gravel monsterrato cinelli race

My first UCI race

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What happens when two Milanese messengers pin on a race number for the first time at Italy’s first ever UCI-sanctioned gravel race, Monsterrato?

 

 

Several weeks ago two young Milanese messengers and friends Chloe Mazza and Pietro De Giacomo, came and visited at our HQ in Caleppio, outskirts of Milan.

Both Chloe and Pietro are fast, both ride cargo bikes for work, both are extremely active in local messenger-organized races around Milan and both ride Cinelli track bikes when not on their work bikes: Pietro an ultra-rare Cinelli x MASH CX ss that he found on subito.it last year for less than €700 (!), Chloe a 2019 Vigorelli Steel “black night” edition (her first ever “real” bike).

 

 

 

 

 

Together we discussed the possibility of them pinning on a number at Italy’s first ever UCI-sanctioned gravel race, Monsterrato and trying to achieve a “fairytale” qualification for the Gravel World Championships.

Both were more than up for the challenge.

We signed them to Circolo Ciclistico Cinelli-Iuter our “informal” team, open to anybody with same attitude as us, we gave them a team jersey, gear and bikes: Made in Italy steel Nemo Gravel for Pietro, carbon fiber Zydeco King for Chloe.

With only a few days of proper riding to get used to their new equipment Pietro and Chloe set off to the race with our team “manager” Cappe and Charlie, his vintage T3 Volkswagen van.

Of the race – their first ever “serious” race – both said much the same thing: the atmosphere was very different, the adrenaline of the mass start together with elite athletes is a kick unique to the sport of cycling but the speed, despite an enormous amount of kilometres in their legs this season, was just too much and very soon the dream of qualifying for the world championships evaporated and both were left to enjoy a different kind of challenge, with themselves and against a particularly technical course.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the race we asked Chloe what the biggest difference between this race and the Italian Cycle Messenger Championship less than a month ago and we found the answer pretty illuminating:

“The biggest difference is that the point of a messenger championship is to race but also to meet people and to learn new skills and techniques for messenger cycling, like how to strap objects to your cargo or discover strange, exotic, custom made components…”

 

Would they race another UCI race? Maybe yes, maybe not, it was a good experience, it was fun, it was intense, it was crazy!

The first few kilometres in the pack, covered in dust with only a few metres of visibility were unforgettable but when cycling becomes racing it also loses a lot of the values that they find so interesting…

 

 

 

 

Follow our instagram profile @cinelli_official for more adventures!

And if you are curious, check out the King Zydeco and the Nemo Gravel that Chloe and Pietro used for the race!

Photos: Luca Panegatti

Road to Badlands 2022

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Riders from all over the world are preparing for Badlands, one of the most famous long distance unsupported races in the Spanish desert.
We put together a team of four riders to compete, explore or just take a “sadistic holiday” in this already mythical race.
Scroll down to get to know our friends Taylor Phinney, Luisa Werner, Sophie Jail and Davide Belfiore.

 

TAYLOR PHINNEY

 

 

Since retiring as a professional cyclist in 2019 Taylor Phinney, laid-back and soft-spoken, has combined the experience of his ten very intense and varied years as a pro with his creativity and broader interest in culture to develop what we think are some of the most interesting ideas in the “industry”.

 

Hi Taylor!

Hi Lodovico!

So first question is really can you just please tell us about how the idea came about for geometry and build of the custom Cinelli Nemo Gravel we just sent out to you?

There are a couple of directions I could take answering this question…

Tell us both!

Well firstly over the last 5-6 years I have started seeing the bicycle as an explorative tool, whilst when I started riding it was a tool for success and for winning. For me the relationship with the bike as a piece of equipment now is: where can it take me AND where can I take it. I like the concept of underbiking i.e. taking a bike that is not technically really up to the terrain you’re riding on. I like to find a balance between how far I can push the bike, how deep into some weird trail I can go before either the bike explodes or I mentally explode.

