Héctor Leonardo Páez León celebrates at the top of the podium after victory in Sakarya ©UCI

Héctor Leonardo Páez León made it back-to-back International Cycling Union (UCI) Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships titles, while Ramona Forchini claimed the women’s crown on an eventful day in Turkish province Sakarya.

Páez of Colombia swept to victory for the second successive year as he came home in 4 hours 19min 50sec.

The 37-year-old’s winning time was 2:25 ahead of 2016 champion Tiago Ferreira of Portugal, while Martin Stosek of the Czech Republic was 15 seconds further back in third.

It is the first time a male rider has won consecutive titles since Belgium’s Roel Paulissen won in 2008 and 2009.

Another veteran came close to winning the women’s race as 36-year-old Maja Wloszczowska, winner in 2003, was involved in a sprint for the line.

But 26-year-old Forchini, of Switzerland, had too much for the Polish rider, completing the 80.9-kilometre course in 3:42.18.

Wloszczowska had to settle for second while Ariane Lüthi ensured there was another Swiss athlete on the podium by coming third in 3:43.40.

Forchini is the fourth Swiss woman to win the event, following in the footsteps of Jolanda Neff in 2016, Esther Süss in 2010 and Petra Henzi in 2007.

"It was a great event and being my first world marathon champs, I am so happy at getting the win," Forchini told cycling website In The Bunch.

"It was a tough course, with some steep sections, but the win is a dream come true, although it hasn’t really sunk in yet."

More than 100 athletes representing 29 nations took part in the 18th edition of the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships.