Swiss racers dominate European marathon championships

Näf, Süss, Looser take titles in Montebelluna

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) TeamResult
1Ralph Näf (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team4:59:05 
2Mirko Celestino (Ita) Semperlux Axvevo Haiobike0:02:40 
3Andreas Kugler (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:03:21 
4Jukka Vastaranta (Fin)0:05:04 
5Alban Lakata (Aut) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:05:22 
6Mike Felderer (Ita) Team Full-Dynamix0:06:06 
7Marc Trayter Alemany (Spa) Team Spain0:07:03 
8Thomas Dietsch (Fra) Team Bulls0:08:48 
9Lukas Buchli (Swi) BiXS iXS-Pro Team0:10:07 
10Pierluigi Bettelli (Ita) Scott RT ASD0:10:55 
11Massimo De Bertolis (Ita) Team Full-Dynamix0:10:56 
12Johan Pallhuber (Ita) Silmax Cannondale Racing0:10:57 
13Tim Böhme (Ger) Team Bulls0:11:03 
14Peters Bas (Ned) Cycling Federation0:12:11 
15Konny Looser (Swi) Team Stockli-Craft0:12:36 
16Hannes Genze (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team0:17:43 
17Marzio Deho (Ita) G.S. Cicli Olimpia0:17:44 
18Yader Zoli (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport0:18:21 
19Jan Jobanek (Cze) Czech Cycling Federation0:20:38 
20Stefan Sahm (Ger) Team Bulls0:21:03 
21Karl Platt (Ger) Team Bulls0:21:05 
22Matthias Leisling (Ger) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:21:07 
23Andrea Tiberi (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport0:21:45 
24Manuele Spadi (Ita) Focus Factory Racing MTB0:23:59 
25Oscar Lazzaroni (Ita) Semperlux Axvevo Haiobike0:25:37 
26Allan Oras (Est) Estonia National Team0:27:16 
27Lorenzo Martelli (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport0:28:32 
28Walter Costa (Ita) Scapin - Stihl - Torrevilla0:28:41 
29Ramses Bekkenk (Ned) Cycling Federation0:28:46 
30Bram Rood (Ned) Cycling Federation0:29:59 
31António Silva (Por) Selecção Portuguesa0:30:41 
32Ivan Fanelli (Ita) Giordana Cipollini Tuttos0:33:31 
33Lenart Noc (Slo) Slovenia0:33:35 
34Jair Botero Salazar Jhon (Col) Scapin - Stihl - Torrevilla0:34:17 
35Igor Baretto (Ita) Scott RT ASD0:37:29 
36Luca Ronchi (Ita) Lissone MTB ASD0:37:55 
37Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Czech Cycling Federation0:37:58 
38Nevio Cornaro (Ita) Semperlux Axvevo Haiobik0:37:59 
39Ernests Benhens-Bekens (Lat) RRS0:38:40 
40Mirko Pirazzoli (Ita) Promo Bike0:38:43 
41Ramon Bianchi (Ita) Scott RT ASD0:38:44 
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Esther Süss (Swi) Wheeler iXS Pro Team4:53:17 
2Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Team Multivan Merida0:01:07 
3Pia Sunsdedt (Fin) Rocky Mountain0:02:07 
4Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Felt Otztal X-Bionic0:06:13 
5Jane Nuessli (GBr) Credo-Bikes.com0:06:58 
6Laura Turpijn (Ned)0:11:15 
7Sally Bigham (GBr) Topeak Ergon Racing Team0:11:16 
8Nina Gässler (Ned) Rabo Giant Off-Road Team0:12:30 
9Roberta Gasparini (Ita) Pedali Di Marca Team0:12:56 
10Noergaard Kristine (Den) Rothaus-Cube MTB Team0:13:32 
11Evelyn Staffler (Ita) L'arcobaleno Carraro Team0:15:56 
Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Konny Looser (Swi) Team Stockli-Craft5:11:41 
2Matthias Leisling (Ger) Muskelkater Genesis Team0:08:31 
3Lorenzo Martelli (Ita) Surfing Shop Sport0:15:56 
4Luca Ronchi (Ita) Lissone MTB ASD0:25:19 
5Ernests Benhens-Bekens (Lat) RRS0:26:04 
6Nejc Cernilogar (Slo) Slovenia0:34:20 
7Giacomo Antonello (Ita) Bike Pro Action0:45:14 
8Davide Cecchin (Ita) Team Pamini ASD1:27:44 
9Rémi Bizzozzero (Fra) Team Pro Bike Shop1:29:06 
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