Ok…

And secondly, from a technical point of view I believe that gravel cycling as we know it today is essentially a continuation of late 80s early 90s mountain bikes. Those bikes were also totally rigid and had a similar tyre profile. But one thing I think is missing or wrong about the current gravel market is that for whatever reason it seems that people just want to make road bikes with big tyres. That’s fine if you want to ride a road bike with big tyres… but when I think of doing a really long adventure or mixed terrain ride I want to be comfortable and a lot of that comfort stems from my upper body position, how straight is my back, how open are my shoulders… For open terrain and steep trails but even asphalt you need to be able to be dynamic, and I find that the strictly road position, very bent over and very far over the front wheel is very unhealthy for my back – with which I have a lot of problems because I’m a giant! – but also from a safety point of view. The further back you are, the easier it is to save the bike if you lose the front wheel. So to cut a long story short the geometry I worked on with the Cinelli technical office was less of a performance fit than your standard model and something closer to an 80s-90s MTB geometry. This is the second bike I’ve tried to develop this idea on and the first custom bike I’ve ever had in entire cycling career despite many promises from previous sponsors! All I ever wanted my whole pro career was a custom frame. It’s only taken about 3 years of not being a pro to have it…

And how does it ride?

Not perfect, but pretty close! [Laughs] I’ve been working on different setups these last few weeks. I’ve ridden it as a mullet bike, with 700c wheel at the front at 650b at the back, I’ve tried a few different handlebars…

Are you ready for Badlands?

To be honest riding Badlands was Davide’s [Cinelli’s trade marketing manager – ED] idea and I just said yeah sure. Only last week I looked at some videos and though oh f**k what have I got myself into… I’m going to take it like a kind of sadistic vacation: 4 or 5 days with no zoom calls no business to attend to. All you have to do is ride your bike and take care of your contact points. It’s total simplicity: stay alive and stay happy.

Haha sounds like a great holiday! One more question: I saw the poster you put out for your social ride with Cinelli this weekend (28/08) in Girona and I noticed that the most prominent piece of information on it (and on other posters you have made in the past for rides) was “100% ego-less ride”. When I read that myself personally as well as others in the office that saw it were really excited, to us it felt like exactly the kind of message we’d like about a ride we’d go on. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to use this description of your rides?

I think it’s important to let people know up front when they’re coming to any kind of group ride what the vibe is going to be. The reason I write it is because there’s something about men mounting their bicycle and being around other men that makes them feel like they need prove themselves. There can often be this kind of energy where people become immediately competitive because they assume others there are being competitive with them. And it’s that kind of energy that really pushed me away from the road cycling environment. To me it felt like people weren’t connecting with each other but isolating themselves. That’s not the purpose of the bike for me. So I try to make it really clear from the start that this competitive mentality isn’t really welcome and that the people who come to the ride won’t be subject to that.

 

 

LUISA WERNER

 

 

After a brief sojourn as a semi-professional cyclist and, before that, a budding career as an elite rower, last year Luisa Werner began exploring a new kind of cycling: endurance races. This very quickly led to competitive success with victories at prestigious races such as the Italy Divide and Three Peaks. But competition is only a very small part of Luisa Werner’s interest in cycling!

 

Hi Luisa!

Hi Lodovico!

So, I wondered if you could begin by telling us how you first got involved in cycling?

Yes sure! So when I was younger I was a competitive rower, representing Germany at a U23 level. I started riding a road bike, like a lot of rowers and other athletes as a way of helping to build endurance. But soon enough the bike became about going out on long day rides, doing bikepacking trips using Airbnb in its early days… This eventually led to me stopping my rowing career and signing with a small semi-professional German cycling team.

How was your experience as a professional cyclist?

To be honest whilst I loved being with the girls and meeting other athletes I never felt comfortable, was often afraid of crashing and pretty quickly discovered that the peloton was not the side of cycling I’m interested in exploring. I rode for the team for just 1.5 years.

And after this you discovered endurance/bikepacking races?

About two years ago I discovered these kinds of races, yes and in September 2021 I rode my first one.

What attracted you about this format of cycling compared to your experiences as a professional?

Basically at an endurance race nobody goes home a loser. It’s not about position and ranking but adventure and the journey. People have a different spirit. You don’t feel competitiveness in the atmosphere, you feel people doing it for themselves and for the memories that will be created.

You’ve been very successful though, from a competitive point of view, from the very start in these races. What is your attitude towards winning and your objectives for Badlands?

The first priority for me is always to race against myself, not the others, because if do my best that will produce the best ranking. But like I said for me it’s not just a race but an opportunity to talk to the riders around me and to be pushed by them to try to do new things. In fact it’s the atmosphere created by the other riders that put me in the spirit of going fast.

