Nino's bike

Val di Sole World Cup: Nino Makes it 36

While the course is normally dry and blown out, racers were dealing with a very different Val di Sole for the latest round of the 2024 World Cup. Rain hammered the Italian town and made one of the hardest circuits of the year even more difficult. Downhill and Cross-Country athletes alike were puzzling over tire choices and figuring out their selections for a balance of speed and traction.

Dakotah riding in between Val di Sole sign

The XCC kicked off events on Friday, and the Val di Sole crowd was treated to exciting races. Sam Gaze (Alpecin-Deceuninck) looked strong, charging to his second win on the season in the Elite Men. Jens Schuermans (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) also represented Maxxis well in the slick conditions, taking the bronze medal behind Sam Gaze.  Scott SRAM teammates Nino Schurter and Filippo Colombo slotted into fourth and fifth place, meaning they were in great position on the front row for Sunday’s XCO. In the Elite Women’s race, Puck Pieterse, Sam Gaze’s Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate, also took the gold in commanding fashion.

Sam Gaze on his way to an XCC win

Puck on her way to an XCC victory

With Cross-Country racing back in the mix, Downhill finals were once again on Saturday instead of Sunday. Using Maxxis Test Pilot tires, 16-year-old Ellie Hulsebosch (UNION) not only achieved her first Junior Women’s win but also put down a time that would have won the Elite Women’s category as well – a monumental statistic for the young rider out of New Zealand. Hailing from the United States, Kale Cushman (Gravity Collective) also stepped on the Junior Women’s podium in fifth place.

Ellie riding her way to a win

Ellie embracing her friends

In the Elite Men, Dakotah Norton (Mondraker Factory Racing) had a huge race, sitting in the hot seat for most of the day after coming down the mountain early. In the end, one rider was able to best his time, and Dakotah earned the silver medal on the hardest track of 2024. Troy Brosnan (Canyon CCLCTV) continued to add to his overall points total with a fourth on the podium. In Elite Women, Marine Cabirou (Scott DH Factory) has proved her consistency this year with another great finish, taking second on the day.

Dak Norton on his way to second place in VDS


Marine on her way to the podium

Finally, the XCO race on Sunday brought an exciting (and terrifying?) week of Val di Sole racing to a close. At 38 years young, the GOAT, Nino Schurter, bested the entire Elite Men’s field for the 36th time in his career, standing on top of the podium in Italy. Because of Filippo Colombo’s excellent fifth place, Nino and the rest of the Scott SRAM MTB Racing Team would go on to become Team of the Day. Puck Pieterse backed up her incredible win on Friday with another podium result in second place. Luca Martin of the Orbea Factory Team also added to his already impressive 2024 season with a fourth place in U23 Men.

Nino celebrating his victory

Nino on the podium

Even with inclement weather conditions, Val di Sole did not disappoint. We can’t wait for the next round of World Cup action in Crans-Montana this weekend!

Photo Credits: Boris Beyer, Michal Cerveny, Alpecin-Deceuninck