Selva Val Gardena (BZ), June 23, 2012 – 40 minutes of incessant rain fell shortly before the start and Val Gardena was awash as the HERO was about to start. Fortunately the weather soon improved and brighter skies greeted the participants. Interesting had been the high level of concentration maintained by the elite group of race favourites whilst one could see a worried face or two amongst the amateurs!
The top step on the podium for the race’s third edition and the title of Südtirol Sellaronda HERO goes to Leonardo Paez . In fact Leonardo of Team Tx Active Bianchi closed the 82 km race (with a difference in altitude of a staggering 4.200 metres!) in a time of 4:33.16. Following him is Mirko Celestino of Team Avion Axevo Mtb Pro Team , which could do nothing against today’s winner, and who crossed the finishing line with 4:36.26,7. Third place sees Massimo ebertolis of Team Autopolar Volvo Cannondal, recording a time of 4:40.00,9.
The 30 year old Columbian winner commented “It was a really tough race and I suffered a lot on the uphill streetches but even worse was the cold on the downhill parts, so much so that I thought at some points that I would have to drop out. Fortunately things got a bit easier andIi was able to warm up and stay ahead.”
Between 2008 and 2010 Paez competed for team Bianchi in mountain bike competitions and after concentrating on road racing in 2011 for th Columbia team this victory represents a great return to off-road racing. The 30 year old comes from Cienega, a small town in the Boyaca region of Columbia.
Mirko Celestino, the Andora biker, winner of last year’s edition, had these words to say about finishing second “I left myself too much to do after the first Dantercepies uphill and although I made up ground on all the others except Paez, who was just too strong for me on the day.”
Massimo Debertolis was in awe of the Hero. “Never in my career of 17 years have I faced as tough a race as this and therefore I congratulate the organisers on having chosen the most appropriate name for the race!”
Today’s big disppointment was the Austrian Alban Lakala, the actual number 1 in the world rankings, who was ahead of the rest at Canazei with just the uphill of Passo Duron to face when misfortune hit and a double puncture saw him slip to eighth place. “ My destiny with the Hero is only delayed and I will certainly be back next year” were the defiant words of the Austrian champion.
There is no doubt that the heroine of the day is K atrin Schwing with her winning time of 6:04’16’’. Folowing home the winner of the Trek Domatec Team and adjudicating second place 48 seconds behind is the Austrian Verena Krenslehne of the Conway Racing Team withr; with third position to Barbara Kaltenhause of the Corratec World Team, she finishing 13 minutes behind the winner.r.
As usual, the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO offers a second, easier route: “only” 52 km, but with 2.700 metres of altitude difference. The winner of the short route is Daniel Jung from Naturno of Team Mountain Heroes , who finished the route in 3:21.19, second place goes to Thomas Piazza of Ortisei and third place to the German biker, Daniel Eiermann. The winner of the women’s race is Julia Innerhofer, appropriately racing in the number 2012 shirt won at auction by sponsors ‘Marlene’, in a time of 4:21’27”, followed by Heidi Unterweger and the Austrian Martina Sageder Miessgng.
Personality amongst the amateurs in HERO 2012 was Pasquale Bruno, ex footballer of Juventus and Lazio, he finishing the 82km route in 8:53’45”.
“We are extremely happy as to how the race developed, because HERO is not only professional sport; it has shown how it has grown in its organisational and image parts” – said Peter Runggaldier, Director of the race – “and it is for that reason that my thanks go out to the hundreds of volunteers who have supported the organisation with unlimited enthusiasm” .
A shared thank you goes out from all the event management: “I would like to express on behalf of the Sports Association Sellaronda HERO our gratitude to all those who took part, to all those people in Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Arabba and Val Di Fassa who, once again, with their dedication and giving up of free time have made it possible to stage this fantastic marathon. A superb team which yet again has met the expectation of delivering big results!” these the heartfelt words of Gerhard Vanzi.
Another thank you goes to all the companies which have sponsored the event and also the regional tourism offices such as the l’Associazione Turistica di Selva Val Gardena, Val Gardena Marketing and the Consorzi Turistici dell’Alta Badia, Arabba, Val di Fassa and Alpe di Siusi.
Turn the TV on and experience the emotions of the race in the summary which Rai Sport 2 is broadcasting on 28th June at 20.20; Eurosport will also be broadcasting a service on HERO, viewable in 20 European countries on Monday 9th July at 18.45.
FINAL RACE PLACINGS
Sellaronda Hero 2012, Selva Val Gardena (I) – 82km Men – Overall
1. Paez Leon Hector Leonardo – 1982 – COL – TX ACTIVE BIANCHI in 4:33.16
2. Celestino Mirko – 1974 – ITA – AVION AXEVO MTB PRO TEAM in 4:36.26
3. De Bertolis Massimo – 1975 – ITA – TEAM AUTOPOLAR VOLVO CANNONDAL in 4:40.00
4. Fontana Klaus – 1973 – ITA ASC Olang in 4:45.17
5. Kugler Andreas – 1979 – CH – Multivan Merida Biking Team in 4:46.05
Sellaronda Hero 2012, Selva Val Gardena (I) – 82km Women – Overall
1. Schwing Katrin – 1972 – GER – Trek-Domatec in 6:04.16
2. Krenslehner Verena – 1975 – AUT – Conway Racing Team in 6:05.03
3. Kaltenhauser Barbara – 1977 – GER – Corratec World Team in 6:17.38
4. Söllner Birgit – 1973 – GER – Team Firebike-Drössiger in 6:39.25,8
5. Mandelli Chiara – 1972 – ITA – Valcavallina Superbik in 7:18.36,6
Sellaronda Hero 2012, Selva Val Gardena (I) – 52km Men – Overall
1. Jung Daniel – 1983 – ITA – Mountain Heroes in 3:21.19
2. Piazza Thomas – 1973- ITA – Sunshine racers Nals in 3:22.14
3. Eiermann Daniel – 1984 – GER – Ergon 24 Racing Team in 3:32.24
4. Wegner Sönke – 1982 – GER – BQ Cycling Team/World of MTB in 3:36.08
5. Fabbri Alessio – 1976 – ITA – TEAM TREDICI BIKE A.S.D. in 3:44.08,3
Sellaronda Hero 2012, Selva Val Gardena (I) – 52km Women – Overall
1. Innerhofer Julia – 1993 – ITA – Colnago Farbe Südtirol in 4:21.27
2. Unterweger Heidi – 1978 – ITA – ASC Sarntal Raiffeisen RAD in 4:35.35
3. Sageder Miessgang Martina – 1980 – AUT – MOUNTAIN HEROES in 4:54.01
4. Maccherozzi Marta – 1972 – ITA – GRUPPO T.N.T. ASD in 5:00.12
5. Baldrighi Michela – 1973 – ITA – Vigo bike in 5:15.27