Ramona Forchini became last October the fourth Swiss woman to win a marathon MTB World Championship title, after Petra Henzi, Esther Süss and Jolanda Neff. A big surprise for the St. Gallen champion who was just recovering from health problems but who demonstrates her exceptional potential in the discipline. If her XCO calendar allows her to take the start, she will undoubtedly be among the favourites for a European medal in Evolène.
The season ended beautifully with this world championship title, but things didn’t start so well. Can you tell us more about this infection that disrupted your season and prevented you from racing until September?
The year 2020 has been difficult. Not only did the corona change our race schedule, but a forced two-month break also thwarted my plans. I got the new season off to a perfect start in the spring with another victory in the Mediterranean epic overall standings. This was directly followed by the confinement. I was able to use this period to work on my basic form. But just before the racing season resumed in July, I suffered a swelling of the lymph nodes accompanied by an abscess in my thigh. After much reflection, I refused the recommended surgery. I knew it was a risky decision, but it didn’t seem like a good solution. The surgery would have ended my season anyway, so why not try something else?
After an alternative treatment of the lymphatic system, things actually improved. And I was allowed to do a couple of training sessions as a test phase. The whole situation has remained stable.
last year you participated in your first Swiss Mountain Bike Marathon Championship in Scuol. What was your experience in this discipline so far?
I have proven several times that I am able to achieve good results over long distances with little specific preparation.But for this Swiss championship, I had another objective. It should be the “new entry into the season” so that I could get back into the rhythm of the races and see how I was doing after this forced break.
After a rather successful European XC Championship, you went to Turkey to participate in the Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships. What was your goal at the start?
The selection for the European Championships at home surprised me. And my result, with a 12th place, was even more surprising. There I realized that I could weigh on the race again. And then I was selected for the world championships in Turkey. To tell the truth, I didn’t have a real goal. I just wanted to do another race, because I missed it so much. And I wanted to experience something new.
You then had a great race and finally won the sprint in front of Maja Włoszczowska, former XCO and marathon world champion. How did you handle the end of the race against such an experienced rider?
As the race progressed, the leading group became smaller and smaller. Until it was just Maja and me. Of course, you feel tiny next to a multiple world champion and Olympic medallist. But that was no reason not to try everything!
You had already won the U23 XCO World Championship in 2015. Can you compare these two titles?
For me, the two world titles have the same value. At a world championship, there are always all the athletes who think they have a chance of winning a medal – in other words, the best in the world are present. It doesn’t matter what age group or discipline. It is therefore not possible to make a comparison.
Between the XCO and the marathon, the 2021 season is going to be busy… Will the European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Evolène find a place in your calendar?
I am very excited to see how the 2021 season will unfold. At the moment, it is still difficult to know when the saion will start. So I have to stay flexible and take race after race. Of course I would like to participate to these European Championships which will take place on home soil. It remains to be seen to what extent I will be able to reconcile this with the XCO calendar.