7. Mai 2015
THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS COUNTDOWN STARTS IN ROME
With today’s presentation at CONI headquartes the countdown to the big race on 27th June truly begins. The race will witness 4,015 bikers compete over the world’s toughest mountain bike route. The HERO 2015 will see the UCI World Championship titles assigned over the marathon distance. Bikers from 50 countries will take part and the two routes will be over 87 and 60 kilometres with both start and finish in Selva Val Gardena.
And more besides for after the race conclusion the tourism season of mountain biking begins, it seen as being both a tourism package and a sustainable environmental friendly activity in the Dolomite valleys around the Sella Group.
Today’s press conference marked the countdown to the sixth edition of the Suedtirol Sellaronda HERO, the world’s toughest mountain bike race and which this year will assign the marathon world titles. On Saturday 27 June the HERO has the honour of hosting the UCI Marathon World Championships and there is no better setting for such than the magnificence of the Sella Group.
The first man to pass the 87 kilometre finshing line and the first woman to cross the 60 kilometre line will have the honour of wearing the rainbow jersey presented by the UCI, it the World Cycling Federation. There will be 4015 bikes from 50 countries, and if a handful of them only may have the chance to win the title the remaining 4000 will have the chance to prove themselves as ‘heroes’, by finishing what is considered to be the world’s toughest mountain bike race.
With an elevation difference of 4700 metres in the 87 kilometre route (and of 3400 metres in the 60 kilometre route) the Suedtirol Sellaronda HERO is something more than a long distance mountain bike race.: «It is a biker’s dream to become a ‘hero’; and for many it is a project which starts a year in advance of the race itself and preparation becomes a part of daily life – so says Peter Runggaldier , an ex ski champion and now the marathon race director – and to boast of the title of HERO has become more and more the goal of many bike enthusiasts». These enthusiasts often have to resign themselves to be in a waiting list so as to participate for the initial number of race registrations made available is always sold out in just a few hours. Many many wish to take part in the Suedtirol Sellaronda HERO.
The race taking place on Saturday 27 June in Selva Gardena will be the third World Championship Marathon which Italy has hosted, after those of 2008 in Villabassa, in the province of Bolzano, and the one held in Montebelluna (Treviso) in 2011.
Great champions to line up.
The cream of the world’s long ditance mountain bike elite will be at the starting line of the HERO with just one thing in mind: to win the 2015 world title.
One name which stands out is Jaroslav Kulhavy, Olympic champion in London in 2012 and who has already had some great results in Italy, including the World Championship Marathon event in Montebelluna in 2011. One who might battle it out with the Czech rider is the Swiss biker Christoph Sauser who has two world titles to his name (cross-country in 2008 and marathon in 2007) and an Olympic bronze in Sydney in 2000. Also a contender will be Leonardo Paez, the Colombian rider having won the last three HERO races and who makes no sectret of his intention to win the 2015 race as well.
As for the ladies all eyes are pointed on Norwegian Gunn-Rita Dahle, she having Olymic gold from Athens in 2004 and as many as 8 world titles, split beteen cross country and marathon. Another to watch out for is another Olympic champion, German Sabine Spitz, she winning gold in Peking in 2008. These two Olympians will have to fend off the challenge of Danish biker Annika Langvad, she the reigning World Champion, and the British rider Sally Bigham, she having won the HERO in 2013.
CONI supporting the HERO.
It was Giovanni Malagò who did the honours at CONI headquarters in Rome today: «It is a race which fills me with joy and makes me more than happy as it is an area I know very well. As with many other competitions held in South Tyrol the HERO enjoys a strong organisational network and I too am very happy to support it. The mountain bike is one of the cycling disciplines which enriches the Olympic movement and we are naturally very close to the Federation in this. As regards the particular discipline South Tyrol is something of a pilot region able to develop investments of a qualitative type in sport, and the HERO is certainly a testimony to such». Was how the President of CONI underlined the importance of this event».
The HERO: a truly eco-sustianable event.
The HERO takes place in the Dolomites and enyoys and a truly remarkable setting, it having become a UNESCO World Heritage in 2009, and the race organisers are keen to take all measures to protect the environment and to keep its beauty intact for future generations. «Apart from enjoying World Championship status this year our event is proud of an important recognition, in that it is about to be accepted as one of the Green Events of South Tyrol – informs Genni Tschurtschenthaler, Managing Director of the HERO – events which are organised thinking of environmental considerations, and we are more than happy to commit to reducing as much as possible the impact on the surrounding environment by adopting specific ecological measures.»
Another measure to be utilised by the Organising Committee and in keeping with the ‘green’ approach of the HERO 2015 is to appeal to the sense of civic pride of participants: near to the feed areas there will be ample rubbish deposit containers, and it is asked that the bikers keep all that they normally need to dispose of (creams, cartons, etc etc) until they reach the feed area and can get rid of all in the required manner. To support this beahviour it is also included as a race regulation that whoever does not respect such shall be disqualified.
The support of the Federation.
Alongside Giovanni Malagò also the Italian Cycling Federation, represented by its President Renato Di Rocco, who is happy to confirm the support of the FCI for the event: «We are happy to have supported the HERO throughout its growth and we have no hesitation in saying that it represents the best ‘global’ project ever to have been presented to the Federation. In particular we much appreciate the capacity demonstrated to unite and articulate the race itself with a tourism offer, and in addition to have ignited a very competitive attitude to the sport thoughout its entire home region. The Italian Federation is proud to support the Hero».
MTB cas a tourism product.
From the birth of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO in 2010 the Dolomites peaks have become ever more a natural habitat for mountain bike lovers, this thanks principally to the development of paths by the public administration and other authorities responsible for management of the territory in question. This coming summer even more bikers will be able to enjoy the Dolomites, going off-road so as to explore all corners of this stupendous mountain landscape in great comfort and safety.
In this regard the four municipalities around the Sella Group (Val di Fassa, Val Gardena together with Alpe di Siusi, Alta Badia, and Arabba) have decided to come together and invest in the “mountain bike” product, creating new routes, and seeking as far as possible to distinguish cycling paths from trekking and walking paths. The aim is to offer to bikers a richer and more extensive choice of itinerary and to this end there is the Sellaronda MTB Tour, it enabling one and all to circumnavigate the four Dolomites passes with the asssitance of the uphill lift facilities.
When competitive sport meets tourism.
It is in this context that on Sunday 28 June that at Canaze in Val di Fassai on 28 June that the Italian Enduro FCI Championship 2015 will be held, it a ‘gravity’ competition that envisages timed descents of the four passes in the Sellaronda circuit in both Enduro and Freesride disciplines, some downhills already known and others in a continuing phase of development. Connections between the venues is by cablecar or chairlift. All in all the offer is a very integrated product/service in the tourism product range.
Representing the South Tyol branch of the national federation Antonio Lazzarotto declared: «The Hero is an important event in our area as it represents a stimulus for competitive activity and the development of such, and this from very young age groups up. The organisational standard and the image which the event enjoys is a matter of pride for our Federation».
A real mountain bike happening.
The HERO Bike Festival programme is also confirmed and for 9 consecutive days from 20 to 28 June 2015, the Dolomites will be the real heart of the universe as far is mountain biking is concerned. To add to the atmosphere there wll be round tables, shows, exhibitions, music concerts and many side events to do with the world of mountain biking. A world to discover!
For further information please visit: www.sellarondahero.bike