Words. They can be hard to come by sometimes. There’s no explaining the emotionally charged race we just witnessed; you just have to experience it. We don’t think anyone will be forgetting the 2021 Val Di Sole World Champs anytime soon, and it will be talked about for years to come.
The race week kicked off on Thursday (8/26) with the inaugural XCC Short Track World Championship. Racing a shorter course than the normal XCO circuit, riders pedaled hard in an attempt to claim the rainbow jersey. Maxxis almost snuck into a medal position with Linda Indergand (Liv Cycling) charging to a fourth place finish in the Elite Women category.
In the first race on Friday (8/27), the eMTB XC World Championship, Jerome Gilloux (eTeam Moustache eBikes) became the Elite Men World Champion. Maxxis rider Laura Charles (Orbea Enduro Team) also took second place in Elite Women. This race was followed by the 4X World Championship – a format of racing that puts four riders on a fast, more intense BMX-style course at the same time. The team at Maxxis was stoked to see Tomas Slavik (Ghost Bikes) take the Elite Men 4X Championship, adding another title to his already impressive career total. Tomas was running the Maxxis Aggressor front and rear for this special kind of racing. Adrien Loron (IXS) was not far behind Tomas and came away with the silver medal, while Hannes Slavik (Leatt MTB) rounded out the Maxxis-filled podium in third.
Saturday (8/28) was the placeholder for the highly anticipated XCO World Championship race, and it did not disappoint. After a season that left many wondering if he’d ever return to the top step, Nino Schurter (Scott/SRAM) defied all the doubters and claimed the rainbow jersey for the ninth time in Elite Men. In 2009, he was the youngest athlete to win the title, and with this year’s triumph, he is now the oldest athlete in XCO history to earn the rainbow stripes. Nino took the World Champs win on prototype Maxxis XC tires, a remarkable achievement for this tire project.
Finally, the DH World Championship race on one of the world’s steepest and most technical courses aired Sunday. Many riders and fans tuned in from around the globe to watch their favorite racers tackle this very difficult track. Spoiler alert: nobody was disappointed. While many predicted French domination, it was Maxxis athlete Greg Minnaar (SC Syndicate) (almost 40 years old!!) who took the rainbow jersey at the end of the day. Tears were shed, parties were had, and the mountain biking industry blew up with excitement over the feat that Greg pulled off. While his signature Maxxis Assegai tires surely helped him claim the victory, no one will really ever know just how Greg pulled off such a win on a track that heavily favored his French competitors.
Not to be overlooked, Jackson Goldstone (Miranda Factory Team) captured the rainbow stripes at his first-ever Junior Men World Championship. Only a teenager, Jackson has already stamped himself as a legendary rider with a very bright career ahead of him in racing. More Maxxis athletes proved their mettle during the DH World Champs with Izabela Yankova (Trek Bikes) becoming World Champion in Junior Women, Marine Cabirou (Scott DH Factory) bursting into second place in Elite Women, Troy Brosnan (Canyon Collective) taking third place in Elite Men, and Jordan Williams (Madison Saracen) coming in second behind Jackson Goldstone in Junior Men.
None of us here at Maxxis will soon forget this race and we continue to celebrate the victories of World Champions Slavik, Schurter, Minnaar, and Goldstone as they head into their next races.