A weekend dedicated to sport and nature was staged in Castro (Le). The last mountain bike race before the winter hibernation was the opportunity for the organizers and the circuits from all over Italy to meet and exchange views, an opportunity to network for the benefit of the Apulian and national cycling system with a view to seasonal adjustment.
In the enchanting setting of Castro (Le) it was the fifth edition of the Castro Legend Cup, the very final X-Legend among the main Italian trophies, to turn the spotlight on the Pearl of Salento. Fourteen trophies distributed over all twenty regions of the Belpaese. A brilliant idea for an event of an increasingly national caliber, organized at the top by the boys of the Spongano Cycle Club, thanks to the close collaboration with the Municipality of Castro, Puglia Region, Pugliapromento and the patronage of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
The official opening of the event took place on Saturday morning with the press conference at the Castro Castle. The conference was attended not only by the teams and competitive athletes in the race, but also by the institutional actors who made the ambitious idea possible and successful: starting with the Mayor of Castro Luigi Fersini, who had to do the honors, to the vicar president of the FCI Carmine Acquasanta, to Tommaso de Palma, recently appointed Advisor to the President of the Puglia Region for the coordination of projects connected to the “Puglia Bike Destination”. Projects to make Puglia, increasingly, a destination for sports tourism. The President of the Regional FCI Giuseppe Calabrese, his Vice-Vicar Enrico Carico, the President Emeritus Totò Bianco and the President of the Provincial FCI Sergio Quarta, who took the opportunity to pay homage with a medal, did not miss their contribution to the conference. silver, with the FCI logo, the Olympic champion Pascal Richard, to seal his love for sport and for Salento.
A lively and interesting debate with voices all agreeing with each other, with the clear common goal of promoting the image of Puglia as a holiday destination not only in summer but at 360 degrees, thanks also to sporting events of national caliber, capable as the Castro Legend Cup, Italy’s X-Legend, to drive sports tourism and deseasonalization.
On Saturday afternoon, at 3.00 pm, the awards ceremony for the Natural Parks Trophy, the most loved and long-lived mountain bike challenge in Italy, took place at the Bike Village built in the parking area in Marevivo. An exhibition area where over ten companies presented their products while the bikers, the next day in the race, were given the bibs and the rich race packs.
The long-awaited race day finally arrives on Sunday. Bikers are welcomed by a summer climate and a festive colored Castro. A riot of colors among banners, flags, bows, hot air balloons and the colored shirts of the bikers who collect the last bibs. At 8.30 am, on time, the flag-wavers of the NZegna cultural association of Carovigno, to the rhythm of drums and trumpets, accompany the flags representing the fourteen trophies of Italy in a parade that goes from the Bike Village to the Castro pier, the starting point of the competition. The blow-up of the Castro Legend Cup logo, which shows the face of the goddess Minerva, is the center of the flag wavers’ exhibition.
It is a highly applauded show that scans with sounds and flags, as happened in battles or meetings between districts or between medieval cities, what, soon, will be the final challenge, the X-Legend of Italy.
An atypical but historically symbolic departure, created specifically to evoke the legendary landing in the port of Castro of the hero Aeneas fleeing the city of Troy.
Once again, nothing is left to chance, with the gray concrete blocks wearing the colors of the peace flag.
At the starting line the best international athletes, with about twenty-five elite athletes from the main teams: Scott Racing, Torpado, Ktm, Wiliel Pirelli, Soudal Lee Cougan, Orbea. Professionals and amateurs from every corner of the beautiful country for a total of over seven hundred athletes ready to compete with the rocks and beaten paths of the Costa Otranto Leuca and Bosco di Tricase National Park. Seven hundred athletes protagonists of a colorful rainbow of peace and brotherhood.
The start of the competitive race is at 9.30. Ready go and the top of the class immediately pull the neck of the whole group. Very high rhythms and long Indian lines on the dirt roads and on the ancient mule tracks that connected the villages with the sea, a crossroads of civilizations.
