April 15, 2018
The Marlene Südtirol Sunshine Race is taking place in Nalles / South Tyrol. This cross-country race is one of the best attended in Italy.
The Start of the international C1-race is located at the Fire Department directly adjacent to the center of town. Women racers will begin the race with a Start Loop before taking on the actual course. The circuit takes riders from the Fire Department in direction of the town center (approx. 250 m) to the entry of the "Nachtigallenweg".
The "Nachitgallenweg" is a 1 meter-wide hiking trail weaving through the deciduous forest towards Sirmian. This passage requires full concentration as riders will be in very close proximity, particularly in the first round. Overtaking is almost impossible in the narrow switchbacks. Despite this, the audience will probably bear witness to several risky overtaking maneuvers.
"Platten" is the name of the trail's lookout point and can be reached by the "Nachtigallenweg". The first 100 m of altitude difference is followed by another ascent right through local vineyards. The impressive views of the "Payersberg" castle and the Mendel pass will be offered to both riders and spectators alike. A short breather during a flat passage is followed by another ascent leading to the crossing of the street towards Sirmian before riders are again on a flat passage taking them directly into the "Kastanienwald".
The "Kastanienwald" is probably the most challenging part for elite athletes. Rapid descents over rock single trails require the highest level of technical expertise. Following the "Kastanienwald" and at the end of a demanding steep track is the "Schwanburg" castle.
The course then follows the street towards Sirmian through vineyards along a 500 m uphill section towards Tisens to the "Schöntor", which is the highest point of the entire circuit. Beautiful vistas of the Texel mountains, Tschöggelberg and the Dolomites and the more closely located "Wehrburg" and "Katzenzungen" castles welcome riders. One last deep breadth before they take on the difficult "Downhill Steps".
The "Downhill Steps" is a steep, racy and spectacular downhill passage taking riders over six wooden steps. They require full concentration and a high level of technical ability. A few tight turns precede the downhill which then leads riders to the street towards Prissian.
The course meanders from the "Stachelburg" to "Schernag" taking bikers through beautiful orchards along the Nalles river all the way to the Athletic complex. The street along the swimming pool then takes riders back to the Start / Finish. However, before reaching the Finish riders have to descent the concrete steps located right next the Fire Department which can be challenging given dwindling concentration levels at this advanced stage of the race.
The Start Loop runs almost exclusively through the center of town. It starts at the Start / Finish Area next to the Fire Department and reaches the entry of the "Nachtigallenweg". It then passes the local Club House before leading over large concrete steps at the Kindergarten back to the Fire Department. The starting loop is of critical strategic importance. It is almost impossible for riders to catch the leading pack if they don't keep up with the top flight and reach the "Nachtigallenweg" early during this initial phase of the race.
Length: Men's: 30 km (7 laps of 4 km + Start Loop). Women's: 26 km (6 laps + Start Loop)
Difference in altitude: 222 m / lap. Total difference in altitude: 1554 m
The racing weekend in Nalles is spread over two days. Official training, ID checks and Youth relays are scheduled for Saturday. Official bibs are handed out to Elite Women and Men racers at 7:00 pm.
Sunday kicks off with Women-Elite start at 12:30 noon. The Men's race is scheduled to start at 2:30 pm.
Award ceremonies are at 5:00 pm and the program will close with the lottery drawing.
The first mountain bike competitions were held in California (USA) in the early eighties. Since then the discipline has grown very fast, in all aspects. The first World Championships to be officially recognized by the UCI dates back to 1990. A World Cup was set up the following year.
Mountain bike events are split into two broad families: Cross-country, generally over a closed circuit of at least 6 km: depending on the category, this race can last from 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes. There are narrow tracks, paths through forests, rocky paths and the riders even have to ford streams.