Rain cancels Maremma Cup mountain bike kermesse

Slippery cobbles too risky in Grosseto

A mountain bike kermesse, part of the Maremma Cup, was cancelled on Thursday due to rain. Riders were to have competed on the cobbled city streets of Grosseto. Maremma Cup President Francesco Cerdini cited the danger of crashing due to the wet cobblestones as the reason for the cancellation. He said he did not want his riders to take the associated risks by racing.

Cerdini indicated that he was following the advice of technical managers of the Italian Cycling Federation and athlete representatives in making his decision.

The Grosseto event was the third of four scheduled kermesses as part of the Maremma Cup, which also includes two cross country races.  Andreas Kugler and Rudi van Houts won the first two kermesses earlier this week, while Nino Schurter won the opening cross country event.

One weekend of competition remains in the Maremma Cup. A festival, including another kermesse, is scheduled for downtown Massa Marittima on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, riders from 15 nations will start the opening round of the Internazionali d'Italia cross country series.

Miguel Martinez is among the riders expected to attend. The 2000 Olympic Games champion injured himself and sat out the first cross country race of the Maremma Cup last weekend, but he assured Thomas Frischknecht, part of the race organzation, that he would be there on Sunday at all costs.

Frenchman Julien Absalon, a second Olympic champion, will be accompanied by Orbea teammates Rubén Iñaki Lejarreta Ruzafa, and another Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens will race. Brentjens won the Olympic gold in the same year as women's winner Paolo Pezzo, who will be present, too, on Sunday.

The start list for Sunday's cross country reads like a who's who with others like World Champion Nino Schurter, Jose Antonio Hermida and Leonardo Hector Paez also ready to race.

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