By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Deodoro Olympic park, the second largest of all the venues, was home to yet another Aquece Rio test event this past weekend. On Sunday, October 11th, almost eighty of the world’s top mountain bikers took to the future Olympic course. Both riders and organizers were pleased with how the track rode and how the event went. It was thought that only minor changes would have to be made ahead of the competition in 2016.
After completing the requisite seven laps of the 5.4km course, world champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland won the men’s race in a time of one hour, twenty minutes and 36 seconds, followed by Maxime Marotte of France and Andrea Tiberi of Italy. Brazilian Henrique Avancini came in fifth having been holding onto third place for much of the race.
In the women’s competition, where riders complete only six laps of the course, Eva Lechner (Italy) took gold with a time of one hour, twenty minutes and thirteen seconds. Maja Wloszczowska of Poland came in next and Jenny Rissveds of Sweden finished third.
Brazilian Sofia Subtil fell during the race and was taken by air ambulance to hospital with injuries to her face, neck and head and generalized bruising. She is said to be recovering.
The course was designed by Nick Floros and was inspired by Rio de Janeiro. Featuring obstacles, curves, climbs and descents, it was praised by riders for being technically challenging but enjoyable.
“I enjoyed the race a lot, the course is really nice, for the riders and for public,” said Lechner.
“It has everything – shorts climbs, long climbs, technical climbs, technical descents that are a very nice to ride. It’s a lot of fun for the riders,” added Wloszczowska.
It is thought that only minor tweaks will need to be made in order to perfect the track for the Olympic competition next year.
The only other consideration for riders was the hot Brazilian weather. With temperatures reaching 32 degrees on Sunday, the conditions were extreme for many of the European competitors and they stressed that it was going to be vital to pace themselves and stayed hydrated throughout the event next year.