Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Italy: National Championship Suspended During Ride Due to Sabotage

10 May 2014

Even as the 160-km Italian Championships at Golvant were underway on May 9th, the race was suspended because of poorly marked trails and missing signage. More than 30 riders were lost out on trails between the first and second phases. Aside from a few who were able to find and follow the trails, most of the others, lost in the forest, threw in the towel and returned back to the vet gate. The event was noted by one Italian reporter as the most 'miserable' event in the history of Italian endurance.

An urgent meeting was held between race judges and the Italian coach, where it was decided the Italian Championships would be cancelled, and any riders wishing to try to qualify and rank for the August WEG could continue to ride a distance of 160-km. A loop was selected, which would have to be ridden 3 more times with the required vet stops. Eight riders chose to continue riding the rest of the 160 kilometers, while the other riders left, with the promise of rescheduling the Italian Championship on May 31 in Castiglione del Lago. Entry fees were refunded to the riders.

The next day a CEI** and CEIJYR** and CEI* were held (repeating 2 loops to get the mileage) and all went smoothly, with a motorcycle and two cars on the course to make sure markings were not removed.

The culprits of the sabotaged trail markings are not known, but it was noted that a mountain biking race with hundreds of participants not far from the endurance race had no problems with their trails. it is thought that better relations between ride management and locals - not just political leaders of the territory - could forestall such further incidents.