It is a challenge in the challenge, between the elite to conquer the last of the season and the amateurs willing to conquer the prestigious X-Legend jerseys.
Heat and beats to a thousand, the race does not allow a moment of respite and the train of the strongest loses the wagons from time to time. Of the five: Rabensteiner, Paez, Dorigoni, Samparisi and Cherchi, in the lead after the first half of the race, the last two, Samparisi and Cherchi (KTM), lose the right locomotive. Later it is Dorigoni (Torpado) who has to give way to the two superfavorites of the eve: the Colombian Paez (Soudal Lee Cougan), two times world marathon champion, and the South Tyrolean Rabensteiner (Wilier Pirelli) current Italian and European champion.
Among the women, the Lithuanian champion Katazina Sosna (Torpado), competes on her own, creating a big margin with her colleagues from the very beginning.
At the end of the adrenal stairways that plunge into the port of Castro, the two big names are still glued to each other. On the finish line it is Rabensteiner, with a nice final shot, to raise his hands to the sky. First him, second Paez at 3 seconds. Dorigoni completes an absolute level podium, 48 seconds behind.
In the women’s race, clear success for the Lithuanian Katazina Sosna (Torpado Factory Team), who preceded Luisa De Lorenzo Poz (Este Bike Zordan) and Oriana Damiri (Rolling Bike).
CONQUER THE X LEGEND D’ITALIA JERSEY
ELMT – SEMERARO ROBERTO _ TEAM ERACLE (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEI PARCHI NATURALI)
M1 – SANSEVIERO FRANCESCO _ ASD BIKE IN TOUR VALLO DI DIANO (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEI PARCHI NATURALI)
M2 – PUGLIESE NICOLA _ TEAM ERACLE (FINALISTA DEL CHALLENGE XCP MTB PUGLIA)
M3 – NASELLO ALDO _ REVOLUTION BIKE (FINALISTA DEL MEDITERRANEA MTB CHALLENGE)
M4 – MONTELEONE GIANFRANCO _ ASD BIKE 1275 (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEI PARCHI NATURALI)
M5 – CATAPANO PARIDE _ ASD G.S. PEDALE MASSAFRA (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEI PARCHI NATURALI)
M6 – LOMBARDO VITO _ SPECIAL BIKER ELIOS TEAM (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEI PARCHI NATURALI)
M7 – GIACOMETTI MAURO _ MASTER TEAM ASD (FINALISTA DEL MARATHON BIKE CUP)
M8 – OSS AGOSTINO _ GSA PENNE SPRINT (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEL RAMPITEK)
WM1 – PARISI MARA _ U.C.D. RIONERO IL VELOCIFERO (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEI PARCHI NATURALI)
WM2 – CICCONE ANNA _ ASD LOCOROTONDO (FINALISTA DEL CHALLENGE XCP MTB PUGLIA)
WM3 – DE LORENZO POZ LUISA _ ASD TEAM ESTEBIKE ZORDAN (FINALISTA DEL TROFEO DEL RAMPITEK)
In the race reserved for the Paralympic athletes, the athletes win the race on the Gran Fondo course
Pierluigi Maggio, Giuseppe Di Leo e Dario Panico.
The athletes win the jersey of Apulian Regional Champion XCM:
U23 – IVAN SCHITO – TUGLIESE
ELMT – SEMERARO ROBERTO _ TEAM ERACLE
M1 – MARTINO FILOMENA _ TEAM BIKE MARTINA FRANCA
M2 – PUGLIESE NICOLA _ TEAM ERACLE
M3 – DE IACO SALVATORE _ TEAM AURISPA
M4 – PASQUALE SEMERARO _ NEW CYCLING TEAM
M5 – LUIGI STOMEO _ MAGLIE BIKE
M6 – LUCIANO DE DONNO _ MAGLIE BIKE
M7 – VITTORIO PICCOLI _ TEAM BIKE MARTINA FRANCA
M8 – GIUSEPPE LAZZAZZARA _ TEAM FAUSTO COPPI ACQUAVIVA
WM – CICCONE ANNA _ ASD LOCOROTONDO