WORLD’S TOUGHEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE
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WORLD’S TOUGHEST MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE
HERO SOUTH TYROL DOLOMITE
DATE: 18.6. 2023
The Dolomite part of the Alps in North Italy’ are hosting the documented toughest mountain bike race in the world, due to the length of the race and the altitudes in the mountains. This year the high temperatures challenged the bikers from 41 countries even more.
The race in the Dolomites is also the first of 3 stages. The two next take place in the desert of Dubai and the jungle of Thailand both in November this year.
This year in the Dolomites was harder than ever before.
German women favorite Adelheid Morath GERMANY says “HERO has become one of the biggest marathons in the world. I think it will be a tough fight with all the good women here”.
From the start in the town Selva Gardena, which is located at 1563 hm, the 60 km route starts for the women and goes up to 3000 hm.
The men started shortly after and World Champion from 2021 Leonardo Paez knows many will try to beat him.
It is the first time after covid 19, that many of the champions have a chance to measure each other’s strength after covid shutdowns around the world.
The mens route is 86 km passing Dolomite mountains around 4 valleys going up to 4500 hm. 3000 mountain bikers participated this year.
The heat is this year was record breaking between 30 and 35 celcius.
The route in the province of the Dolomites is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The two Columbians Leonardo Paez and Diego Alfonso Arias Cuervo helped each other up. Leonardo Paez actually had to stop due to the altitude change, but got back on the bike with help from his columbian friend.
The two Colombians were pursued by Gerhard Kerschbaumer from ITA, Huber Urs SUI, Claes Frans – BEL and others from Austria, Norway and more.
However the experienced Coloumbians know how to drive in the mountains off the paths as well. The paths often cause punctures due to the sharp edges of the stones.
As the race developed the persuaders was Gerhard Kerschbaumer – ITA, Huber Urs – SUI and Claes Frans – BEL.
Leonardo Paez took the lead from his Colombian friend and showed skills driving over small bridges at high speed. Leonardo Paez became the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Champion in 2019 and 2020. He has won HERO stages 6 times in both the Dolomites and the desert in Dubai.
His countryman Diego Alfonso Arias Cuervo was second in the UCI MTB Marathon World Champion in 2021 and has won the Columbian Championship 2 times.
In the pursuing group behind the two Colombians was Gerhard Kerschbaumer from Italy beginning to set the pace.
Many of the 3000 riders were falling behind having to walk up the mountain hills.
Gerhard Kerschbaumer from Italy however looked strong.
Leonardo Paez got a 2 minute lead before going downhill towards the finish.
Leonardo Paez won the HERO in 2012, 13, 14, 16, 18 and 19.
Eventhou he is 39 years old he also won the Colombian Cross Country Championship in 2021.
Leonardo Paez kept the speed and won again and he waited 2,28 minutes before a happy countryman Diego Alfonso Arias Cuervo came in second for a double columbian victory.
Third came Gerhard Kerschbaumer – ITA, former European Champion and also winner of the UCI world cup in Switzerland in 2021.
After the victory, Leonardo Paez was happy to win again and explained the problem during the race: “I had a physical problem and I had to stop, and start again later. I’m glad I finished it and also won” and he also said. “As always when you run this race there are points where one says “mamma mia” because it seems he can’t make it”.
The woman’s race was led by Gaddoni Elena, the 4 time Italian champion and winner of the HERO South Tyrol Dolomites in 2017, impressive with her force as she now is turning 40 years old.
She was pursued by the Italian Champion 2021 Piana Debora, who later got in second.
Former German National Champion Morath Adelheid had a slow start, but found her own speed, that brought her infront of both Gaddoni Elena, Piana Debora and everybody else. The 37 year old ended up winning her 3rd race this year. It even took 15 minutes and 23 seconds before Italian Piana Debora came in as number two with Gaddoni Elena only 36 seconds behind as third.
German international Morath Adelheid explains she “opened the gas” at the climbs: “It was such a hard fight, I mean the course is so challenging. 60 km and 3,000 altitude meters and super, super steep, but amazing views. It was a strong women’s field of course, because the HERO is one of the biggest marathon races, so such a race is always very emotional to win.”
The HERO’s started in 2010 and the two other stages will take place November 2 in the desert in Dubai and November 12 in the jungle in Thailand.
- HELICOPTER THE DOLOMITE, STELLA
- HELICOPTER THE DOLOMITE, STELLA. TRACK SEEN.
- HELICOPTER OVER START IFLAGS FROM MANY PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES
- WOMEN READY TO STARTING LINE
- SOUNDBITE ADELHEID MORATH, 37, FEMALE MTB, GERMANY
“Ja, natürlich. Das Starterfeld ist sehr gut, ich mein HERO es ist became eines der größten Marathons der Welt. Es wird ein harter Kampf glaube ich mit all den guten Frauen”
“Yes, of course. The starting field is very good, I mean HERO, it has become one of the biggest marathons in the world. I think it will be a tough fight with all the good women.”.)
- WOMEN RACE START IN SELVA GARDENA, ITALY.
- 3D MAP OF THE BEGINNING OF THE RACE
- MEN READY AT START “Hero Sudtirol Dolomites
- SOUNDBITE LEONARDO PAEZ COLOMBIA (send by organizer)
“Si, tutti i ragazzi guarderanno cosa faccio e proveranno a battermi.
Cerco di fare la mia gara e di godermi la giornata.
(TRANSLATION SELVA GARDENA, ITALY.
