Bartlomiej Wawak won an exciting final of the 4th stage, while Blaza Pinteric dominated from start to finish in each of the races
Between the 26th and 29th of January, around 500 participants had the chance to enjoy and suffer (in equal measure) at the 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote, organised by Club La Santa, which this year was classified as category UCI S1. Elite and amateur athletes alike were able to challenge themselves, cycling in a race where 90% of the course was off-road, incorporating asphalt roads, sand, lava fields and dirt roads on the northern side of the island.
The huge participation in the event this year demonstrates the success achieved by the 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote in its previous editions. It attracted more than just local athletes, with most of the participants coming from other countries, attracted by an event that continues to improve every year, and that takes place against the spectacular backdrop of Lanzarote European Sports Destination.
The first stage started out with a respite from the wind and from the sun, which was hidden behind the clouds. This allowed the race to develop at a fast pace over the course of its 42 km, with Ben Zwiehoff from Germany, Bartlomiej Wawak from Poland and Jonas Lindberg from Denmark leading the race ahead of a second group, which included the four-time winner of the event, the Spaniard Sergio Mantecón, among other favourites to take the title. Over the course of the race, the second group managed to get closer to the lead group, but could not prevent the Polish Wawak from taking the win in a close sprint, followed by Lindberg and Zwiehoff, in second and third place respectively. The women’s category was won by the Slovenian Blaza Pintaric, who completely dominated the event, coming in four minutes ahead of her closest follower, Chiara Teocchi from Italy, followed by Fabienne Schaus from Luxembourg.
The mild temperatures and low wind speeds continued into the almost 60 km of the second stage, once again highlighting the ideal conditions the island offers to athletes who want to start their European competition season in an ideal destination for training. The second day was marked by a rapid pace from all participants, with Wawak triumphing once again, coming in ahead of the Austrian Karl Markt and Lindberg from Denmark, who once again found himself on the podium, this time in third place. The differences in time between the leaders were minimal, and despite Wawak leading the way, there were many cyclists who still aspired to snatch that first place position away from him. The top 10 athletes represented 8 different nationalities. In the women’s category, Blaza Pintaric was already positioned as the undisputed favourite to be the overall winner, after once again coming in first in a race that she dominated from start to finish, with the other participants not being given a chance. Once again she came in more than 4 minutes ahead of her closest follower, Malene Degn from Denmark, who had fully recovered from the fall she suffered in the first stage. The surprise came from Kerry MacPhee, who managed to take the final place on the podium, following a hard-fought finish.
The third stage of the 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote was an extremely demanding 21 km ascent time trial that started at Famara beach and ended at Ermita de las Nieves, and which was made even tougher by the strong winds that buffeted some parts of the course. The young Italian Nadir Colledani was the protagonist of the day, winning the time trial against the race leader, Bartlomiej Wawak, with a time of 51:18, against the 51:26 clocked by the Pole. This difference of 8 seconds earned him first place in the general classification, leaving everything open for the last day. In the women’s category, Pinteric once again demonstrated her dominance in the race, earning first place on a podium that was completed by Schaus and MacPhee, in second and third place respectively.
More than 80 kilometres was waiting for them in the last stage, with over 1,700 metres of elevation gain, made more difficult by the strong winds that Lanzarote woke up to. Never before has the final day of the 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote been so open, which meant that tactics, positioning and knowledge of the terrain, contributing to saving as much energy as possible, were key factors in the race. A group of 11 racers escaped from the rest of the competitors when they arrived at Presa de Mala, where the organisers had created a special timed section in the ascent, with prizes for the best times. After topping the most difficult pass of the event, a fast descent began, which Wout Alleman took advantage of in order to attack the course on his own, looking for a win in this final stage. But the difficulty of tackling the course alone and the push of the chasing group, which included all contenders for the final victory, meant that he was eventually caught in the final kilometres. Wawak then launched an attack, as he had done on every other day, which got a response from the leader of the overall race, the Italian Colledani. However, he could not keep up with the high pace imposed by the Pole.
Bartlomiej Wawak therefore took a more than deserved overall victory in the 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote, after demonstrating his superiority over the course of the different stages, despite the small margins. The overall podium was completed by Colledani in second place and Ben Zwiehoff in third place. The women’s category was, of course, topped by Blaza Pinteric, after winning all 4 stages, and demonstrating complete dominance in each one. There was more excitement centred on the fight for second and third place in the general standings, which were ultimately secured by Kerry MacPhee and Fabienne Schaus, respectively.
Another successful edition of the Club La Santa 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote was thus wrapped up, staying faithful to the format that has made it grow year after year. Its position has now become consolidated in the international calendar. The guarantee of a great event, spectacular routes and the peculiarities of competing on an island like Lanzarote have made it an unmissable event at the start of the season.
You can view the full results of the Club La Santa 4 Stage MTB Race Lanzarote here.