2005 Taipei World Inline Cup Marathon:
Theresa Cliff Returns to Form
Fila International has once again become the team to beat in the World Inline Cup.
With a strong showing in today's inline marathon in Taipei, the team reclaimed first place in the team standings, a position it held from start to finish in last year's World Cup.
Fila's Luca Saggiorato came up with a powerful sprint to win the race. His team mate Max Presti, last year's World Cup champ, finished right behind him in second.
"Fila Is Back," proclaimed the Fila web site this morning.
Fila got off to a relatively slow start this year. In the rain-soaked first stage of the World Cup last week in Seoul, it managed only a tie for second place with Rollerblade.
But Fila showed today that it remains a powerhouse and will be tough to contain in 2005.
The race, held under hazy skies on a Taipei freeway, also showed that Bont intends to be a contender this year.
After an unimpressive showing last week in Seoul, the team placed three skaters in the top fifteen. First across the line for the team was Luca Presti (Max's younger brother), who finished third.
KIA Motor's Theresa Cliff, last year's top-ranked women's skater, also had a good day in Taipei.
After an uncharacteristic 25th place finish in the rain-soaked Seoul marathon, she won in dramatic fashion, hawking two and a half wheels over the finish line just in front of Rollerblade's Laura Lardani.
Rollerblade's Jorge Botero did not manage to have another big day like last week in Seoul, where he finished first. But his sixth-place finish was enough for him to retain a small lead in the individual men's ranking with 165 points.
However, hot on his heels are Fila's Saggiorato and Presti, both with 155 points.
While the day belonged to Fila, Saab-Salomon also continued to exhibit its power (and the potential of its 110 mm wheels.)
Although it fell out of first place, it placed four skaters in the top ten, including Pier Davide Romani, who finished fourth.
The World Cup next moves to Europe for a 31 kilometer race in Basel, Switzerland, on April 30th.
The competition at Basel will be heated up by the presence of the strong European teams who do not send skaters to the World Cup events in Asia.
Among the European teams will be Fila Mentos. One of its members is Roger Schneider, who won the last stage of the 2004 World Cup and holds the world record for the marathon.
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Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson