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Photo ©: Bettini

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Italian National Series #3 - NE

Barzano, Lecco, April 26, 2003


Absalon absolutely superb

By Team Motorex-Bianchi

Team Motorex-Bianchi lived up to expectations by starting off the favourite and ending as race winner in the third round of the Italian MTB International Championship in Lecco, Italy. Held on a fast track, the course consisted of an opening lap of 5km followed by a 7.5km loop repeated six times for a total of 50km.

The victory of Motorex-Bianchi, coached by Felice Gimondi and led by former professional Massimo Ghirotto, was a "gift" from French World Champion Julien Absalon. Absalon played a brilliant offensive race in the final part of the race, together with his friends and teammates, Thomas Dietsch and José Antonio Hermida. Hermida made a select group possible by attacking repeatedly during the second last lap, but lost contact with the lead trio as a consequence of his effort, the group comprised of Julien Absalon, Zoli and Belgian champion Roel Paulissen.

In a long and exciting final sprint, Frenchman Absalon started off in the lead and did not have any difficulty beating Zoli and the Belgian Paulissen, who both finished 4.36 seconds behind. Motorex-Bianchi also claimed fourth and fifth place with Thomas Dietsch and José Antonio Hermida. Unfortunately, the performance of promising Swedish rider Fredrik Kessiakof was not as hoped; Kessiakof was forced to withdraw from the race while in the lead group after a small branch worked its way into his rear derailleur, causing it to break.

While Absalon was winning the open competition, consolidating his first place in the national rankings prior to the fourth and final round in Lugagnano Val ‘Arda (Piacenza) on June 7, his young teammate, Christian Cominelli, won the beginners (15-16 year olds) category, 45 seconds ahead of Johannes Schweiggl and Gunther Huber.

On the other hand, promising junior Nicoletta Bresciani, cut short her recent string of victories, finishing in fifth place in the juniors category in a race dominated by Eva Lechner. Nicoletta's older sister finished in eighteenth place in the Elite women's competition, which was once again won by the Italian champion Annabella Stropparo.


1 Julien Absalon (Motorex-Bianchi)
2 Yader Zoli (Ita) KTM International Team 
3 Roel Paulissen (Bel)