The second round the of the 2019 Superenduro series got underway in that most historic of Italian locations, Punta Ala - the site of the very first Enduro World Series (EWS) back in 2013.
The Punta Ala race was given EWS Qualifier status after round one, in Pietra Ligure, had to be abandoned after snow forced the cancellation of the race.
Punta Ala offered riders stunning views all the way to the sea
With more than 400 riders at the start (350 was the initial participation limit, but it was brought up to 400 due to the great demand for entries), many new names, a solid group of fierce young competitors, it was really hard to make predictions about a likely winner.
But it was two experienced riders who managed to succeed: Laura Rossin and Nicola Casade - the reigning Superenduro Champions.
Laura Rossin on her way to the win
In the open women's race, Rossin claimed the perfect race, winning every stage and finishing almost one minute ahead of second-placed Irene Savelli who defended with determination her spot on the podium. The third spot required some battling instead: fierce competitor Jessica Bormolini pursued Francesca Bonanni during the first four stages until she managed to tear from her the last spot on the podium by only six seconds, making good use of the most technical stage Roch-Oh!
Reigning champion Nicola Casadei is no stranger to the Superenduro podium
In the Men Competitive category, the race was been far more competitive, with the top four positions all within 40 seconds. Casadei, winning three out of five stages, was undoubtedly the most consistent, with a performance that kept improving as the race course was becoming increasingly technical. Fast rider Marcello Pesenti was second at 15 seconds, while Matteo Berta made it into third thanks to his amazing performance on PS5 Rock-Oh!, enough to grab the position from Erwin Ronzon's hands.
In the Amateur categories, last year's names proved themselves again: Louise Paulin is first in the women and Giacomo Dodino leads the men's field, followed by Marco Orsenigo, and Davide Carissimi.
In the Youth, enjoying the first proper Superenduro experience, with individual start from the top of the opening stage and from all Special Stage start lines, Federico Ippolito was the fasted by a whisker. Just one second split him and second-placed Alessandro Crolla, Elia Castelli was third while in the women's youth category Sophie Riva was the winner.
Mattia Folchi,took the top step of the ebike category, with three Stage victories and a 24-second gap over his teammate and 2018 title holder Alessandro Bonarotti. Marcello Ghidini was third.
400 riders turned out to race in Punta Ala, Italy
Nicola Casadei said: “During the winter I used to come here quite often, in Punta Ala, and I think it's fantastic. Today I felt good on my bike, straight from the start. In PS1 I struggled a lot, but it was normal. Then in PS2 I tried to push a little harder but I crashed immediately. In that moment, I understood how to manage the race and make use of my experience; I tried to be quick without pushing too hard and that's why my race has been fairly consistent.”
Laura Rossin added: “Yesterday, in open practice, I had pretty much simulated the actual race and today I was able to manage it, keeping consistent in all Special Stages. I reckon this is what led me to victory. I don't really know what to expect from the remaining two rounds of Superenduro. They're going to be quite a surprise, as it isn't possible to practice before the actual race. I am training well and I am maturing in terms of technical skills. I am positive about the future.”