Mittwoch, 1. Juni 2011



The programme of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO Mtb-Marathon, the mountain bike race scheduled for Saturday 2nd July around the Sella group, is intense. With some confirmations (such as the routes) and many innovations (from the live web coverage of the final kilometres to the special diploma for the heroes of the day) the South Tyrol race is ready to amaze the off-road world once again with its 1,500 entrants and flying no fewer than 23 national flags. Aiming for the highest step on the podium there will also be Mirko Celestino, the Italian at the top of the UCI ranking of marathon trials.

Bolzano, 31.05.2011 – Today’s press conference starts the countdown which in 31 days will take us to the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO Mtb-Marathon, the race scheduled for 2nd July 2011 and which although it is only in its second edition, is already part of the “ambitions” of bikers all over the planet.

«We can say that we have attained the objective of 1,500 competitors,” recalled Peter Runggaldier at the press meeting this morning in the splendid setting of Castel Firmiano, “but what gives us the greatest satisfaction is the international flavour of the list of names on the departure line, with no fewer than 23 nations represented.» This is a result which as well as in terms of quantity rewards the quality of the organization coordinated by Gerhard Vanzi in tandem (a fitting expression!) with the former member of the Italian downhill skiing team.

Many topics were covered at the press conference, including the confirmation of the two routes which last year amazed the participants by how beautiful they were and, above all, by how difficult the longer one was. This year again the participants can choose the 50 kilometre route with a climb of 2,600 metres (with 33 km of single trail, 11 km on dirt tracks and 6 km on road) or aim for the title of “HERO” on the 82 kilometre route, consisting of 36 km of paths, 35 km of dirt tracks and the remaining 11 km on asphalt, for a total climb of 4,200 metres. As shown by the 3D video screened during the meeting with the press, 90% of the race routes are off-road.

Representing the Department for Mobility and Trade of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano and its Councillor Thomas Widmann, absent due to a previous commitment, Hansi Felder recalled the promotional value of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO Mtb-Marathon and the importance of having associated the South Tyrol with the name of the race.

«I wish to publicly thank the Councillor Thomas Widmann who has supported the project of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO since the genesis of the idea,” underlined Gerhard Vanzi, “and the joint support with the commitment of the Councillor for Tourism Hans Berger and the Department for Sport, chaired by the President of the Provincial Council Luis Durnwalder, has made it possible to organize a high-profile event from all points of view, from the services to the safety of the athletes.”

The value of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO has gone far beyond the limits of the discipline of mountain bike, having attracted the attention of an important bank such as UniCredit, which on 2nd July will be present at the race as the main sponsor. «We are particularly proud to have at our side such a prestigious bank with a European character,” added Vanzi, “and we know that UniCredit only chooses sporting events of excellence.»

As recalled by Antonio Lazzarotto, President of the South Tyrol FCI (Italian Cycling Federation) Committee, after the successful debut one year ago, the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO has climbed the ranks to enter by full right the national calendar of the Italian Cycling Federation and, at the same time, to be valid as the FCI Championship of the Triveneto region.

It is a race that can attract the attention of the greatest interpreters of the mountain bike and which last year was dominated, in the 82 kilometre route, by Klaus Fontana, who was at the press conference alongside the South Tyrolean challenger Johann Pallhuber. «I want to warn Johann that the HERO is the toughest race I’ve ever entered in my career,” an ironic Fontana recalled, “ and that if he wants to beat me he will have to make a really great, great effort.» Just a few hours before the press conference, the organizers received the news they had been waiting for: the best biker in circulation, the Italian Mirko Celestino, confirmed that he will be at the starting-line of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO. Thirty-seven years old, with eleven years as a professional road cyclist, Celestino is living a second youth thanks to the mountain bike where last season he conquered the silver medal at the world and European championships in this speciality.

The challenge, however, will not be exclusively Italian on 2nd July at the foot of the Sella, because the 1,500 entrants include over 45 athletes from the Elite category from Germany, Austria, Norway and other countries with a long-standing off-road tradition. Outstanding amongst these are the German Birgit Söllner, currently fifth in the international UCI ranking of marathon trials, but the Italian Elena Giacomuzzi is ready to throw down the gauntlet to conquer the highest step on the podium.

