Two Maltese cyclists obtain good results at UCI Gran Fondo world championships in Australia
Two Maltese cyclists, Marion Pullicino and Gerard Said qualified and participated in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships which were organised this year in Perth, Australia.
This year’s championships consisted of 2 races, a 20 km Time Trial and a Road Race.
The Time Trial was on Rottnest Island, a small island 15km off the coast of Perth which is widely known for its distinctive wildlife.
The road race started in Perth and went over the freeway towards the Kalamunda mountains. The males had to do two laps after the first passage of the finish, a total of 160 km, while the women had one lap to finish after 105km.
The level of the competitors in Perth, hailing from hundreds of different countries, was very high, as countries brought whole teams to achieve the prestigious world champion jersey. Marion Pullicino managed to place 72nd out of 197 female competitors, while Gerard Said placed 271st out of 657 male competitors.
To qualify for this event, prospective participants needed to have finished in the top 25% of finishers in the worldwide UCI Cycling Tour events. Pullicino and Said both qualified by doing a similar event in Rhodes, with Pullicino having placed 1st in her category in all three races and Said attaining 4th place in the category in two of the three races he raced there.
Rachel Darmanin coached the two athletes this year. The experience garnered from representing one’s country at such a high level such a long way away was definitely an important step in improving their results in other overseas commitments.