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Alta Badia
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Maria Canins, or the"FLYING MUM"!

The Alta Badia valley is proud to count a good number of local athletes amongst its population who, with their victories, make a decisive contribution towards bringing it to the fore of national and international interest.

The person who has best represented and continues to represent the Alta Badia valley, not only in sport, but above all from the human point of view, is Maria Canins. An athlete of great value, but above all with an incredible willpower, she began to appear on the competitive scene when other athletes of her age had reached the peak of their careers, making a name for herself and competing in arduous and tiring disciplines such as cycling and Nordic skiing. She certainly never thought that she would win two Tours de France when, at twenty, she spent her days divided between her job as a cook in a guest-house in the Valley and long and tiring "races" up and down the impassable paths against the splendid backdrop of the Dolomites. It was her husband, Bruno Bonaldi, who realized that Maria had considerable athletic capabilities: after a whole day's work, she still found the strength and the energy to cover distances and routes like a professional. Supported and encouraged by her husband, who has been her trainer throughout her sensational career, she set off on a new adventure which in a very short time took her to the world summit in her respective categories, winning coveted and prestigious competitions.

But Maria's great merit has not been bringing home so many victories but having taught us that you can become a great champion not only in sport but in life by keeping that simplicity, humility and sincerity that have always been hers.


Some of Maria Canins' most important victories:



2 Tours of France

2 Tours of the Aude

2 Tours of Norway

1 Tour of Colorado

1 Tour of Italy

1 Tour of the Drôme

4 Tours of the Adriatic

2 time trial victories in the French Grand Prix

4 international time trial victories, Les Herbieres

1 Tour of Sicily

6 times Italian road-cycling champion

4 times Italian time trials champion

Once Italian track-cycling champion

Once Italian Cross Country M.T.B. champion

Twice World Cross Country M.T.B. champion

Once 50 km. time trial relay World Champion

3 times silver medallist in the World Championships

Twice bronze medallist in the World Championships

2 Olympic appearances: Los Angeles (arriving in fifth position)

and Seoul (group final sprint)

1 Maratona dles Dolomites (Sellaronda)

1 Maratona dles Dolomites (Middle distance)

She has also come second 83 times:

3 Tours of France

1 Tour of Colorado

1 Tour of Norway

1 Tour of the Aude

1 Tour of Italy


Nordic skiing

15 times Italian champion in the various distances

10 consecutive victories in the "Marcialonga" race

12 victories in the Pusteria Ski Marathon

7 victories in the Dobbiaco - Cortina race

8 victories in the Val Casies marathon

1 victory in the legendary Vasaloppet race (Sweden)

1982 - Czechoslovakia: best female placing in the Nordic skiing world cup

1982 - Took part in the World Championships in Oslo

1983 - Took part in the pre-Olympics in Sarajevo, coming in the first ten

11 times Veteran World Champion (over 30)

1997 - World Champion in the Winter Triathlon




Do you have any advice for those who are taking part in this outstanding sporting event for the first time?
First of all, you have to decide straight away the route and the mileage you want to cover. The Sella Ronda is an easy route, the middle one requires more substantial training and for the marathon route you need a more suitable preparation, not only to obtain a good result in terms of time, but merely to enjoy yourself and not arrive in Corvara exhausted, but pleased and happy. You have to start with a bicycle in excellent condition. It is important to look at the altimetries beforehand to choose the gear ratios to use. I would advise gear ratios ranging from 39 – 29 or for those who have a more modern bike, a 34, which will be a 26-27 or even a 29. This way you can enjoy yourself without massacring your legs. Our Dolomite passes can all be easily climbed by bike. On the Gardena pass we have an average gradient of 6/7 %, the Sella reaches 8 %, the Giau, which is the hardest of all is 10% and the Falzarego is about 6 %. The average gradients are not impossible, but you have to remember that the Dolomite passes are quite long and that more or less half of the route to be covered is uphill. So good training to cope with the ascents is an absolute must.


How much training do you need to take on the medium or long route?
First of all, you have to train to stay in the saddle for several hours. It takes at least 5/6 hours to cover the medium route. You have to train to resist staying seated in the saddle for such a long time. You naturally need more suitable training for the long route, because you have to add on two or three hours. That said, you have to have a flair for ascents.
I would also advise everyone taking part in the Maratona dles Dolomites to enjoy the breathtaking scenery around them. Along the route we see some of the finest mountains in the Dolomites, such as the group of the Sella, the Marmolada, the Sassolungo, the Col di Lana, the Tofane and the Conturines. I would also recommend, in the days leading up to the marathon, looking at a map to learn the names of the places and mountains. An idea of the geography and possibly of the culture of the Ladino valleys as well certainly does no harm. To avoid reaching the finishing line at Corvara exhausted, you should stop for a few moments at the refreshment points which are in very panoramic areas. The refreshment points also have lots of succulent dishes, there are local cakes that make my mouth water just thinking about them. They are nice to look at and to taste. And letting the body rest for a little while can only do good.

What should we pack?
I strongly advise packing some warm clothes, such as leggings, muffs or a pair of full gloves not with cut-off fingers, a warm headband and a woollen or thermal fabric vest, as well as a raincape. There have been times when the temperature was just above zero at the starting line and standing still there for more than half an hour becomes a problem. Setting off warm is definitely an advantage for our body.


A wish for the future?
I hope that the Maratona continues to be so important. Unfortunately, with the restricted number of entries, all the thousands of cyclists who would like to come back year after year cannot always be satisfied. Maybe in the future a solution for this disadvantage can be found. This year something has already been done in this direction, suggesting another day dedicated to bicycles, with the Sella Ronda Bike Day, which will be held a week after the race. On that day, the Dolomite passes around the Sella group will be closed to traffic for the joy of all cycling fans. A small non-competitive alternative to the Maratona for those who were excluded from the draw this year.