Tim Maloney, European Editor
12 years after her last Italian cross country mountain bike title, Paola Pezzo rode to her third career maglia tricolore in Sarentino, just north of Bolzano. Riding for U.C. Saccarelli, her victory was the 39th career win for La Pezzo. The 35 year-old mountain biker, who will be 36 on August 1st, must have the 2008 Olympics in Beijing on her mind already. It could be Pezzo's fourth participation in the Olympics should she be selected for the squadra azzura. Local lass Eva Lechner (Colnago Arreghini) was the winner in the Italian Women's U23 Cross Country title. Marco Bui took the Italian Men's Elite Cross Country title in Sarentino for Full Dynamix, beating runner-up Martino Fruet by 1'08" to pick up the title.
Across the Alps in Bourg-d'Oisans, France, Julien Absalon has won the French Elite Cross Country championships for the fourth straight year. The 25 year old Bianchi-Agos rider, who was Olympic and World MTB champ last year cruised home 0'40 ahead of Lapierre's Jean-Christophe Peraud. Scott-Les Deux Alpes's riders François Bailly Maître and Séverine Hansen respectively took the U23 and Elite Women's Championships in Bourg-d'Oisans.