After a day of rain and thunderstorms during track walk, the Val di Sole lived top to its namesake once again as racers took to the track for the first day of training. Gone were any sign of the previous day's moisture, and with roots bone dry and the loamy dirt during back to dust, the pace was high right from the get-go.
The track in Val di Sole always makes for a bit of puzzling with multiple line choices and lots to think about the entire way down. Even though riders may look and feel fast, there is no other track on the circuit where we see just about everyone stopping to watch their competition through nearly every section. By the close of the day, riders were beginning to gain confidence and some of the bigger gaps that we've seen in past years were once again beginning to be tackled with speed. Some of the lines riders take are simply mind-boggling as they launch themselves, fully committed, into some of the roughest sections of track you will ever see. Where the margin for error is measured in millimeters.
The close of the day would see the customary timed training session, and while it's no sure indicator of everyone who has things dialed, it was still a great chance to read between the lines and see who is feeling confident. For the women, it is no surprise to see Marine Cabirou and Tracey Hannah battling at the top, and after their close race in Les Gets we fully expect to see them pushing each other once again here in Val di Sole. For the men it would be last round's winner and the winner here a year ago, Amaury Pierron, who would top the timesheet with all-time great Greg Minnaar just fractions behind. Also of note was the top performance by Davis Trummer as he continues to turn heads this season, and 9th by Charlie Harrison who is returning from scaphoid surgery.
Tomorrow things get real though with qualifying points on the line and the last extended training sessions, where riders will really begin to get their racing lines dialed and push the limits of speed down Val di Sole's Black Snake.