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07-07-2024 | Frank Jansen

Orlando en Simenc win turbulent Maratona

Giuseppe Orlando (IT) and Laura Simenc (SL) were the winners of an extraordinary Maratona dles Dolomites. The mother of all Italian gran fondos was partially ravaged by bad weather.

Stefano Stagni and winner Orlando in the Maratona dles Dolomites leading group
Photo: an old acquaintance in the leading group, former winner Stefano Stagni in white. On the right, winner Orlando. © RAI

Uncertain weather reports

Beforehand, there were many doubts about the weather. That rain would fall was clear, only no one knew what time. Some weather reports predicted rain only at the end of the afternoon or even in the evening, but none of that turned out to be true. In the morning, the situation still looked reasonable. Although the roads were wet and it was not too warm and very cloudy, it was still dry. But between roughly 11:00 and 13:00, the participants were treated to a mix of (ice) rain, cloudbursts, and other acts of nature. It made the Maratona a real ordeal for all participants.

Orlando lives up to favorites

In the men's race, top favorite Giuseppe Orlando (IT) took the win. The victory was all the more impressive because the Marmotte winner had to start from the back of the first section and thus had to chase. The same fate befell Austrian European champion Stefan Kirchmair. Due to a lot of hard work, he decided to opt for the medio fondo, which he won despite a fall on the descent of the Valporola. That was not the only crash, Vince Mattens (BE) and Frederic Glorieux (BE) also crashed due to wet roads.

Old acquaintance

In the beginning of the race, an old acquaintance showed up in the leading group: former winner Stefano Stagni. He won the Maratona two years ago, but was subsequently accused of motor doping. An accusation that, incidentally, was never proven. Like Kirchmair, Stagni decided to go for the medio fondo, in which he finished second.

Wet roads at the start of the Maratona dles Dolomites
Photo: wet roads at the start © Maratona dles Dolomites

On the Giau, the leading group was thinned to four men. In addition to Orlando, they were Manuele Senni (IT), David Mayo (ES) and Michele Negri (IT). Mayo took second place; former winner Tommaso Elettrico (IT) returned on the final climb to take third. Another favorite, Loïc Ruffaut (FR) finished fifth.

Simenc wins the ladies event

In the women's race, it was former world champion Laura Simenc (SL) who ran away with the flowers. Simenc had been close to a win there in recent years but never managed to win. An interesting'detail is that Simenc was supported the entire course by a male companion. This is not in principle forbidden in non-UCI gran fondos, although you can of course discuss the desirability.

Martha Maltha (NL) did not appear in the piece and squeezed the brakes after the Sella lap. Italy's Roberta Bussone was second in the gran fondo by more than three minutes, and Ils van der Moeren (BE) was third.

Prominent figures show themselves

As always, a number of prominent figures rode along. Fabio Aru and Miguel Indurain took thing easy, but Greg van Avermaet went full gas. From the second start box, the ex-Olympic champion ended up finishing 15th, a major achievement.

All results can be found here.

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