Remember Jamie Burrow? The former British professional who rode for US Postal Service with Lance Armstrong and then for Amore e Vita in Italy, is now a leading professional sportive rider and won the Maratona dles Dolomites event in Italy on Sunday.
Burrow is now 32 but is still enjoying his riding and competes in sportives for the Merckx-Tuttosport Italian team this year along with fellow former pro Tim Jones of Zimbabwe.
Burrow was always a talented climber and has now used that ability to do well in the long hard Italian sportives.
The Maratona dles Dolomites is a huge event in Italy, with live television coverage on national television. 20,000 people apply to ride each year but only 9000 lucky people get one of the start numbers and a chance to ride either the 55km, 106km or 138km courses.
The distances are short by sportive standards but the routes include legendary climbs in the Dolomites such as the Passo Pordoi, the Passo Sella, Passo Gardena, the Passo Giau and the Passo Falzarego. They offer a spectacular backdrop and a special day in the saddle.
Burrow won the 138km distance ahead of Italian Alfonso Falzarano. The two broke away on the Falzarego and then Burrow beat him the sprint by diving first in the last corner.
Burrow recently finished second in the Nove Colli sportive held in Marco Pantani’s home town of Cesenatico in May and targeted the Maratona dles Dolomites.
“This was the one I wanted. It’s the biggest event in Italy and so is very important to the team. It’s held on an amazing course but unfortunately I didn’t get chance to see much of because I was going so hard.”
“Riding sportives is different to racing with the pros because we go hard from the start but the level is really high in Italy because there are a lot of ex-pro riding.”
The Maratona always attracts hundreds of British riders – including a large contingent riding in Cycling Weekly colours – and some VIPs who suffer on the climbs but love cycling.
This year James Murdoch, the CEO of News International rode the 106km distance finishing in just over seven hours. Murdoch’s love of cycling was a key factor in Sky agreeing to sponsoring the British Team Sky in 2010. He has already ridden on the track in Manchester and now has had a taste of sportive.