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The new adventure of the Wilier-Vittoria MTB Factory Team has officially begun with a double event, involving both cross-country girls and boys, as well as marathon riders. The former flew to the Middle East for the HERO Abu Dhabi, while the latter were at the Mediterranean Epic in Oropesa del Mar, in a classic early-season competition.

Podiums may not have been secured, but numerous Top 5 finishes offer promising signs for the upcoming events. At the Mediterranean Epic, Samuele Porro and Daniel Geismayr immediately tested themselves in the 4-day Spanish race, demonstrating their comfort on the trails and climbs of this part of the Valencian Community. In the overall standings, the rider from Como finished 4th, while the Austrian closely followed in 5th place.

"The Mediterranean Epic has always been the ideal race to assess how the winter training has gone," explained Porro. "I'm pleased with the indications regarding my form and how I interpreted the race over the 4 days. The goal now is the Andalucia Bike Race (February 26 - March 2, ndr), and I'm sure there will be plenty of fun."

"The fifth place satisfies me after 4 really tough days," added Geismayr. "It was a good test to understand how the body reacted and to adapt to the new equipment. I received confirmation of the good work done this winter, but I also realized that there is still a lot of room for improvement in condition."

On the other hand, Giada Specia and Sofie Pedersen secured 4th and 5th places, respectively, in both the XC short circuit and XCO in Abu Dhabi. Simone Avondetto also placed 5th in the men's XCO.

"The feelings are positive; these races are meant to find rhythm, although it's clear that the preparation needs a bit more refining to reach the intensity that I still lack," said Giada Specia. "It wasn't a course suitable for my characteristics, with little elevation gain, and we remained grouped for long stretches. But precisely for this reason, I believe the signals are more than encouraging for what awaits me in the coming weeks."

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