The second UCI Marathon World Championships is being held in Lillehammer, Norway August 20 in conjunction with the world’s largest mountain-bike race; Birkebeinerrittet.
12,500 racers have signed up for 89-kilometer Birkebeinerrittet. There are almost 300 World Championship participants. The courses for the two races are essentially the same with the exception that the 116-kilometer point-to-point World Championships course includes a longer and more technical section off the start to Skramstadsætra, site of the course’s first major climbing prize, and an extra more technical course in the Lillehammer finishing area.
Gunn Rita Dahle (Norway), Paola Pezzo (Italy), Daniela Louis (Switzerland), Anna Enocsson (Sweden), Esther Suss (Switzerland) are the favorites in the Women’s World Championship class. In the men’s class there are a number of favorites – but race organizers expect Bart Brentjens (Netherlands), Thomas Diestch (France), Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland), Ralf Näuf (Switzerland) and a number of Italian riders (Massimo DeBertolis, Dario Acquaroli and Mauro Bettin) to be among the best. Massimo DeBertolis won the UCI World Marathon Series at Birkebeinerrittet. Roel Paulissen is on top of the 2005 UCI Mountain Bike Rankings pr. August 9th.
National Teams are limited to 7 riders in the Men and Women category. The Marathon outgoing World Champions and Continental Champions may take part in addition to the number of 7 starters. Technical assistance during the race will only be permitted in designated zones although riders from the same team may assist each other on the open course.
The race offers cash prizes from €2,400 for first to €125 for sixth in the men’s race and €2,400 to €700 first though third in the women’s race for the winners and a series of three climbing prizes worth €300 each.