Desert Hospitality, Perfect Weather And A Short But Intense Route
A short 21-kilometer prologue officially opened the 2019, fifth edition of the Israeli Desert Singles Marathon.
This is the first year in which the Samarathon is officially recognized by the UCI as a multi-stage mountain bike marathon. As a result the event has grown to 4 days of riding, in which the first stage is a short and intensive prologue that determines the placing order for tomorrows' first stage.
From the visitors' center in Kibbutz Ketura, the pairs left a minute apart from each other, out directly to a short desert double track that took the riders north-west along the fence of Kibbutz Ketura, continuing to a quick single track taking them south along the foot of the cliffs.
The "Dragon" singletrack was built by local riders along wild animal and goat paths: a part flowing, part very technical track, forcing riders to be very precise and focused on line selection. After a short ride on the oil pipeline route, the track returned to the single, which quickly became fast and flowing.
After crossing the "Mapaltayim" stream bed riders climbed "Grofit" singletrack which was newly renovated. The sweeping single took the riders to a beautiful observation point above the Arava Valley and "Shayarot" cliffs.
A moderate climb brought the riders to the first level of these cliffs and from there to a quick technical descent south, back to the"Grofit" singletrack and from there back to the visitors' center and the finish line.
1st Place: Shlomi Haimy, Guy Sessler
2nd Place: Cory Wallece, Soren Nissen
3rd Place: Ori Leonzini, Tomer Zaltsman
1st Place: Naama Noyman, Gali Weiberg
2nd Place: Nathali Shneitter, Nora Korem
3rd Place: Sandi Griffin, Silke Lehnhof
1st Place: Frederic Gomber, Sohie Giobane
2nd Place: Ilan Edelson, Debora Ohayon
3rd Place: Maran Feller, Eloda Ohayon
Grand Masters 50+
1st Place: Marcel Hofmann, Rigo Shcultz
2nd Place: Gil Kashi, Ronen Shirizly
3rd Place: Gil Ishinsky, Oran Uzrad
1st Place: Lior Zach Maor, Lior Zehave
2nd Place: Yuval Rozentzvig, Lior Haklai
3rd Place: Roy Haker, Daniel Zigmond
Samarathon is a desert singles marathon celebrating its fifth year in 2019. It is one of the most unique and beautiful stages in the world. In the middle of February, when winter is at its peak, cyclists from all over the world enjoy perfect weather and a unique balance between a relaxed desert atmosphere and tough riding on ancient singles and trails forged by camel caravans and adapted to cyclists by the talented builders of Kibbutz Samar and Regev Infrastructures and Development.
The Marathon is a professional four-stage cycling competition that draws the best riders in Israel every year. This year there are 350 riders participating in the race, including 30 riders from abroad.
[We'll have a full race report from Cory Wallace at the finish of the event so watch out for that.]
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