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Themes:     Leading Bike (20)    Sport & Health (31)  
Tags:    Biking     Celebrities
Maria Canins Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sport. Hard work. Climbing. My passion.

Taking up strength and resistance sports came easily to me. It’s only natural, living in a mountain region, surrounded by my very own natural gym. Sport has always gifted me with incredible emotions and, on top of that, allows me to be in touch with nature. My professional career kicked off with fell running. I took delight in running on the mountains and seeing the landscape rushing by in a blur.
Sport. Hard work. Climbing. My passion.
“You never know if you’re to win or lose until you reach the finishing line. That’s what makes sport so much fun”.
As a young girl, I used to do a lot of alpine skiing and then moved on to cross-country skiing. Bruno, my husband, introduced me to the sport, as he was a cross-country skier in the police sport club. Skiing gave me the opportunity to see the world. I explored Oslo in occasion of the World Championships and visited Sarajevo for the competitions in the run-up to the Olympic Games. Many victories and personal achievements followed, such as the 15 Italian victories, the ten Marcialonga victories, gold medal at the Vasaloppet and many others. My heart, however, belongs to road cycling. 
I stumbled upon the world of cycling with an open, curious attitude and without giving it much consideration. During the hot summer months, biking complemented my training regime in the absence of cross-country skiing. Biking has a certain je ne sais quoi and, to me, is a big game where you never know if you’re to win or lose until the end. 
I did not have to wait too long for the very first achievements. I started competing with my racing bicycle in 1982 and placed second at the World Championship in England. Some of the sweetest memories I cherish come from when I competed in Colorado, Norway, the Tour the France, the Los Angeles (1984) and Seul (1988) Olympic Games . 
The memories I have of my five Tour De France are still very dear to me. I won twice and the remaining times I was placed second. At my first Tour, I found myself with the great Hinault on the podium at the Champs-Élysées. The Tour, even if gruelling, was fascinating and interesting. You lived out of your suitcases for three weeks. The turnout was incredible and the crowd was amazing: we competed before the men and everyone had their eyes on us, they were cheering us on. A lot can happen in three weeks and, even when you’re in the lead by several minutes, you are still terribly apprehensive. The following year, my second Tour victory, was just as surreal and indescribable as my first. I was on the podium with LeMond. Another incredible moment has to be the World team time trial; however, this discipline isn’t all fun and games. We lost out on the gold medal by a mere 0.2 seconds. To experience so many different scenarios can only enrich you. 
Sport is your companion through life and teaches you so much. I’ve met so many people over the years who have given me their love and support. 
Road cycling gave way to mountain biking, with more technical and different races to road cycling competitions.  However, it did not leave me stuck in a rut and rewarded me with a number of personal achievements, winning different races, and the World Championships twice. 
Training in the Dolomites has always driven me onwards and never been a big sacrifice. I loved looking at the changing landscape as seasons came and went. I left my tracks on the same trail many times, but this only enabled me to fully appreciate the beauty of my surroundings. Hills have always been where I performed best, and I always rode out of the saddle (honking) and, to this date, I still relish a good uphill climb,
I’m still biking and I try to get more and more people involved, to experience our mountains and land and try to instil in them the idea  of how beautiful, and passionate sport can be. Time blurs into insignificance when I ride and sport has become my daily medicine to feel happy and healthy.

Maria Canins
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