World champion Marga Fullana led from the first climb of four laps around the tough Sarentino World Cup course. The gap over her Specialized teammate and reigning World Cup champion Barbara Blatter grew steadily from a handful of seconds to over a minute by the end. American Alison Dunlap (GT) rode a steady race, maintaining third place throughout and keeping Blatter within 20-30 seconds until the final lap, when she fell over a minute behind the Swiss wearing the World Cup leader’s jersey. The other North American, Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen), fell steadily back from the top five to finish 10th.
The world champion, whose power is unquestioned but whose technical skills are a bit suspect, was aided by a last-minute course change on a steep technical downhill. She had been among a number of women complaining that the “Hölle” drop was too dangerous, and the pole was moved inward a meter, making a rather heart-stopping drop over some large rocks and roots into a straightforward slither down loose dirt.