Ok! Last question: you are of course going to be riding the Cinelli Zydeco King gravel bike for the race but are there any other special technical details that you have prepared for the race and that you are excited about using?

Well I am very excited about my mattress (laughs), the Thermarest Neoair X-Lite which I have used in every race over the last two years… And also a new 3 liter bladder bag made by Decathlon that can be placed under my aero-bar extensions to allow me to carry more water…

 

 

SOPHIE JAIL

 

 

Sophie Jail is a nomadic French adventurer with a passion for bikepacking and restoring vintage cars and mopeds. After a long “informal” history with bikes, as a commuter and occasional summer tourer, two years ago she bought her first serious bicycle and began properly bikepacking across the European summer.

 

Hi Sophie!

Hi Lodovico!

So, last time we spoke you told me that only last year you rode your first endurance race? How did this come about?

Well basically I had been suffering from some health problems and had been also using long-distance bikepacking as rehabilitation and “reappropriation” of my body. Signing up for an endurance race was a logical next step.

And how did it go?

I had studied the course before and prepared myself to try to finish it in about six days. I ended up finishing it in three days and a few hours. I was shocked to discover I could do this! To me it was amazing to discover what I was capable of, how the body could find ways to keep going, to handle pain, to use adrenaline. I was so proud and happy to achieve this. I didn’t care if I was the first one or last one over the line. I had discovered what I wanted to discover in a race against my body.

Had you any previous experience in competitive cycling?

No. In fact I have no previous experience in any kind of competitive sport. I never thought I was good at anything before this!

And how did you end up signing up to ride Badlands?

I actually decided during a ride, the Women’s Komoot Torino-Nice Rally, a great women’s only bikepacking ride. On one climb I started riding together with another girl, Sara, and we were really racing, going up fast, and at the top of the climb we said to each other we have to go do a race together and to us, because we both love gravel, Badlands seemed like the perfect race. At the time I actually had only ever done one endurance race so I was pretty scared by the idea. But now I have some more experience and I’m not scared!

What is your objective for Badlands?

To go as fast as I can!

So for you it’s a competition?

It’s not a competition against others, just an opportunity to do my best.

Last question: you have chosen to ride the carbon fiber Cinelli Zydeco King frame for the race… could you tell me a little bit about how you chose your exact setup for the bike?

Well, I’m a bit of a gearhead so I am very interested in lightweight solutions and I will try to go as light as possible because of the heat but at the same time I don’t want to run the risk of not being able to finish the race because my bag got ripped when I fell or I don’t have enough spare tubes… so really my build is all about striking a balance between lightweight solutions and neutralizing risk as for me my absolute first priority is finishing!

 

 

DAVIDE BELFIORE

 

 

Davide Belfiore, trade marketing manager of Cinelli, is our own endurance cycling guru. He has been riding his bike in extraordinary and unusual ways ever since we’ve known him. Last year he rode Badlands, broke his sternum and tore his rotator cuff and had to retire after 270km. This year he is going back with Taylor, Luisa and Sophie to resolve some unfinished business!

 

Davide, tell me about your history as a cyclist?

I grew up in Brianza and always rode my bike competitively, like so many other kids in the area. In 2002 I became a professional cyclist with the Sud Tirol team, I rode 3 seasons as a professional but to be honest the peloton was not a place I felt comfortable in during those years for many reasons that people now understand better!

And after that?

After that I hated the bike for quite a while and kept my distance… When I finally got back into cycling it was through Triathlon, where I found a much nicer atmosphere. There I was also able to compete at a high level and competed twice at 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater where I was the top Italian finisher. But in general, since stopping being a professional I’ve always had an approach to cycling which kept its distance from competition.

When did you start riding endurance races?

Only about three years ago, but that kind of cycling has always attracted me. Before I even knew about these kinds of races I was trying to invent them for myself. For example the last time I rode a triathlon, four years ago, the race was in Puglia so I decided to ride to the race from Cinelli. I left on Tuesday, rode 300km a day, arrived on Friday evening and raced the triathlon on Saturday…

What are you attracted to in endurance racing?

