Show and battles in the rain characterized the World Cup short track, opening the Cross Country programme: the Dutch phenom and the Swiss delivered with authority. Tomorrow the Downhill battle takes place on the tough Black Snake course. Tonight the 4Cross World Champs
The wait is over: the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round in Val di Sole has go into its core on Friday August 2nd, when training left space to the first real outcomes. Along with the strongest riders from all over the World, heavy rain rose to a starring role, changing the game in both the Cross Country Short Track and the Downhill qualifications on the tough Black Snake course.
Mathieu Van Der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) took the full points in the Cross Country Short Track.
Among men, Van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) doubled his win from 2018, seizing his feeling with mud from his cyclocross experience. The new European Champion led the race along with Brazilian Henrique Avancini(Cannondale Factory Racing), then distanced with an impressive acceleration in the final lap. Jens Schuermans (Scott-Creuse) came in third, World Champion Nino Schurter finished fifth, with home-favorite Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado-Ursus) in fourteenth place.
Among women, Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) won an all-Swiss duel with Sina Frei (Ghost Factory Racing), taking the Short Track race. France’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon Factory Team) was third, whilst fifth-placed Eva Lechner made Italian fans happy. World Champion Kate Courtney (SCOTT-SRAM) was tenth with a sub-par display compared to her previous performances in the short track.
SATURDAY IT’S DOWNHILL TIME
After Short Track catalyzed the attention on Friday, the Downhill finals are expected to light up the day on August 3rd, live on Red Bull TV from 12.25 PM.
The Black Snake (540 mt elevation gain, 2400 mt length, 22% average gradient, 40% maximum) is one of those slopes that grand eternal glory to those who take the win.
Defending World Champion Loïc Bruni (Specialized Gravity) wants his first ever victory in Val di Sole, coming off an excellent streak and the World Cup victories in Maribor (Slovenia), Leogang (Austria) e Vallnord (Andorra).
His fiercest rival is expected to be fellow Frenchman Amaury Pierron (Commençal Vallnord) looking to repeat his 2018 win, and winner in Fort William (Great Britain) in this season.
Many surprises came in today’s qualifying round, partially due to the heavy rain that ever forced to a short suspension. Brit Joe Breeden (Intense Racing UK) was the fastest on the day, followed by suprising Italian Davide Palazzari. The favorites finished behind their usual spots (Pierron sixth, Hart fourteenth, Brosnan sixteenth, Bruni eighteenth) who still grabbed the qualification with ease.
With Rachel Atherton, Tahnee Seagrave and Myriam Nicole out with injuries, Tracey Hannah (Polygon RUN) has to be the clear favorite among women on the Black Snake. First in the Qualifying Round and World Cup leader, Hannah comes off the victories in Leogang (Austria) and Le Gets (France), and will have her strongest rivals in French Marine Cabirou (Scott Downhill Factory), German Nina Hoffmann, settima, Slovenian Monika Hrastnik (Dorval AM) and Italian Veronika Widmann (Insync) and Eleonora Farina (MS Mondraker), third and fourth respectively today.
Canadian Elliot Jameson (Norco Factory Team) and Austrian Valentina Hall (SRAM TLD Racing) were the fastest in the junior series.
FOUR-CROSS RAINBOW UP FOR GRABS
For the fifth year in a row, on Friday night the Four-Cross World Champs take place in Val di Sole. Czech Tomaz Slavik and German Raphaela Richter showed to be clear frontrunners in yesterday’s qualifications, but surprised might be just around the corner.
Italians Stefano Dolfin and Giovanni Pozzoni nurture medal dreams, as does Russian Romana Labounkova, defending champion among women.
ELECTRIC SNAKE ON SATURDAY WITH FONTANA AND MELANDRI
Saturday’s intense programme also featured the E-MTB competition, Electric Snake: at 18.30, the short track race will feature the likes of Olympic medalist Marco Aurelio Fontana and former MotoGP rider and Trentino Ambassador Marco Melandri.
Daolasa di Commezzadura (Italy), August 2nd, 2019