at every opportunity.
Stage 5 was the ultimate crowd pleaser. An urban stage throughout the centre of Canazei amassed fans all together and brought together a perfect finishing arena atmosphere for the end of the day.
In the elite women, GT rider Noga Korem took the win on 4 of the 5 stages, with Anita Gehrig taking the win on stage 5. New Zealander and Liv rider Rae Morrison tailed behind Noga throughout the day and ended up just 38.7 seconds behind GT rider overall. Not long back from a hand injury, Anita was straight back on the pace to land herself a podium in 3rd place at 52 seconds behind 1st place.
In the elite men it was Nicola Casadei who took the overall win after winning stages 1, 2 and 3, however, Matteo Berta gave followed very closely behind and took the win in both stage 4 and 5 which placed him 2nd overall, just over 25 seconds behind Casadei.
1st. CASADEI Nicola (ITA) — 28:38.56
2nd. BERTA Matteo (ITA) — 29:04.38
3rd. RAIMONDI Matteo (ITA) — 29:07.29
1st. KOREM Noga (ISR) — 33:30.06
2nd. MORRISON Rae (NZL) — 34:08.76
3rd. GEHRIG Anita (SUI) — 34:22.95