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Marie Claire Aquilina in top form on Sicilian soil, eyes Tour ta’ Malta

Team Greens athlete Marie Claire Aquilina sealed her mark at the Granfondo Della Ceramica in Santo Stefano di Camastra last Sunday.

The multiple national champion and Tour ta’ Malta winner pulled an impressive ride in the 103km race to win the highly-contested race.

The race course featured two major climbs of 9km and 15kms where Aquilina made use of her current fine form and superb descending skills to drop her rivals to finish the race in 3:13:03 gaining over 15 minutes on Sicilian athletes Lucia Asero and Savina Nizzi.

New Greens signing Juleanne Vassallo also finished a respectable fifth place and winning her age group category.

“It was nice to be back at Granfondo racing in Sicily. I really missed the long climbs and the exhilarating downhills and scenery. Today I managed to turn a harder gear on the climbs and that made all the difference. It was a good test before the Tour which is really good for morale,” said Aquilina.

Team Greens veteran rider Etienne Bonello, who is also overseeing the athletes’ training, remarked that the race was a good measure for the team’s progress, noting the lack of racing Granfondos in Sicily due to the pandemic.

“We haven’t been racing like this for two years and we did lack a bit of confidence in the beginning but by the end we got the hang of it like the old days,” Bonello said.

“Racing is the best kind of training and we plan to increase our international participation in the future.” 

Team Greens, who this year boosted its line up with a series of new signings, were represented by Etienne Bonello, Reuben Colombo, Nicholas Schembri, Gesred Borg, Joseph Micallef, Marie Claire Aquilina and Juleanne Vassallo.

The race was in preparation for the Tour of Malta which will return after two year hiatus due to the pandemic between April 15 and 17.

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