UCI Mountain Bike World Championships: Val di Sole, Two Decades of Mountain Bike Racing
When the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike Downhill and 4-Cross World Championships take place in Val di Sole, Italy, starting September 6th, it will be a continuation of eight years of international competition, and nearly two decades of mountain biking.
Sergio Battistini, General Director for the organisation, explains that, “Val di Sole started playing host to World events in 2008. Since that year it has always hosted World Cups, except in 2014. Last year it hosted UCI Mountain Bike 4-Cross World Championships. In 2017, World Cup stage will be held here.”
“Before 2008, downhill European and Italian Championships were held in the region. In Malè towards the end of the 1990s a six hour race was held, featuring famous off-road cycling athletes, from World and Olympic Champion Paola Pezzo to World Champion Laurence Leboucher, who were both winners in the women’s events. As for the men, among the racers were Olympic Champion Miguel Martinez, World Champion Michael Rasmussen, European Champions Gregory Vollet and Marco Bui, as well as popular Italian riders, including Martino Fruet, Jader Zoli and Hannes Pallhuber.”
The event is a huge undertaking, with Battistini revealing a budget of approximately 1.5 million Euros. It will attract 30,000 spectators, and over 400 volunteers will assist to make the event a success.
Organisers have also included a host of events to celebrate gravity racing, according to Battistini. “We have events dedicated to children who want to ride a mountain bike or who have already raced on one; this is an event dedicated to the champions of the future. On Sunday, September 4th, the Coppa Italia youth will take place. It’s a great fixture featuring 400 young athletes. For one day the promises of the future will be able to race side by side with the great champions. The Coppa Italia youth organised by Great Events Val di Sole is a look into the future. In this way the World Champs embrace the young, the champions and the masters.”
“Moreover, there will be Pumptrack, a fun park for kids who will be able to ride on a special course with bumps and parabolic curves. Just turn up in Daolasa with your bike from August 29th to September 11th and you’ll have fun for sure. Kids up to 5 go free.”
“On the 9th, 10th and 11th, there are activities for beginners (starting from 18 months of age) with Strider Adventure Zone staff, using Strider balance bikes. On Saturday, September 10th, Manuel Schiavo, six times BMX Italian Champion will perform amazing bike stunts.”
Finally, Sergio Battistini says, “For a few hours on Saturday September 10th, the legendary Black Snake track will play host to an enthralling uphill race, the “Vertical Run Race”, where riders will have to climb the track that will host the Downhill event at the Val di Sole World Championships. The technical data of the non-competitive race are exactly the same as the downhill only the other way round – 540 metres of elevation gain, going uphill for 2200 metres.”