Val di Sole - The ultimate test
It stands out as one of the ultimate tests of downhill racing, a chaos of root and rock set deep in Italian forest. Wide and wide open, three and a half minutes in which there is rarely a moment for breathe, the baying crowd hungry for blood. It has produced some of the most intense runs of all time, Hill's ultimately failed run at the 2008 World Championship's where an uncompromising all-guts run ended in last corner carnage, a message from the mountain gods or simply the wrong rock in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was wild.
Gwin's monster seven second win in 2012 was another all-time classic and it is he that comes to this race with everything to do, even though he has a commanding lead on Greg Minnaar. Specialized vs Santa Cruz, northern hemisphere versus south, the leading racers of the past ten years going head to head in the most complicated places on earth. It's no place for for the feint hearted, with no room for error.
Hit your lines, hold your bars for three and a half minutes. This will be massive.
Steve Jones takes a lo-fi look at the lines, the riders and the roots