Italy prepares for 2011 marathon Worlds

The The 2011 UCI Marathon Mountain Bike World Championships will take place on Sunday, June 26 in Montebelluna, a small city in the Italian province of Treviso, about 55km from Venice. It will be the second time Italy has hosted the marathon Worlds; the last time was in Villabassa in 2008.

The annual, popular Gunn-Rita Marathon is doubling as the marathon world championship in 2011 and therefore will be open to both amateur and elite racers.

In keeping with the UCI's Worlds protocol, the elite racers will have to be selected to compete by their national federations. The elite men will race a 116.8km course with 2,910m of climbing while the elite women will race 98.5km with 2,290m of climbing.

Amateur racers will be able to choose between competing on the "marathon" course, which is 77.1km long and features 1,980m of climbing and the "classic" course, which is 51.7km long with 1,380m of climbing.

All four courses will explore the Montello hills.

Other side-events are being planned. On Friday evening, June 24, an urban cross and a street bike competition will be held in the city of Montebelluna while a kids' race and mountain bike school will feature on Saturday, June 25.

Registration for the amateur events is already open, with participants signed up from Norway, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Australia. In 2010, Alban Lakata (Austria) won the world title ahead of Mirko Celestino (Italy) and Burry Stander (South Africa).  Esther Süss (Switzerland) earned the women's rainbow jersey ahead of Sabine Spitz (Germany) and Annika Langvad (Denmark).

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