2nd June 2011
It’s time once more for what would be number one in my book for the title of most infuriating race on the calendar, the second running of the Muri Fermani. This race has so much potential, it could easily become one of the most exciting races of the year, the solution is obvious to everyone who looks, but, but, but, but. I’ll stop before I become all Edgar Kennedy. On with the details.
I 7 Muri Fermani is a 148km cyclosportif event on Friday morning that starts and ends in the historic town of Fermo. The course consists of two loops: a large one of some 90 odd kms that travels down to the sea and up into the hills of the Marche to give the race some distance (the profile is deceptive – Monterubbiano is 12,5km at an average of 3,6%, Belmonte 3,2 km at 5%) , then a shorter one over a series of seven hills closer to Fermo which are steep and sharp, with gradients up to 21% and give the race its nickname "Our Flanders". For karaoke fans, this map from the organisers traces things out nicely, and if you prefer your pictures to move a bit more then you might enjoy this video of Gibo Simoni, Giorgia Bronzini and Claudio Chaippucci riding the key parts. Here’s the profile, and if you want to watch the GF then they are streaming it live at getby.it and have even hired a helicopter to get better pictures.
Then at 3pm the women’s race, the Muri Fermani Gianmarco Lorenzi Forza Marina kicks off, and if you wonder what my first paragraph was all about then watch the video highlights from last year. Because instead of using that great course, they instead rode a dozen or so times around a car-park at the foot of Fermo before blasting up the last of those 7 Muri to the finish line in the centre of town. Now this year it looks like the message is starting to get through. Sort of. Now they only ride 8 times round the car-park before heading off on a slightly different circuit which I believe leads to the old station and back, and that they ride four times. It’s ever so slightly more inclined than the car-park circuit, but we’re talking in degrees of false flat. Once again the organisers have a nice karaoke version of the map posted.
Expect to see a lot of Forza Marina flags around. Fermo is her home town, the Granfondo and women’s race are run by Pedale Fermano Eventi, boss Giordano Romoli, her dad, and I believe that the women’s race came about in a large part from Marina’s efforts. She’ll be there as official starter and the event will be looking to raise funds for her foundation.
Last year’s winner, Giorgia Bronzini won’t be there because she’s on her US road trip, but the start-list looks pretty respectable, and stronger than last year when it clashed with a few other races. And if you look at last years’ top 3 of sprinter Bronzini, followed by two climbers in Eleonora Patuzzo and Marta Vilajosana then it’s hard to make any predictions about who could win. Fermo’s not the Muur of Huuy, but it has a couple of tricky sections. This is just a domestic Italian race, so the only non-Italian team present is Diadora Pasta Zara, and they’re only non-Italian on a technicality. They’ve got a really strong team here with Olga Zabelinskaya, Claudia Hausler, Alona Andruk, Inga Cilvinaite, and Eleonora Patuzzo all with a goodish chance.
The other teams are MCipollini Giambenini complete with two of their champions in Nicole Cooke and Rossella Callovi, Forno d’Asolo Colavita, Gauss Rdz Ormu Unico 1, Vaiano Tepso Solaristech , Sc Michela Fanini Record Rox , Top Girls Fassa Bortolo , Kleo Ladies Team, Team Fanini Store , Team Pcw, Team Wit A Style Us Cassina Rizzardi , Centro Sportivo Esercito (aka the Italian Army) , Cristoforetti , Giusfredi Verinlegno (Is this one of the first times that Rossella Ratto will be riding with the elite?), and the Italian National Junior Team.
And we get live coverage of this one. Should I say that again? LIVE COVERAGE. And even better, for those of you sitting behind a corporate firewall there’s not a chance that this will be on your IT blocked list. This race is going in the rightish direction. Show it a bit of support.
Logo and profile via www.7murifermani.it