The opening weekend of the Roller Ski World Cup hosted in Piglio (Frosinone – Italy) and organized by the Sci Club Madonna del Monte, concluded with two clear victories by athletes of the Italian national cross-country team in the 10/15km mass start. A light rain provided welcome relief from the high temperatures. After victories by Roland Clara and Arianna Follis on in the 5 km up-hill race, yesterday’s race was again dominated by the â€œspecialists of the snowâ€ who overcame the odds and ruled over the â€œspecialists of the road.â€
Rolando Clara takes the victory (Photo Credit: Newspower.it)
Sabina Valbusa, one of the most famous members of the Italian cross-country team, took the victory in the women’s event. Valbusa started her winning sprint with one kilometer to go, and only her teammate Antonella Confortola attempted to follow. Confortolla couldn’t hang and finished second. Russian Tatiana Yambaeda was third while Marianna Longa, another cross-country team-member, who set the pace from the start, came in fourth.
Clara striding away in the hill climb (Photo Credit: Newspower.it)
Clara finished in a time of 16'20'', just 30 seconds faster than Giorgio Di Centa (ITA), the Olympic gold medalist in the 50 km in Torino 2006. Third place went to Di Gregorio, crossed the line 42''3 back of Clara.
The women’s race was extremely tight, with Follis edging Longa by a mere four seconds. Confortolla took third, 20 seconds back with sprinter Karin Moroder in fourth.