Can the team finish their season in style at their favourite Val di Sole?
Gee and Rachel have been fully focused on getting fully fit after a season rocked by injury for both of them. What will they bring to Val di Sole – a track that they both love to ride? Val di Sole is such a fast and gnarly track it should offer a good chance of a satisfying season finale for Muddy while Kade has learned so much this season that the team are confident for him at this race and fully stoked on his World Champs selection!
Riders: Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton, Graeme Mudd, Kade Edwards
Mechanics: Pete Michaliszyn, Joe Krejbich, Sam Farrar
Support : Dan Brown, Fiona Lundie ( physio), Tim Morris ( chef) Robbie Meade ( videographer) Ryan Gaul ( Trek Race shop)
Bikes: Trek Session 9.9 – Gee will be riding the 29’er
Race guide: Val di Sole is rough, tough and technical – Rachel loves it here calling this World Cup stop “ The Valley of my Soul!!” It’s a fast course with big compressions and tight gullys with woods from the start packed with tight turns, rocks and hidden roots. It’s steep but relatively short (approx. 1.5-1.6 km) which will suit Gee as he works back towards full strength and fitness. A lot will depend on the weather as this course is hyper-changeable, and can become a minefield of exposed roots and rocks. Muddy will be hoping that this Round gives him a better break than Mont St Anne’s storms! If the weather holds expect times around 3 minutes 10 secs.
Scattered thunderstorms all week , culminating Saturday afternoon – expect havoc (again!)
In 2008 (World Championships) and 2012 (World Cup) Gee and Rachel took double victories here on a track that they both love, Rach also triumphed in 2013, 2015, and at the World Championships in 2016 where Gee (struggling to regain full fitness) took the huge decision to stand down from the World Champs team in favour of Bernard Kerr. A win for the team here after the trials of the 2017 season would be extra special.
Current situation – team perspectives
Gee: Val di Sole is a tough one – in all the right ways, shredding Whistler with the crew was mega but it’s time to race
Rachel: “Val di Sole will always be special for me It can be really unpredictable but it’s been good to me – I loved it even before last years World Champs and now it will be in my heart for ever
Kade: “I’m up for it. I’m feeling good on the bike and I’ve been told the track is awesome and needs to be ridden loose so I can’t wait!”
Muddy: I’m looking forward to having a proper crack at Val di Sole this year, injury free and raring to go on this gnarly track
Pics Sven Martin VDS 2016