28th Mar 2019
Maltese mountain bikers keep on etching their names in history on foreign soil. This time round it was Marie Claire Aquilina (Team Greens) who did Malta proud when she was the first female to cross the line at the Grand Fondo Valle dei Vini, in Sambuca, Sicily.
Aquilina needs no introduction and is considered to be one of Malta’s best and most versatile cyclists, claiming titles in both mountain biking and road cycling events, locally and abroad.
The race saw Aquilina join around 700 cyclists from all over Italy to take part in a 44 kilometre route which took riders up an elevation of 1,600 metres in altitude. The technical route saw 44% of it having a vertical climb with some sections having a maximum gradient of 24%. 35% of the route consisted of a technical downhills.
The route saw the cyclists leave the town of Sambuca and head towards a challenging climb followed by a series of curves and cross roads through a pine forest. Whilst enjoying spectacular views of the Belice Valley, the route followed a succession of fast paths and wide descents. After about 16km, a demanding descent on loose gravel terrain and a single track ensued. A fast track followed with cyclists descending on chalky soil before heading back into the woods. A single asphalted track led to the finish line in Sambuca.
Malta was also represented by Mark Micallef (The Cyclist), Patrick Scicluna (FRM Team Sicilia) and Justin Gauci (Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club) who all fared well in their respective classes.
The riders’ next commitment will be the third race of the Trustmoore Cross Country National Point Series scheduled to take place in Selmun on Sunday 7th April. For more information please visit www.maltamountainbike.org