“Yes, all of the guys will watch what I will be doing and try to beat me. I will do my race and try to enjoy the day”)
- MENS RACE START
- HUNDREDS OF MOUNTAIN BIKERS STARTING
- HUNDREDS OF MOUNTAINBIKERS ON TOP OF THE STELLA MOUNTAIN
- 3D MAP OF MEN’S RACE
- TWO RIDERS WITH STELLA MOUNTAINS IN THE BACK. LEONARDO PAEZ, COLUMBIA (WHITE SHIRT) AND DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA (BLUE SHIRT):
- 5 RIDERS CHASING THE LEADERS WITH STELLA MOUNTAINS IN THE BACK
- TWO COLUMBIAN DRIVING AWAY FROM TRACK OVER THE GRAS DOWNHILL. LEONARDO PAEZ, COLUMBIA (WHITE SHIRT) AND DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA (BLUE SHIRT):
- PERSUITERS WITH STELLA MOUNTAINS IN THE BACK
- MOTORCYCLE-SHOT LEONARDO PAEZ, COLUMBIA CROSSING SMALL BRIDGE OVER SMALL RIVER
- MOTORCYCLE LEONARDO PAEZ GETTING WATER AT CHECK-POINT
- MOTORCYCLE DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA FALLING BEHIND.
LEONARDO PAEZ CAN BE SEEN IN FRONT
- MOTORCYCLE LEONARDO PAEZ BIKING IN FOREST, GIVING SPEED
- HELICOPTER LEONARDO PAEZ PASSING MOUNTAIN
- COWS ON THE TRACK. DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA DRIVING THROUGH THE COWS
- GERHARD KERSCHBAUMER, ITALY PASSES TWO RIDERS
- SEVERAL MTB RIDERS WALKING UP THE HILL, ONE BIKING.
- GERHARD KERSCHBAUMER, ITALY PASSES TWO RIDERS
- HELICOPTER BIKER INTO A SINGLE PATH
- HELICOPTER LEONARDO PAEZ BIKING OVER STONES
- MOTORCYCLE DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA PURSUING OVER ROCKS
- LEONARDO PAEZ BIKING FAST DOWNHILL – PASSING TREES
- LEONARDO PAEZ ON A SINGLE PATH WITH MOUNTAIN AND GOAL-CITY IN THE BACKGROUND
- LEONARDO PAEZ GETTING THE COLOMBIAN FLAG AT FINISH
- LEONARDO PAEZ PASSING FINISH LINE, RED CONFETTI
- LEONARDO PAEZ LIFTING HIS BIKE IN VICTORY
- DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA CROSSING FINISH LINE
- THE TWO COLOMBIAN CHEERS EACH OTHER, HAPPY
- VARIOUS AWARD CEREMONY FOR MEN
WINNER LEONARDO PÁEZ COLUMBIA, SECOND DIEGO ALFONSO ARIAS CUERVO, COLUMBIA
AND THIRD GERHARD KERSCHBAUMER, ITALY
- ALL 3 WINNERS WITH CHAMPAGNE
- SOUNDBITE HECTOR LEONARDO PAEZ LEON (COL), WINNER (Italian):
“Sono contento prima di tutto di essere ancora qui a vincere. Questo è qualcosa di grande, non è facile arrivare a vincere sette volte questa gara durissima. Come sempre quando corri questa gara cisono dei punti dove uno dice “mamma mia” perché sembra di non farcela. Ad esempio, oggi ho avuto un problema fisico e mi sono dovuto fermare, per ripartire ancora dopo. Sono contento di averla finita e anche di aver vinto”.
“I’m happy first of all to be here again to win. This is something great, it is not easy to win this very tough race seven times. As always when you run this race there are points where one says “mamma mia” because it seems he can’t make it.
For example, today I had a physical problem and I had to stop, and start again later. I’m glad I finished it and also won.”
- HELICOPTER GROUP OF RIDERS ON TOP OF MOUNTAIN WITH STELLA IN THE BACKGROUND
ELENA GADDONI, ITALY BIKING HARD UP HILL
ELENA GADDONI, ITALY BIKING HARD OVER ROCKS AND DIFFICULT PATH
- PIANA DEBORA, ITALY DRIVING UP HILL
- BIKER HAVE TO WALK WITH BIKE UP HILL
- MOTORBIKE ADELHEID MORATH, GERMANY GOING STRONG UPHILL
- SPECTATORS CHEERING WITH MOUNTAINS IN THE BACK
- HELICOPTER TOP OF MOUNTAIN AT SKI LIFT
- VARIOUS ADELHEID MORATH, GERMANY, BIKING FAST DOWNHILL
- ADELHEID MORATH GETTING GERMAN FLAG AT FINISH
- ADELHEID MORATH CROSSING FINISH LINE WITH PURPLE CONFETTI
- ITALIAN PIANA DEBORA CROSSING FINISH LINE AS SECOND
- WINNER CEREMONY WITH WINNER ADELHEID MORATH, GERMANY.
SECOND PIANA DEBORA, ITALY AND THIRD ELENA GADDONI, ITALY
- HELICOPTER MTB TRACKS
- MOTORCYCLE VARIOUS ADELHEID MORATH, GERMANY BIKING FAST TOWARDS IN FOREST AND STONE PATHS
- WINNERS CELEBRATE WITH CHAMPAGNE
- SOUNDBITE ADELHEID MORATH, 37, GERMANY (IN ENGLISH):
“It was such a hard fight, I mean the course is so challenging. 60 km and 3,200 HIGH meters and super, super steep, but amazing views. It was a strong women’s field of course, because the HERO is one of the biggest marathon, mountainbike marathon races, so such a race is always very emotional to win.”
- DRONE DOLOMITES
Hector Leonardo Leon
Adelheid Morath, Germany.