Once again, it was time to race at one of the toughest venues on the World Cup circuit: Val Di Sole, Italy. Luckily, there wasn’t as much rain in the forecast as in years prior, so racers could expect relatively loose and dusty courses for the week. Overall battles really ramp up this time of year, and this would be the last World Cup race before everybody heads to Fort William for World Champs. Val Di Sole always promises legendary finishes, and 2023 was no exception.
First up were the Junior and Elite XCC races. In the U23 Women, Ronja Blöchlinger (Liv Factory Racing) continued her streak, taking the win by six seconds. Carter Woods (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) also claimed gold in the U23 Men with Luca Martin (Orbea Factory Team) slotting in behind him in second place. On the Elite side of things, Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took silver in the women’s race while Jens Schuermans (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) stood on the men’s podium in fifth.
Next was the Junior’s downhill race. Sacha Earnest (Transition Bikes) earned the win in the Junior Women with a winning margin of over 12 seconds. Valentina Roa Sanchez (Transition Factory Racing) also rode to a podium position, landing in fourth.
Saturday, it was the Elite riders’ turn to take on the legendary Black Snake downhill track. Rain poured intermittently, making for an interesting race. Marine Cabirou (Scott DH Factory) looks as though she’s back to form, getting on box for the second race in a row with a fourth in Val Di Sole. Nina Hoffmann (Santa Cruz Syndicate) had yet another solid day of riding, coming in just behind Cabirou in fifth place.
The men’s competition was one for the history books. With super tight times and a slippery course, it was anybody’s race for the taking. In the end, it was a memorable win for Maxxis and the Santa Cruz Syndicate with downhill prodigy Jackson Goldstone taking his first-ever Elite World Cup win. Goldstone trusted his Maxxis Assegai and DHR II tire combo to push hard on a very treacherous course and get the victory. It was also great to see Troy Brosnan back to contention-level speed, coming in fourth place on the weekend.
Finally, the XCO ended the week of racing on a rough course. Ronja Blöchlinger had another good result, taking the bronze medal this time around. Carter Woods rounded out an incredible weekend of racing with his second win in the U23 Men. Looking like a dominant force for 2023, Puck Pieterse used her momentum from her XCC result to propel herself to the win in the Elite Women. It was awesome to see Rebecca Henderson (PMG Racing Team) back on form and on the podium in third place as well. Nino Schurter (Scott SRAM) cannot be stopped, taking the win in the Elite Men’s race as well as the overall leader’s jersey.
It was a fantastic week of racing in Val Di Sole for Maxxis, not only proving that our downhill tires are still the ultimate tool for difficult tracks, but that our new MaxxSpeed compound is delivering exceptional results with our XC riders. We can’t wait for World Champs in Fort William!