What I really enjoy is the experience of losing all the comforts of your regular life: your house, social media… Nothing is no longer in your possession other than the essentials: air, land, sky, your fatigue and your dreams. Riding these races is like a dream in which I carry most cherished memories with me. And this way of being produces visions for me, and ideas for life. It’s a kind of spiritual pursuit!

Follow our instagram profile @cinelli_official to stay updated!

Check out the King Zydeco and the Nemo Gravel that the riders will use to tame the desert!

Baroncini sul tetto del mondo!

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LEUVEN (BEL): Dopo il Giro d’Italia arriva anche il Campionato del Mondo. E’ una stagione fantastica quella 2021 per il Team Colpack Ballan che vanta 37 pesantissimi successi sin qui.
Filippo Baroncini ha tagliato il traguardo a braccia alzate dopo 3 ore 37′:36″ di gara velocissima sui tipici saliscendi fiamminghi.
Un’azione di forza, studiata nei dettagli, ha permesso al corridore italiano di arrivare sul traguardo con solo 2″ di margine per un successo he però non è ma parso in discussione. Il trionfo per la formazione azzurra è completato da Michele Gazzoli, quarto. Solo negli ultimissimi metri è sfumato il bronzo nello sprint di gruppo.

Queste le parole a caldo del neo campione del mondo: “È un sogno. Il finale perfetto di una giornata nervosa, per me e per tutti i miei compagni. Questa vittoria l’ho sognata tutta la vita. Il mio attacco era programmato e tutto è andato secondo i piani. Sono senza parole. Dopo la fuga ho pensato solo ad andare, andare, andare, andare e vincere questa partita. Fortunatamente, tutto è andato bene”.

Filippo Baroncini ha 21 anni, è di Massa Lombarda, tra i successi di questa stagione il titolo italiano a cronometro, l’argento agli Europei, una vittoria di tappa nel Giro U23.

Michele Gazzoli ha sfiorato il podio, chiudendo al quarto posto: “Quella di oggi è stata la vittoria di tutti noi. Abbiamo corso da squadra, perfettamente e come dovevamo. Avevamo un solo obiettivo: quello di vincere e l’abbiamo fatto. A Filippo voglio dire che è andato forte, ha fatto quello che doveva. Non è facile rispettare pronostici però ce l’ha fatta e siamo tutti davvero contenti.”

Gli atleti del Team Colpack Ballan corrono con la Pressure, ultima nata della famiglia racing Cinelli, che fa di aerodinamica e integrazione i suoi punti di forza.

Menzione speciale anche per Manuel Oioli, atleta dell’ASD Bustese Olonia, che ha centrato un buonissimo settimo posto nella prova mondiale in linea, categoria Juniores, in sella alla sua Superstar.

Europei d’argento!

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Sabato scorso 11 settembre Filippo Baroncini ha ottenuto un argento in maglia azzurra ai Campionati Europei su Strada Under 23 che si sono svolti a Trento.
Il corridore romagnolo è stato battuto per pochi centimetri dal belga Thibau Nys, figlio d’arte, e ha preceduto l’ex compagno di squadra Juan Ayuso.

Il corridore stava già pregustando un grande successo come da lui stesso confermato:
“Sognavo questa maglia e ci sono arrivato vicino, peccato. In volata sono uscito per primo dall’ultima curva, purtroppo non è bastato. Il mio avversario è stato più veloce. Abbiamo fatto il possibile come squadra, spero che questa medaglia li ripaghi per tutti gli sforzi fatti”.
Baroncini ha aggiunto: “Zana ha fatto bene a tentare l’allungo negli ultimi chilometri, magari avrebbe funzionato come colpo a sorpresa. In ogni caso ci riproveremo al mondiale”.
Il risultato di Baroncini è l’apice, almeno fino a questo momento, di una stagione di grandi successi per i corridori del Team Colpack Ballan, che formano un connubio esplosivo con Pressure, top di gamma in carbonio ad alto modulo della famiglia racing Cinelli con passaggio cavi totalmente integrato e posteriori verticali bassi, per la massima aerodinamicità e una maggiore rigidezza complessiva del telaio.

Finalmente Rastelli!

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Giornata trionfale per il Team Colpack Ballan che, domenica 25 luglio sul Monte Grappa, ha messo a segno una tripletta andando sul podio con Luca Rastelli, Mattia Petrucci e Alessio Martinelli al termine di una corsa lunga 108 km coperti in 3h 00’35 media/h 35,884.

