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What we learnt: Val di Sole Trentino


What we learnt: Val di Sole Trentino

1 year ago

Good, wasn’t it?! Val di Sole Trentino in Italy has hosted rounds of the UCI World Cup since 2008 and between the carpet of rock and root that are the cross-country courses and the brutally steep, once dirt-free plummet of its downhill track it usually delivers races worth talking about. 

As the dust (what’s left of it) continues to settle in Trentino, we dissect some of the big learnings from the 2023 instalment:
Mountain biking can be cruel

Poor old Luca Martin (Orbea Factory Team). The young Frenchman ploughed a heroic, mostly solo furough throughout the UCI Mountain Bike Cross-country Olympic World Cup race for the U23 men. Time after time we saw him grit his teeth and grind forward visibly faster and harder than anyone around him. Until disaster struck.

A double puncture halfway around the last lap left the Frenchman squirming and crawling towards the line. Martin had come unstuck possibly as a result of pushing too hard, too deep into the race. Carter Woods (Giant Factory Off Road) was the biggest beneficiary and took his second win of the weekend having tasted victory in the XCC. 

The Black Snake still has fangs after all

The biggest criticism of the 2022 edition of the Val di Sole Trentino round of the UCI Downhill World Cup was that the (in)famous Black Snake track was on borrowed time. The majority of the dirt which once lay between its hatchet head rocks and staircase-like roots was all but gone. The organisers made themselves very busy in the off season packing the Black Snake with tens of tons of dirt before the annual snowfall landed and acted as a natural compactor. 

The first track walk of the week bred a strange kind of malaise amongst the elite riders; the Snake was smoother, a few more corners had been marked, it was all OK. Cue baking heat, torrential rain and a busy practice schedule and the Black Snake was (almost) back to its savage best. Rain affected the elite men’s race but importantly the dirt and the organisers efforts clung on, just. 

Jackson Goldstone. That is all. 

What is there to say about a season that has seen not one, but two 18 year-olds take debut UCI Mountain Bike DH World Cup wins? Well, how about that one of them now leads the elite men’s overall title race?! 

Jackson Goldstone of the Santa Cruz Syndicate came close to winning in Leogang but for a last minute drift out of the woods to have handed victory to Andreas Kolb (Continental Atherton). It never seemed to be in any doubt that he would imminently right that wrong but few would have predicted that we would have had such a short period of time to wait. 

Goldstone’s race winning run in Val di Sole Trentino was a mesmerising freefall of controlled aggression melded with unerring precision in a melting pot of raw talent. It will live long in the memory amongst the upper echelon of top tier performances that the Trentino hillside seems to habitually produce. The fact that the young Canadian now has the overall title leaders jersey in his luggage is simply the icing on the cake. 
Nino Schurter might well be the best he’s ever been

The most successful XC rider of all time, Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, said at the start of the year that his advancing years mean only that he has to now accept that he cannot win every single race. Chillingly for his rivals however he added that when he felt good however, he would go for it. In the scope of his supremely successful career his record-breaking win in Lenzerheide could almost have been predictable - a fairytale result at the end of a clinically brutal drubbing of the world’s best. 

His win in Val di Sole, his 35th, was cut from an identical cloth. Schurter attacked every root and rock in front of him and his rivals were left reeling. Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing), over ten years his junior, tried but ultimately couldn’t stick the pace and faded back to fifth. Nino Schurter heads to the UCI World Championships in Glasgow and the second half of the UCI World Cup season as the man to beat.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships are boiling up a treat

For the first time in history the 2023 UCI World Championships, across all disciplines and formats, are taking place in one venue. 

Glasgow and across Scotland will welcome the world’s best cyclists to do battle for the coveted UCI World Champion’s rainbow stripes. For mountain bike racing fans, battle will be joined in the iconic venues of Fort William and Glentress - two of the most important locations for Scottish mountain biking. 

For the downhillers, the World Championships will return to a hillside that they haven’t visited since 2007 and for the cross-country racers a brand-new track/leveling playing field to compete on. Oh, and Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Deceuninck) will be competing too… just to add a bit of intrigue.

Experience the thrill of watching legends of mountain biking take on the mighty Glentress Forest this summer! These fast-selling tickets are the only way to guarantee your spot for the action in the Tweed Valley. 

Get your tickets here!

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