The Val di Sole province in the Italian dolomites hosted the fifth and last of the European World Cup races this past weekend. It was also the site of the 2008 MTB World Championships and will host the World Cup finals next September.
Willow made a bold move from the onset, leading the initial start loop and first lap of four laps on the 6.3 kilometer course. Ultimately, call it her “kryptonite”, that she just didn’t have the legs to master the course, which consisted of a series of super steep climb that wound up and down the side of the valley, favoring more powerful climbers. And without any true technical sections to allow her abilities to shine, as had occurred in Champéry and Dalby, her efforts were hampered. She struggled, finishing the day in tenth. Willow now drops to third overall in the World Cup standings, trailing first by just 59 points. It appears winner takes all during World Cup finals in Windham, NY at the end of August. As Willow said, “bring it on!”
Unlike in Champéry, Heather managed to avoid any opening-lap catastrophes and road a solid top-20 race finishing eighteenth, which is also her overall ranking.
JHK who had managed to re-kindle his World Cup spark last week in Champéry, continued to move up in the overall. For the first two of the men’s six laps he was riding in the top-30 and then began slowly crawling his way past riders on each successive long climb up the Italian ski hill. He finished twenty-fourth, and moved into thirty-fifth in the overall, six more spots. Reflecting on the day’s effort, JHK said, ‘The race course was a huge change from the previous weekend in Champery. It was dry and even dusty, less technical with some of the steepest climbs I've ever raced. In fact, it almost felt like the whole course was uphill!“
Like his elder teammate, Sam rounded out his day having moved up positions. He also had a good early effort, to hovering around top-30 at the race mid-point. As at Champéry and US MTB Nationals he still suffered from lack of energy late in the race, faltering a bit from the heat and relentless climbing, finishing forty-first. He’s forty-sixth now in standings. Sam had these remarks, “It was good to weave through the crowd following my teammate, until all of a sudden my efforts up the punchy climbs seemed to catch up with me all at once. I faded a bit in the last couple laps, which is never fun to do. Now I am looking forward to getting back in the groove with a couple weeks at home to build up for world cup finals and world championships.”
And continuing his strong development, Russell finished just one lap down from the race winner. He just missed the cut-off of time to complete his first full world cup event.
The riders now enjoy a small window of rest time at home, prior to the Windham finals and MTB World Championships the following weekend in Quebec, Canada. In the interim, JHK will race the Leadville100 event, his first attempt.
Stay tuned for more news as the 2010 Subaru-Trek team races around the globe.