Per Rastelli, e per la sua Pressure Team Limited, si è trattato del primo successo stagionale, il 30°per il team. Il cremonese stava per vincere già un mese fa, nella Pessano Roncola, quando cadde rompendosi i denti. Per lui un periodo di stop ed ora il successo.

“Già da sabato mi sentivo bene – ha raccontato il vincitore – e pensavo solo a fare una buona corsa. Dopo la caduta non vedevo l’ora di tornare a correre e risalire in bici quanto prima.
Ho affrontato la salita con il mio passo, con regolarità. Inizialmente non ero brillante. Mentre salivamo ho approfittato di un rilassamento del gruppo partendo in contropiede ai meno 3 dall’arrivo. Ho mantenuto un buon margine e ringrazio i miei compagni che hanno lavorato dietro. Per me una grandissima gioia dopo questo periodo così complicato”.

Il giorno prima lo stesso Mattia Petrucci ha confermato il buon momento di forma andando a vincere a Ovada, centrando così il secondo successo stagionale.

Con queste parole Petrucci ha commentato la vittoria: “Oggi abbiamo disputato una gara dura, una corsa ad eliminazione con 30 arrivati su 150 partiti. Nei primi chilometri è partita la solita di fuga. Dopo 50 km siamo usciti in 6.
Io, Baroncini e Martinelli eravamo in avanscoperta. Alla fine bisognava arrivare. Sapevo di poter tenere per 25 km in solitaria. Ho attaccato facendo la differenza, arrivando con 50” di vantaggio”.

Campione Italiano Crono U23

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Sabato 26 giugno il Team Colpack Ballan ha conquistato il titolo tricolore a cronometro U23 con Filippo Baroncini. Il corridore romagnolo, classe 2000, si è imposto al termine di una prova velocissima corsa a quasi 52 km/h di media.
Baroncini, al suo 2° successo di stagione,  ha coperto infatti  i 19 chilometri del percorso in 22′:03″.
La gara si è disputata su percorso pianeggiante e adatta a un uomo potente come Baroncini che poche settimane fa si era aggiudicato anche la tappa del Giro U23 a crono.

Qui le parole del vincitore: “Sono felice. Ci voleva dopo il secondo posto nel tricolore in linea della settimana scorsa. Avevo detto che mi sarei preso una rivincita e sono stato di parola”.
La gara: “Sono partito in testa e non ho fatto molti calcoli. In una prova individuale come questa non ti puoi nascondere e io ho dato tutto quello che avevo. Ritengo questo successo figlio della determinazione e della grinta. Ci tenevo infatti a dare una bella soddisfazione al patron Beppe Colleoni che era sul percorso a seguirci. Dedico inoltre il tricolore alla mia ragazza ed alla famiglia, compresa quella del Team Colpack Ballan che è come se fosse un’altra famiglia”.

L’avvicinamento a questo traguardo è stato lungo: “Da quest’anno ho lavorato molto sulla bici da crono e negli ultimi giorni sono sempre uscito solo quella. Abbiamo curato tutti i dettagli e i risultati sono arrivati. Ora mi riposerò un po’ e sogno di poter essere convocato in azzurro nelle prove di specialità. Sognare non costa nulla”.

Ma non è tutto, domenica per Baroncini è arrivata la seconda vittoria in 2 giorni nella Pessano-Roncola, classica con arrivo in salita.
Per il romagnolo si tratta della 3° vittoria di stagione, la prima in linea del 2021, in una gara che ha visto sfortunato protagonista Luca Rastelli, caduto a poco meno di un chilometro dall’arrivo quando era in testa e ormai avviato verso il successo. Per lui un trauma facciale e varie contusioni.
A lui i nostri più sentiti auguri di pronta guarigione.
Forza Luca, ti aspettiamo in sella!

Vittoria al Giro d’Italia Giovani U23

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Il Team Colpack Ballan vince il Giro d’Italia Under 23 con Juan Ayuso. Si tratta di una prima volta importante per il sodalizio del Team Manager Antonio Bevilacqua e del Presidente Beppe Colleoni. Per la formazione orobica si tratta della 23^ vittoria stagionale e per Ayuso la 9^ personale.
Sono ben 5 le maglie conquistate: rosa, bianca (giovani), rossa (punti), verde (montagna) e combinata.

