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Israel cup - 2
Maalaot - Monfort Lake, Israel, March 22, 2008
2007 Results Results
Ronen and Ishai win first-ever Maalaot - Monfort Lake
The first ever Maalot-Monfort International cross country race was held thanks to a partnership between Maalot-Tarshicha, Israel For Galilee Cycles Cycling Club and its racing team Triple G in conjunction with the municipality of Maalot-Tarshicha. The race was part of the first-ever racing series in Israel.
An early spring heat wave brought temperatures in the low 30s (degrees C or upper 80s degrees F) as 151 riders tackled the 5.5 kilometer (3.4 mile) circuit that began at the shore of Montfort Lake and traced the city outskirts. The race was the final of the three race international series in Israel.
Two international elite riders traveled from Europe to participate in the race - Danish women's champion Sandra Dolcerocca and Sebastian Szraucner from RSG Haldern in Germany.
Dolcerocca surprised every one by racing a purple handmade bike from Israel. It was a perfect addition to Purim's festivities taking place on the same day. "I have a friend in Israel that builds frames and we built this prototype out of steel in order to test it for the coming season," said Dolcerocca.
Dolcerocca had her hands full with the Israeli champion Inbar Ronen. The two have been trading blows at international events all year. Ronen started aggressively with Dolcerocca fighting back in the closing laps but it wasn't enough as Ronen kept her advantage for the win. "I had the home ground to my advantage but I was determined to win the race" said Ronen at the end of the race.
The deputy municipal manager of Maalot-Tarshicha, Silas Labilia, handed out the prizes and Champaign to the women's podium and said, "We are interested in starting a long tradition. This is just the beginning, The city of Maalot-Tarshicha hosts many international events and we will prove to the cycling community in Israel and abroad that we have a lot to offer."
Among the elite men was Szraucner who explained his appearance so far from home. "I hosted Rotem Ishai, the Israeli champion, last year and decided to come and prepare for the coming season in Europe here in Israel," said Szraucner.
Szraucner and Ishai were off so fast that they finished the first lap in just over 16 minutes, almost two minutes faster than average times recorded at training. Ahead of them was still six more laps and in the heat of mid-day it was obvious that the pace would drop. At the end of the second lap Ishai dropped Szraucner and he led all the way to the finish.
The fight for places three through seven was close as Yoav Maor, a local rider from Triple G, was fighting for good position.
"I have a hard time starting but I like the hard conditions today on the course and with the weather," said Maor.
He climbed to fifth place but with two laps remaining, he had a mechanical and lost valuable time repairing his bicycle. Maor finished the race in seventh place. "It's part of our sport but I proved what I can do today," said Maor. His effort will most likely earn him a place on the National team heading to Switzerland this week, an honor for For Galilee Cycles and Triple G.
Report courtesy of John Eustice
Elite women 1 Inbar Ronen (Isr) 2 Sandra Dolcerocca (Den) Elite men 1 Rotem Ishai (Isr) 2 Sebastian Szraucner (Ger)