La Thuile was a riders' favourite when it last featured on the circuit in 2014 - only narrowly losing out to Nevados de Chillan for the best race of the year. While the altitudes may not be as lung-busting as Colorado, the young, jagged Alps provided for what was surely the biggest mountain race of the year. The tracks were unforgiving too, with one former World Cup racer remarking that the fifth stage was essentially the Val di Sole race track, but extended indefinitely. Unlike the series' last visit here the weather played nice this time, to put together what would be the betting man's early favourite for 2016's race of the year...Photo Epics:IntroPracticeRaceday OneRaceday TwoPrivateer Special
For round five the series headed to the thin air of Colorado - always a punishing weekend for riders who don't live over a mile above sea-level. The organisers worked hard to put on something that would surprise the riders. In a country where it is notoriously difficult to build new tracks, they convinced Aspen-Snowmass to dig in almost an entire day of racing on fresh tracks. Coming from Europe that may not seem like a huge achievement, but honestly, it was a huge step that took a massive amount of work behind the scenes. On day two the racing took a turn towards the more usual fare people expect in the US, but the important thing from the first day was to show the resort what riders prefer and expect for racing at this level - and expect things to get even better for next year.Photo Epics:IntroPracticeRaceday OneRaceday Two
Round six took the series back to its annual stop in Whistler. While the venue may not change, the race does each year, mutating and evolving to keep riders on their toes. This year the race added more pedaling compared to last year, but continued to mix trails on different sides of the valley to offer a real diversity to the challenges on track. All this was topped off by the final descent down the iconic Top to the World trail which would ultimately decide the race.Photo Epics:PracticeRaceday
We are excited to see what unfolds at the next two rounds.