Fundação Renova

Biggest Mountain Bike Race In Latin America Through The New District Of Bento Rodrigues

Published in: 10/06/2022

Iron Biker Brazil , Mariana Territory

The 29th edition of Iron Biker Brasil and the 9th edition of the race in Mariana received more than 2,000 athletes who covered 150 km of trails

The Minas Gerais municipality of Mariana received, for the ninth time, the Iron Biker Brazil. The 29th edition had around 2,000 cyclists from different parts of the country. The races took place on Saturday (17) and Sunday (18), totaling approximately 150 km of trails with well-defined altimetry, to test the competitors’ endurance, high elevations and an unprecedented route in the first stage. The competition had 36 categories, including the Elite, which awarded R$ 4 thousand to the first place in the male and female categories.

In this edition, the novelty of the route took place on Sunday (18), when the participants went through the resettlement of Bento Rodrigues. The new district has been taking the form of a design developed together with the community and being increasingly appropriated by future residents, through events held by themselves. The joint work has as its objective and premise to restructure the ways of life and the organization of residents who lost their homes due to the tailings passage, after the Fundao dam collapse in 2015. 

“The passage through the resettlement is a reason for us to be very proud. [We, from Iron Biker,] suffered along with those who lived in Bento, the race was there, even before the disaster. And being able to pass now, in the new resettlement, is in fact a symbol of resignification for that place. And being able to do that through sport, through health and well-being, with Iron Biker, is very positive. We see this with great joy”, says Lucas Fonda, one of the organizers of Iron Biker Brazil.

Thiago Freitas, from Mariana, who participated in all editions of the race that took place in the municipality, praised this year’s route: “This time we enjoyed more trails, new places, which we had never been to before. Regarding the route, it was one of the best I’ve done in the city. We passed inside the new Bento and walked around the streets. We usually only see it from afar, and the race ended up entering, going around the streets, so it was very interesting to see how it is, even for people from outside to understand what is being done and see the construction process too”, says the cyclist.

Currently, the resettlement of Bento Rodrigues has its infrastructure completed, as well as the health and service posts, the municipal school and the sewage treatment plant. Other works are in progress, such as the Assembly of God temple, the São Bento Church and the Producers Association. The focus is on home construction, with 61 homes completed and 93 under construction.

Gomes Freire Square and incentive to tourism

Gomes Freire Square, better known as “Garden”, was the point of concentration, start and arrival of the athletes. The meeting point for Marian people and visitors, it underwent regeneration works by the Renova Foundation and was reopened in 2021. The site received interventions in lighting, landscaping and accessibility, respecting its historical, symbolic and affective value.

Another action is the Local Productive Arrangement (APL), conducted in partnership with the Moore consultancy, which brings together the main entrepreneurs and leaders around the development of tourist activity. In Mariana, based on consultancy and training, projects have been built around its potential for historical and adventure tourism.

Mariana: the mountain bike capital of Brazil

The historic city has been consolidating itself as the capital of the sport in the country and a reference as a tourist destination in Minas Gerais. According to the organizers of the event, during the 2022 edition of Iron Biker Brazil, the city’s hotel network reached 100% occupancy, and the service, commerce and gastronomy sectors also registered a great deal of movement.

For Rafael Henrique, a cyclist from Itutinga (MG) who has competed for seven years, in 2022, the Iron Biker challenge was even greater: “This was my second Iron Biker. This time, I had a lot of difficulty, because the physical level was much higher, with a lot of trail going up and a lot of technical trail going down. Last year, I couldn’t enjoy the city as much due to the limitations of the pandemic, this year, I was able to walk more in the city, visit the churches, visit a little bit of the historic center. I hope that next year I can come with more time and enjoy it even more”, says Rafael.

Adenilson Romares, Iron Biker champion for four consecutive years in the Mariana special category and 4th place in the Elite category, observes the advantageous exchange between the municipality and the event. “This race, after it came to Mariana, it never left. Mariana has a diversification of trails, so everyone likes to run here. Iron Biker, coming here, grew a lot and heated up the city’s market. Adventure tourism here is very big. On the trails outside, we didn’t find what we have here. There are trails for all tastes”, he says.

The competition has been supported by the Renova Foundation since 2016 and, in its 29th edition, was one of the 32 projects selected by the second Doce RFP, in the historic city. The program selects and supports projects, with financial resources from the Renova Foundation, that are relevant to the communities in the affected regions. 

In the first Doce RFP, launched in 2020, a total of BRL 1.5 million was allocated to 22 selected initiatives in Mariana. The result of this edition can be accessed in this link.

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