Almost a year on from UCI World Marathon Championships the top marathon racers returned to Roc Laissagais, the first European round of the 2017 UCI World Marathon Series. This year was the 26th edition of the event and there was a variety of distances available for all ages, disciplines and abilities. The kid’s races are well attended in France so it’s a great place to bring the whole family for a race weekend. Aveyron is also a great tourist location with picture postcard views and attractions around each corner, beautiful villages often surround historic chateaux’s and other tourist attractions
The UCI Marathon men’s race would tackle 90km and 3130m ascent, the women 69km and 2587m ascent. Laissac is a great place to ride with so many great trails but unforgiving with technical climbs and descents aplenty. The marathon course is one of the toughest and most beautiful courses in Europe. It’s a course with very little flat, always up or down, the longest of climbs was about 20 minutes but most being 5 to 10 minutes, short and sharp. The downhill trails varied from tight and twisty to open fast flowing with jumps and drops.
With the race falling just 2 weeks after the Cape Epic some key players were absent from the start line but a strong field gathered in Laissac including World, European and National champions. A fast start wasn’t enough to split the field with large groups forming at the front of the men’s race. World Champion Tiago Ferreira was alert at the front of the race from the start.
For me it was a slow day in the office. I was 10th at the first timing split but after tech zone 2 I experienced my first mechanical issue, a slow fix dropped me from the group I was with which was just chasing back to the leaders. Another issue in the middle of the race meant my head dropped, a quick stop at tech zone 6 got the problem sorted but my race was already over. Me and the support crew still had a great few days in Laissac. We love this event, the riding here, and the area, the race just didn't go well.
Back at the front of the race Tiago Ferreira claimed another victory in Laissac, is he the man to beat once again this year? Peeter Pruus was second man home with Frans Claes coming home in third. Sandra Santanyes Murillo stood on top of the women’s podium with Alice Perard and Bettina Janas on the next steps.