Italy secured the victory in the test team relay held ahead of the 2022 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships on Friday in Fayetteville. The Italian team took the win ahead of Team USA-A and Belgium.
"It a good feeling and emotional to win, with my teammates, for the first time of this event. We are all very happy as a nation," said Davide Toneotii, who crossed the line first to take the win for Italy.
"Today, I was feeling good. The track was very hard and I'm very happy to win the test event," reiterated Italian teammate Silvia Persico.
On the eve of the test team relay, the UCI altered its participation rules due to fewer athletes available to participate due to the covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, rather than starting with six riders and racing six laps, each nation entered a team of four riders set to race four laps. It also offered nations a chance to enter two teams of four riders.
The participating teams included Belgium, Canada – A, Canada – B, Czech Republic, Italy, USA – A and USA – B.
Daan Soete (Belgium) took the early lead for the Belgian team on the opening lap. Team USA, fielding two squads, had Eric Brunner (Team USA-A) and Gage Hecht (Team USA-B) just behind, followed Soete with Italy's Samuele Leone and two from Canada; Tyler Orschel and Michael van den Ham, and then Czech Republic's Matyas Fiala futher back.
Soete handed the race lead over to Belgian teammate Kiona Crabbe, but Katie Clouse (Team USA-A), Silvia Persico (Italy), followed close behind. Michael Boros (Czech Republic), had an untimely mechanical and was forced off his bike momentarily. Maddie Monroe (Team USA-B) brought some ground back on the Belgian leader inside the second lap.
Persico moved to the front running up the steps on lap 2 but was overtaken by Boros (Czech Republic), who had gone from last to first, in the final section of lap 2 before passing-off to his teammate Kristyna Zemanova to start lap 3.
Lucia Bramati (Italy) was next to start lap 3 followed by Clara Honsinger (Team USA-A) and Alica Franck (Belgium).
Smooth technical skills and speed, meant that Zemanova (Czech Republic) pushed her lead out by 10 seconds ahead of Bramati (Italy) and another 10 seconds to Honsinger (Team USA-A). The American stormed ahead of Bramati in the closing section of the circuit bringing the Team USA-A into second place on course, only a slim margin behind the Czech Republic.
On the fourth and final lap, Zemanova (Czech Republic) handed the race lead to her teammate Katerina Nash but she was closely followed by Scott Funston (Team USA-A) and Davide Toneatti (Italy) and then further back Belgium's Niels Vandeputte.
Funston (Team USA-A) and Toneatti (Italy) fought for the race lead throughout nearly the entire last lap, as Nash hung on just seconds behind the two leaders, but then lost ground to the other rival nations.
Funston pushed his speeds over the punchy climbs but Toneatti remained tight to his back wheel until he found an opportunity to make a pass halfway through the final lap. Belgium's Vandeputte lost ground on each pedal stroke as the race ahead for the victory heated up between the two leaders.
Toneati opened a gap on Funston that bloomed out to five seconds as he punched over the hills and through the corners, slowly extending his lead over Funston in the closing sections of the race and crossing the line with the victory.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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