Queste le considerazioni del vincitore: “Era la prima volta che partecipavo ad una gara a tappe così lunga e di altissimo livello. Sono felice perchè mi sono sentito bene per tutti e 10 i giorni. Per me è stata una grande esperienza. Ora mi aspetta il passaggio al professionismo (debutto al Giro dell’Appennino), ma prima devo ringraziare la grande famiglia Colpack Ballan che mi ha accolto ad Almè e trattato come un figlio, e alla mia famiglia che è venuta in Italia per farmi il tifo”.
Ayuso racconta altri dettagli sulla corsa: “Il momento più difficile? Sicuramente la cronometro quando mi si è abbassata la sella. Ho invece capito che era fatta dopo la 7^ tappa”.

Primo degli italiani con il suo 6° posto Alessandro Verre.  “Finalmente il Giro è finito, anche se mi sento ancora bene. Magari da domani sentirò la fatica, ma oggi sono adrenalinico. Per me è stato un Giro particolare, che ci ha regalato tante emozioni. Ho capito tante cose e ora mi sento un corridore più maturo. Devo dire che mi sono pure divertito, se penso che la scorsa stagione in salita mi staccavo. E’ un anno diverso e mi sono preparato bene. Spero di poter crescere ancora”.

Ayuso e i suoi compagni di squadra hanno dominato la corsa rosa e hanno messo in evidenza le caratteristiche vincenti delle diverse Cinelli che hanno utilizzato. La Pressure per i velocisti, grazie alle sue forme aerodinamiche e alla sua grande rigidità, e la Superstar, apprezzata dagli uomini di classifica per la sua leggerezza e reattività, in versione specialissima Peso Piuma, con carro posteriore alleggerito, puleggia extralarge e verniciatura custom superleggera.

A seguito della vittoria, una bellissima festa al quartier generale del Team Colpack Ballan per celebrare questo grande trionfo, che entra di diritto nella bacheca dei trofei più belli della storia di Cinelli.
Oltre ai corridori, alla dirigenza e agli sponsor principali, si sono aggiunti ai festeggiamenti anche il Presidente della Federazione Ciclistica Italiana Cordiano Dagnoni e la Vice Presidente Norma Gimondi.
Una giornata indimenticabile!

UNA DOPPIETTA STRAORDINARIA!

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SESTO ED UNITI (CR): Domenica 16 maggio, il Team Colpack Ballan ha ottenuto un’entusiasmante doppietta con Davide Boscaro, primo, e Davide Persico, secondo, nella volata che ha visto il gruppo compatto sul traguardo di Sesto ed Uniti, comune della provincia di Cremona.
Il Trofeo Gp Sportivi Sestesi si è concluso dopo 3h 29′ 43” di gara ed ha assegnato la maglia di Campione Lombardo.

“Per noi è stata una bella corsa che ci ha regalato la 15^ vittoria di stagione. – ha spiegato il Team Manager, Antonio Bevilacqua – Tutti hanno corso bene ricucendo la fuga. Negli ultimi 5 km abbiamo preso in mano la corsa con autorevolezza. I ragazzi sono stati fantastici e vanno citati: Samuel Quaranta, Gidas Umbri, Francesco Della Lunga, Luca Rastelli. Una grandissima gioia anche per il nostro patron che oggi era in ammiraglia”.

Comincia la stagione!

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Comincia alla grande la stagione che porta alle Olimpiadi di Tokyo per il triatleta Dmitry Polyanskiy, che ha ottenuto un solido secondo posto ai Campionati Russi di Duathlon Sprint lo scorso weekend. Un risultato incoraggiante, in vista della prima tappa ITU World Triathlon Championship series a Yokohama (Giappone) il prossimo weekend. In bocca al lupo!

Complimenti Eleonora!

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Grande risultato la scorsa domenica a Ostend, nella Coppa del Mondo di paraciclismo.
Nella prova su strada, la nostra Eleonora Mele, dopo il quarto posto nella crono, ha ottenuto uno scintillante terzo posto, di buon auspicio per la prossima tappa, il Campionato del Mondo in Portogallo del prossimo mese.
Grande Ele!