The 35th (and thus anniversary) edition of the Maratona dles Dolomites is won by Stefano Stagni (men) and Martha Maltha (women). For Stagni it was his first victory, Maltha won for the 2nd time in a row.
As with La Marmotte, the sun was shining in the Dolomites, although the temperature was a bit more pleasant than in France, especially in the morning. In the men's race it looked like 3-time winner Tomasso Electtrico would take the win. He and Portuguese Concalo Freitas were in the a large part of the race. In the valley, however, Stagni joined the duo. The trio reached the top of the Giau together. Stagni was able to drop his competitors halfway the Falzarego. He then rode solo to the finish.
Stagni is over the moon with his 1st Maratona victory:
"It's a unique experience! I can't even believe it happened!
On the Passo Sella Elettrico attacked, there were 2 guys on the head of the race. After the second Campolongo I noted that there wasn't cooperation in the group so I decided to attack on the Colle Santa Lucia. Trying to reach the head of the race. I reached them on the top of the Giau and the final attack was half way of the Falzarego. At that point I understood I could win.
My grandparants have a house in the Dolomites and as a young boy I stayed there for long times. Winning there where I grew up is incredible! "
On the 2nd place Elettrico finishes at about 1,5 minute. Another minute behind that, Freitas takes the 3rd spot. Behind the podium, lots of Italian riders, but the Belgians were also competing well. Frederic Glorieux finished 5th (1st in his category) and was satisfied:
"I had hoped for a top 5 finish and it worked out. I am definitely satisfied. Age categories don't interest me much but I wanted to experience this one officially. Beautiful event and region. Happy!"
The ex-pro Jurgen van Goolen (BE), who just last week won the TOUR Transalp with his teammate Job Sueters in the Grand Masters category, finished 10th. First Dutchman is Erik Franssen in 15th place. That's also an excellent performance, because 6 weeks ago he was still on the operating table and on top of that he had no support on the road.
In the ladies, all eyes were on the defending champion Martha Maltha (NL). She won last year by a large margin, but in her own words, she felt "not so good" the last few days. But everything turned out fine in the end. Her story of the day:
"I am really super happy. This one feels even better to me than the first one because I felt a lot of pressure beforehand. If you have already won once, anything less than first place is actually a disappointment. And I had quite a high opinion of my competitors, actually had some fear of them plus some doubts about my own form. I was quite early in the starting pen, around 5.30. When I arrived I immediately saw that my competitors Annalisa Prato, Martina Trevisiol and Laura Simenc were also already there. From the start a big group went to the Campolongo where it immediately split up. Annalisa and Martina drove away from me in the beginning. I had the feeling that my legs were good but I didn't want to blow myself up and they only rode a few meters ahead of me. Halfway through the race I caught them again and Laura joined in. Before the top I had a small gap and was first on the top. In the descent Annalisa and Martina passed me again. Then I was like, ok they can go downhill too so I can't let them down today..."
(the quote continues on the picture)
Photo: Martha Maltha on the top of the Valporola.
"On the Pordoi I always rode in the lead with Annalisa and Martina in my wheel. Just before the summit I had a gap but they caught me again on the descent. On the Sella they rode away but very quickly I caught them and then the gap was quickly formed and I did not see them again. On Giau and Valporola my power dropped a bit, but I thought if I don't get a real dip the others won't come back quickly, although during the race you never know the differences. Eventually it turned out that they caught up with me on the intermediate section to the Giau, but I actually lost a lot on the Giau. Eventually I won with a big difference and rode a good PR for myself."
Martina Trevisiol (IT) finished in 2nd place at over 8 minutes. A minute and a half later, Annalisa Prato (IT) comes in third. An honourable mention goes to CycloWorld reader Carla Mellema (NL), who said the following:
"In the ladies there was a very strong field at the start. A good classification would be difficult. Beforehand I had hoped for a PR, but due to corona my preparation was pretty messed up. I rode way below my level and am therefore very proud of my 9th place overall and 1st in category."
A total of 6878 riders reached the finish of one of the three distances. All results can be found here.