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Swiss racers dominate European marathon championships

Cycling News

Näf, Süss, Looser take titles in Montebelluna

Esther Süss (Wheeler iXS Pro Team) celebrates her win in the European Marathon Championship

Esther Süss (Wheeler iXS Pro Team) celebrates her win in the European Marathon Championship

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Switzerland conquered the European Marathon Championships in Montebelluna, Italy by winning the elite men's, elite women's and under 23 titles. Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida), Ester Süss and Konny Looser are the newly crowned European Champions.

Most of Europe's top marathoners were on the line for the 10:00 am start to the European Championships. They were seen off by special guest Mr. Renato Di Rocco, the President of the Italian Cycling Federation.

After increased water levels in the Piave river, organizers modified the course because a necessary bridge for the originally planned course couldn't be built. An additional 15km was added to both races, giving the men a 129.5km race the women a 111.5km contest.

On the first climb of the Montello, the selection was made in the elite men's race with 30 riders getting away. Dutchman Peters Bas led the group of favorites.

At 25km into the race, Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon Racing Team), Urs Huber, Mirko Celestino (Semperlux Axvevo Haiobike), Jukka Vastaranta, Näf, Tony Longo and Alexey Medvedev led the race.

Three men then attacked the other leaders at 44km including two Italians Mike Felderer (Team Full-Dynamix) and Andrea Tiberi (Surfing Shop Sport). Näf went with them, and the three established a gap on a 10-man chase group.

With more than half the race done, Näf took his chance, attacked and dropped Felderer and Tiberi. He got a gap of half a minute.

By 106km into the race, Näf had two minutes on Felderer and 3:30 on the group with Lakata, Kugler, Tim Böhme, Marc Trayter, Celestino and Vastaranta. Tiberi got dropped and the others were far behind.

With 10 km to go, Näf, rode solo off the front and continued to increase his gap on Felderer. Celestino chased down Felderer and with just a few kilometers to go, he was still set on chasing the Swiss leader. But Näf had an unbeatable margin and crossed the finish line as the new European Champion in 4:59:05.

Mirko Celestino took second at 5:01:45, welcomed by the huge home crowds. Swiss Andreas Kugler, number seven in the international rankings, finished third in 5:02:26. Jukka Vastaranta and Lakata rounded out the top five with Italian Felderer eventually finishing sixth.

Süss, Dahle Flesjaa battle in women's race

Half an hour after the men's race, the women started, and Esther Süss (Wheeler iXS Pro Team) and Blaza Klemencic (Felt Otztal X-Bionic) soon assumed the initial lead.

Jane Nuessli(, Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), Süss and Klemencic and Sundstedt ultimately form the four-woman lead group.

Then Pia Sunsdedt (Rocky Mountain) bridged up to the leaders while Nuessli dropped back to a 10-second gap. Later, Klemencic was dropped leaving Dahle, Süss and Sundstedt to stay in front on their own with a three-minute advantage.

Dahle Flesjaa and Süss rode away from Sunsdedt and were left race each other for victory. With only a few kilometers to go, Süss attacked and got a gap of 30 seconds on Dahle Flesjaa. Süss crossed line in 04:53:17 and won her second European Champion's title.

A minute after, many-time World Champion Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa, who feels at home in Montebelluna, finished her race in 4:54:24 with a Norwegian flag in her hands. Pia Sundstedt was third in a time of 4:55:24.

The Swiss made it three for three with Konny Looser winning the Under 23 category. German Matthias Leisling and the Italian Lorenzo Martelli followed in second and third respectively.


Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Ralph Näf (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team 4:59:05  
2 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Semperlux Axvevo Haiobike 0:02:40  
3 Andreas Kugler (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team 0:03:21  
4 Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) 0:05:04  
5 Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:05:22  
6 Mike Felderer (Ita) Team Full-Dynamix 0:06:06  
7 Marc Trayter Alemany (Spa) Team Spain 0:07:03  
8 Thomas Dietsch (Fra) Team Bulls 0:08:48  
9 Lukas Buchli (Swi) BiXS iXS-Pro Team 0:10:07  
10 Pierluigi Bettelli (Ita) Scott RT ASD 0:10:55  
11 Massimo De Bertolis (Ita) Team Full-Dynamix 0:10:56  
12 Johan Pallhuber (Ita) Silmax Cannondale Racing 0:10:57  
13 Tim Böhme (Ger) Team Bulls 0:11:03  
14 Peters Bas (Ned) Cycling Federation 0:12:11  
15 Konny Looser (Swi) Team Stockli-Craft 0:12:36  
16 Hannes Genze (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 0:17:43  
17 Marzio Deho (Ita) G.S. Cicli Olimpia 0:17:44  
18 Yader Zoli (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport 0:18:21  
19 Jan Jobanek (Cze) Czech Cycling Federation 0:20:38  
20 Stefan Sahm (Ger) Team Bulls 0:21:03  
21 Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls 0:21:05  
22 Matthias Leisling (Ger) Muskelkater Genesis Team 0:21:07  
23 Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport 0:21:45  
24 Manuele Spadi (Ita) Focus Factory Racing MTB 0:23:59  
25 Oscar Lazzaroni (Ita) Semperlux Axvevo Haiobike 0:25:37  
26 Allan Oras (Est) Estonia National Team 0:27:16  
27 Lorenzo Martelli (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport 0:28:32  
28 Walter Costa (Ita) Scapin - Stihl - Torrevilla 0:28:41  
29 Ramses Bekkenk (Ned) Cycling Federation 0:28:46  
30 Bram Rood (Ned) Cycling Federation 0:29:59  
31 António Silva (Por) Selecção Portuguesa 0:30:41  
32 Ivan Fanelli (Ita) Giordana Cipollini Tuttos 0:33:31  
33 Lenart Noc (Slo) Slovenia 0:33:35  
34 Jair Botero Salazar Jhon (Col) Scapin - Stihl - Torrevilla 0:34:17  
35 Igor Baretto (Ita) Scott RT ASD 0:37:29  
36 Luca Ronchi (Ita) Lissone MTB ASD 0:37:55  
37 Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Czech Cycling Federation 0:37:58  
38 Nevio Cornaro (Ita) Semperlux Axvevo Haiobik 0:37:59  
39 Ernests Benhens-Bekens (Lat) RRS 0:38:40  
40 Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita) Promo Bike 0:38:43  
41 Ramon Bianchi (Ita) Scott RT ASD 0:38:44  
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Esther Süss (Swi) Wheeler iXS Pro Team 4:53:17  
2 Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Team Multivan Merida 0:01:07  
3 Pia Sunsdedt (Fin) Rocky Mountain 0:02:07  
4 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Felt Otztal X-Bionic 0:06:13  
5 Jane Nuessli (GBr) 0:06:58  
6 Laura Turpijn (Ned) 0:11:15  
7 Sally Bigham (GBr) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 0:11:16  
8 Nina Gässler (Ned) Rabo Giant Off-Road Team 0:12:30  
9 Roberta Gasparini (Ita) Pedali Di Marca Team 0:12:56  
10 Noergaard Kristine (Den) Rothaus-Cube MTB Team 0:13:32  
11 Evelyn Staffler (Ita) L'arcobaleno Carraro Team 0:15:56  
Under 23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Konny Looser (Swi) Team Stockli-Craft 5:11:41  
2 Matthias Leisling (Ger) Muskelkater Genesis Team 0:08:31  
3 Lorenzo Martelli (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport 0:15:56  
4 Luca Ronchi (Ita) Lissone MTB ASD 0:25:19  
5 Ernests Benhens-Bekens (Lat) RRS 0:26:04  
6 Nejc Cernilogar (Slo) Slovenia 0:34:20  
7 Giacomo Antonello (Ita) Bike Pro Action 0:45:14  
8 Davide Cecchin (Ita) Team Pamini ASD 1:27:44  
9 Rémi Bizzozzero (Fra) Team Pro Bike Shop 1:29:06