Our full downhill team are back in action, with Matti Lehikoinen and Lewis Buchanan joining Joe Smith, Matt Simmonds and Al Bond ready to take on their first World Cup after their injuries. The Val di Sole track, known as the 'snake pit' should test the riders to the extreme, having already hosted some of the most important competitions over the past ten years including two Italian Championships, two European Elite Championships, three European Master Championships as well as the 2008 World Championships and the 2010 and 2011 World Cup.
Michael and Lukas Mechura will ride in the 4X Pro Tour Series on the 'camel's humps' Val di Sole 4X track filled with jumps, berms and plenty of passing points. It also has excellent spectator facilities, so we're expecting a packed crowd.
MTBCut photographer Sebastian Schieck is with the team at every World Cup event this year, providing us with his usual high-quality pics. Here are the pics from day one at Val di Sole:
Views don't get much better than this…
CRC Team Mechanic Carl Lottering-Geeson tends to the Team Scalp
Applying the race numbers
Joe Smith checks the setup on his race machine
Admiring the look of that Nukeproof Scalp?
Lewis Buchanan during the all-important track walk
Spare Scalp rear-ends…
Team Mechanic Brooks tweaks the Scalp
Lottering-Geeson keeping the bikes in top shape
The track has a scary combination of rocks…
…and plenty of roots!