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Watch: Miżieb attracts record-breaking crowd for Cisk 0.0 cross-country national point series

Determined performance from Luke Borg as he takes first win of the season

The unforgiving terrain of Miżieb woodland did not act as a deterrent for over 100 riders who signed up to take part in the inaugural race of the 2023  mountain bike cross-country season. Known for its tough terrain, Miżieb is famed for its technical turns, steep uphills, and single tracks which make it more challenging for riders who attempt to secure a place in the front of the pack.  

Luke Borg won the Elite Category, a marked improvement from last year’s performance where there was no sight of the podium, for him,  on the same course. This year’s race was different. An aggressive approach from Borg from the word ‘go’,  saw him take the lead and keep it until the end in spite of attempts from experienced Elite riders like Mark Zammit, Mark Bonnici, Brandon Sultana, and Maurice Formosa. By the first lap, Borg was in front followed by Stefan Scerri, Maurice Formosa, Mark Bonnici, Jason Vella, and Mark Zammit. With Scerri, Bonnici, and current National Champion Mark Zammit falling foul of punctures, the top three riders aiming for the podium were Borg, in the lead followed by veteran Formosa and Vella, who took the respective places on the Elite Podium.

In the Ladies’ race, veteran rider known for her fearless yet composed riding, Marie Claire Aquilina effortlessly flew at the front ahead of Diana Muscat and Lara Buttigieg who finished in second and third place respectively.

The Sport Category was won by newcomer Keith Bartolo. Taking the lead from the start, he had to contend with more experienced riders like Darren Sultana who from the second lap, gave Bartolo a good run.  Only four seconds separated the two as they completed the four-lap course, with Bartolo sealing his first podium on his debut. He was joined by Sultana and Josmar Vella. 

Stephen Grima claimed honours in the 40+ category fighting off attempts from Alex Portelli and Gordon Zahra who finished second and third. The 50+ category was won by Carmelo Abela, who moved up into this category this year.  Abela had a comfortable win ahead of Ethan Salter and Bruno Mahsoudi. 

In the youth categories, Justin Micallef competed in the U19 category, whilst Ryan Gatt, Chylen Fava, and Nathan Goodhand completed the U17 Boys podium. Despite their young age, the U15 boys category, which saw a large number of riders taking part, was a highly competitive affair. Liam Daly took and maintained the lead from the start ahead of  Neil Cassar and Daniel Luke Spiteri. In the girls’ category Zia Fuji and Nina Debono Curmi started off head to head, though Fuji eventually took the lead to win. In third place was Katie Anne Vella Wood.  The final categories for the day were the U12 Boys and Girls.  Zac Bugeja had a close race with Oliver Buccheri. Bugeja’s advantage in the first lap saw him seal the win for the day ahead of Buccheri and Jurgen Mercieca.  In the girls’ category, Kim Micallef Cann took the win one second ahead of Mikela Ann Spiteri and ten seconds ahead of Mickaya Fava.

The Cisk 0.0 XC National Points Series is sponsored by the award-winning alcohol-free beer Cisk 0.0, Gatorade, and San Michel and is supported by IDMatch Bike Lab. The Association also thanked the FKNK for their support.

The second race of the Cisk 0.0 XC National Points Series will take place on Sunday 19th February in Mġarr.

Race Registration and Information can be found on https://www.maltamountainbike.org.mt/.

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