Just 1-hour from Florence, the Ultra Trail Mugello is a perfect Spring race that allows one stunning trails with the option, of a short break to explore the majestic sights of Firenze.
The famous Mugello Race Circuit a great short stopping point, and if lucky, you may well find the track has an open day, allowing free access to see bikes scream around the track at high speed. On the back straight, the machines of pure power driven by men of steel can hit almost 400km before the brakes are slammed on reducing the speed to take the tight right hand bend – the drivers almost lying on the ground. It’s a sight to behold.
Over the Passo del Giogo and then a twisty descent to Moscheta and the Badia di Moscheta, the home of the Ultra Trail Mugello. The restaurant here most certainly a reason to visit in its own right, arguably, the best homemade pasta I have tasted with Ragu sauce to die for. Flanked by the Moscheta Abbey, the start and the finish of the 23 and 60km races, this is a stunning location. On site is a ‘Dormire’ providing limited accommodation for those lucky enough to obtain a room. The area has many notable marks in history, the most interesting for me was the inspiration for ‘Dante’ the author, and his book Inferno.
Nestled in a valley, it feels like one is submerged in verdant vegetation, with every shade of green possible.
The ‘Mugello’ team headed by Piero and Giovanni are warm and welcoming, immediately they make you feel at home and it’s easy to see why this race has grown over the years as a kick-start for many a racing year – it feels like home.
Organisation is superb with over 200 staff looking after some 700+ runners. It’s the attention to detail that matters. Everyone is important. A superbly marked route, incredible safety with mountain/ medical teams situated throughout the route; the UTM is a race that immediately makes you feel confident.
Runners arrive in Moscheta on Saturday, the day before the race, and a compulsory briefing by Piero and Giovanni sets the scene for the following day’s 0600 start for the 60km and 0900 start for the 23km.
The 60km Race
Course record holder, Luca Carrara of team Salomon dictated the early pace forging ahead with Riccardo Montani and the race favourite, Franco Collè winner of the Tor des Geants 2018. The early hours were shrouded in dense mist and rain, a stark contrast to the previous days glorious sunshine.
The trio worked together for much of the first ⅓ of the race and then Franco made his move. He pushed away looking calm and relaxed and soon opened a 7-minute gap on the two chasers.
Passing through Diacci and the impressive waterfall, the writing was on the wall and the question was now, who would place 2nd and 3rd?
As the rain started to fall hard and ice fell from the sky, Riccardo was laying the foundations for the 2nd rung on the podium as he opened a gap on the course record holder, Luca.
But with 5km to go, disaster struck. Franco was plagued by stomach issues causing intense discomfort. He tried to push on but with the finish so close, he was forced to retire in a medical vehicle. This opened the door for the young Riccardo who elevated the new CR to 5:40 (10 minutes quicker) and obtained the cash price for his efforts. Luca came 2nd in 5:45 and in 3rd, Mirko Cocco.
Cecilia Pedroni of Team Serim ignored the reputation of the 2x UTM winner, Cristiana Follador Team La Sportiva, and started the race from the front. She quickly built a 2-minute lead and one wondered if a new champion was in the making?
With 35km of the route covered, Cristiana’s experience and course knowledge started to show. She had reeled in Cecilia and was now forging ahead of all the women and making an impact on the mens race. By Diaci, the lead was extended to 10-minutes and by the arrival at the monastery, her finish time was 6:58, 18-minutes ahead of Cecilia who ran a solid race for 2nd. Giulia Gallo rounded out the podium in 8:27.
The 23km Race
Gabriele Pace Team Salomon won the race in 2:01 with Jacopo Mantovani in 2:10:19 for 2nd and Gheduzzi 3rd just seconds later. The runners a long way off Marco De Gaperi’s course record of 1:51.
Denisa Dragomir of Team Serim was the pre-race favourite and she did not disappoint completing the distance in 2:12 arriving fourth overall. Local favourite, Geneva Cusseau raced hard, rallied by the competition from Denisa. She crossed the line for 2nd in 2:23, bettering her previous best for the route by a large margin.Giulia Marchesoni was 3rd in 2:28.
The race is included in the Skyrunning Italy series circuit and from a score increased by 25%, the winners are Riccardo Montani and Cristiana Follador.
UltraTrail 2019 60KM
1.Cristiana Follador (Team La sportiva) – 6:58:59
2.Cecilia Pedroni (Team Serim) – 7:18:06
3.Giulia Gallo (Team UTR) – 8:27:22
1. Riccardo Montani (Team Salomon) – 5:40:20 (record percorso)
2. Luca Carrara (Team Salomon) – 5:45:45
3. Domenico Giosi (Team Columbia) – 6:11:46
Mugello Trail 2019 23 KM
1. Denise Dragomir (Team Serim) – 2:12:07 (record percorso)
2. Ginevra Cusseau (Team Prozis-Mugello Outdoor) – 2:23:14
3. Giulia Marchesoni (Atletica Clarina Trento) – 2:28:52
1’ Gabriele Pace (Team Salomon) – 2:01:40
2’ Jacopo Mantovani (Team Sasso Marconi) – 2:10:19
3’ Roberto Gheduzzi (Team Hoka One One) – 2:10:44
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