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High hopes for defending marathon worlds champions Lakata and Süss

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Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) racing downhill

Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) racing downhill (Image credit: Marius Maasewerd)
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Mixed category race leader Esther Suss takes on a river crossing

Mixed category race leader Esther Suss takes on a river crossing (Image credit: Karen Schermbrucker/SPORTZPICS)

Alban Lakata and Ester Süss will try to defend their marathon World Championship titles this Sunday, June 26 in Montebelluna, Italy, just 50km from Venice and not far from Lake Garda. They will race the Gunn-Rita marathon which is doubling as the 2011 UCI Marathon World Championships.

"For the moment I just feel great! The highlight of the season is coming closer and my shape improves each day," said Lakata, who will represent Austria.

"Unfortunately the final rehearsal at the European Championships didn't worked out as planned. I had some technical problems and with not the best legs I managed to fight back to eighth position. Anyways, I think my form was basically good even though. My goal for these Worlds is to achieve the podium again. The course fits me and of course so does the distance."

The men will race 115.7km.

In 2010, the Gunn-Rita marathon hosted the European championships, which both Lakata and Süss contested.

"Last year's European Championships were well organized, although, if you're not speaking any Italian like me, it can sometimes be a bit hard," said Süss, who is from Switzerland. "I am looking forward to racing in Montebelluna. It will be a hard and demanding race, since we (the women) never had the chance to race against each other until now, so it's difficult to evaluate your opponents.

"I am very curious to see who'll be on the start line on Sunday and how the race will unfold. I'll give my best. I am feeling good right know, always have many things to do, but that's ok. I hope to defend my title, but for sure - this won't be easy!"

The women will race 98.3km.

Süss and Lakata will be among more than 2,200 racers competing over the weekend. Racers from 35 countries have signed up for amateur and pro races.

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Read the marathon Worlds preview.