Four-time elite cross country world champion Julien Absalon (Orbea) will race the marathon world championships on Sunday, June 26 in Montebelluna, Treviso, Italy. Absalon, who also has two Olympic titles to his name, will be competing in his first-ever marathon Worlds.
Absalon is coming off a recent cross country World Cup win in Offenburg, Germany, a venue where he has won every (five of five - ed.) World Cup held thus far. With a few weeks in between, he is aiming to convert his cross country speed into marathon endurance.
With the marathon Worlds in late June, the 30-year-old Absalon will be skipping the two North American World Cups happening during the first two weeks of July.
It is not unusual for cross country racers to participate in more marathon racing as their careers mature and their natural endurance improves. Absalon will be racing another former cross country world champion in Italy: Switzerland's Christoph Sauser (Specialized).
The Montello area of Italy has previously hosted the Italian National Championships (2009) and the European Championships (2010). This will be its first marathon Worlds.
On the occasion of Worlds, the race course, designed by Pedali di Marca, will consist of two routes. The men will compete over 116.8km with 2,910m of elevation gain starting at 10:00 a.m. whil ethe women will cover 98.5km with 2,290m of climbing starting at 10:30 a.m.
In addition to the pro racers, 2,000 amateurs will also take part in the Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa marathon, the race dedicated to the Norwegian Olympic Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, and the Mundialito, an amateur teams classification, will award the team with the most starters coming from the most faraway country.
For more information on the race, visit www.gunnritamarathon.com.