For them and for all the category winners, there is an extraordinary jackpot of over euro 40,000 of which euro 17,000 for the professionals in the overall classifications. The first three classified in all 44 categories established by the regulations will receive prizes in material offered by the sponsors, including MET bike helmets, Fulcrum rims, ADIDAS glasses, but above all two SCOTT Genius LT and Contessa Spark RC bicycles, with a total value of around euro 10,000, for the man and woman winning the 82 km route in the HOBBY category.

The collaboration with Assisport Alto Adige as Smile Partner also continues in the 2011 edition: one euro for each participant is donated to the association that supports young sporting talents.

«Without the sponsors, it would not be possible to organize a race of this importance,” added Vanzi, “and so we want to thank all the companies that have believed in us and in particular the new suppliers such as BMW that will be putting at the disposal of the organizing committee the new xDrive, Campagnolo for the supply of Fulcrum rims and Elikos, the Dolomites helicopter service for the aerial filming of the race.”

To go back to the organizational aspects, the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO committee has planned three points of Shimano technical assistance to guarantee maximum support for each biker who has entered and five refreshment points supplied by Enervit. A special "HERO TIME 150%" diploma has also been initiated for 2011 and will be awarded to the marathon participants who finish the 82 km race within one and a half times of the winner’s time. For fans who cannot follow the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO along the route, the organization has prepared for the last 16 km of the marathon, i.e. from the Duron Pass 2,280 m to the arrival in Selva Gardena 1,563 m, direct web coverage on the organization’s site

«We will have many guests of honour,” commented Runggaldier, “but until we receive the final confirmations of the VIPs I can say that at the starting-line of the HERO we will have the best of Italian skiing with Christoph Innerhofer, Peter Fill, Florian Eisath, Stefan Thanei as well as my friend Kristian Ghedina… in the hope that this year he can complete the route.” From mtb to skiing is a short step, especially if we have the Sella group as the venue which in the winter is the most famous skiing area in the world.

The routes of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO Mtb-Marathon go through seven municipalities, four valleys and three provinces and for this corner of mountain paradise, the event is an extraordinary opportunity to promote tourism, as revealed by the words of Christine Demetz, President of Val Gardena Marketing. Behind the HERO there is teamwork, thanks to the collaboration between the Tourist Boards of the Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Arabba, Val di Fassa and Alpe di Siusi.

A great event is also seen by the collateral events which this year include a race to discover the champions of tomorrow, the HERO Kids for mini-bikers aged from 6 to 12 who will be picking up the challenge (from 9.30 a.m.) on a route of 3 kilometres. There will also be BIKE and TECH EXPO, the exhibition area in the heart of Selva with the best brands of the sector. «Not to be missed is the HERO Party on Saturday evening, where we can relive the HERO 2011 together on a maxi-screen,” as explained by Ellis Kasslatter, Director of the Selva Gardena Tourist Association.

Lastly, the first weekend of July will be marked by cycling because in addition to the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO on Saturday 2nd July, the Sellaronda Bike Day will be held the next day, the non-competitive free cycling event held between 8.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. on Sunday with the four Dolomite passes closed to motor traffic. «Last year we estimated that there were over 18,000 cyclists and we think that we can surpass that this year,” commented Günther Pitscheider, director of Val Gardena Marketing, “confirming that the formula of the event meets with increasing success.” What’s new this year is the change of direction: on 3rd July the organizers ask the thousands of cyclists to pedal in an anti-clockwise direction. They will also have Shimano mechanical assistance and some refreshment points thanks to Enervit. At the end of the season there is a repeat performance: on 18th September, the Eco Dolomites will be held with ecological vehicles alongside the bicycles.

Everything is ready for the second edition of the Südtirol Sellaronda HERO Mtb-Marathon, and we can bet that it will be another great success of the Dolomites.

For information:


Südtirol Sellaronda Hero Committee

Selva Gardena Tourist Association

Str. Meisules, 213

I-39048 Selva Gardena (BZ)

Tel. +39 0471 777900 - Fax +39 0471 792245 -

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