Course Preview: Steeper, Rootier, and Rockier - Val di Sole World Cup XC

Aug 1, 2019
by Matthew DeLorme  



It's been three years since we wrote the first preview of the XC course in Val di Sole and, well, that first one wasn't so glowing. The biggest complaint was that the course seemed an afterthought compared to the marvel that is the DH track. Knowing that there's terrain here to build something truly great, that first course seemed like a bunch of open grass and a few quick forrays into the woods with not much of that magic that the DH track had. Granted, there isn't a ton of space to put the whole thing in the woods and make it accessible for spectators, but it fell short.

Fast forward three years and we are happy to say that they've put some real effort into the course, using what little parcels of natural terrain there are and making the most of them. The track now snakes back on itself more in the woods, the turns are tighter on the climbs, and the climbs are punchier. There are more roots and rocks and loam to be had, too. Out in the open, there's still lots of grass, but the bike park descents have been spiced up with more drops and rollers.

The 2019 course has come a long way and should make for more exciting racing. Take a gander at some of the improved bits with us.


There is still plenty of open grass but they have done a better job utilizing the woods and natural terrain.
There's still plenty of open grass, but they have done a better job utilizing the woods and natural terrain.

Huck to grass.
Huck to grass.

The course has been spiced up with the addition of a few strategically placed slabs of rock.
The course has been spiced up with the addition of a few strategically placed slabs of rock.

Large slabs spice things up after the initial climb.
Large slabs spice things up after the initial climb.

There is plenty of bike park flow berms and drops out in the open.
There's plenty of bike park flow, berms, and drops out in the open.

Lots of small drops. Lots of them.
Lots of small drops. Lots of them.

DH Left XC center and 4X to the right. It s like a plate of MTB spaghetti.
DH Left, XC center, and 4X to the right. It's like a plate of MTB spaghetti.

The rock garden from the 4X course was a spectator favorite descent but it is now split in two this side is now a climb....
The rock garden from the 4X course was a spectator favorite descent, but it's now split in two, this side is now a climb...

......this side is the descent.
... And this side is the descent.

out and back under the DH track.
Out and back under the DH track.

Little descents end in loamy pits.
Little descents end in loamy pits.

There are plenty of snaking little punchy climbs in this years version of the course.
There are plenty of snaking little punchy climbs in this year's version of the course.

Old rock walls double as technical features.
Old rock walls double as technical features.

The double track climbs offer passing opportunities for those who still have the legs for it.
The doubletrack climbs offer passing opportunities for those who still have the legs.

Multiple line choices but the left line will be fastest.
Multiple line choices, but the left will be fastest.

those rocks are rough but the exit is much smoother than the other lines.
Those rocks are rough, but the exit is much smoother than the other lines.

Chose your line.

Lots of loam that will soon be ridden off exposing treacherous roots beneath.
Lots of loam that will soon be ridden off, exposing treacherous roots beneath.

Half logs make getting up and over a massive stump all the more difficult.
Half logs make getting up and over a massive stump all the more difficult.

Loamy right handers of a massive stump.
Loamy right handers of a massive stump.

Why remove a giant stump when you can bridge over it with logs
Why remove a giant stump when you can bridge over it with logs?


Regions in Article
Italy


41 Comments

  • + 54
 Now that looks like a proper mtn bike track. Lots of technical decents and tech climbs. Love that they have a rock garden climb section.
  • + 3
 Yeah, this track looks great. I was disappointed in the Les Gets track, but the racing was still fun to watch.
  • + 3
 @tacklingdummy: Agree, this looks great compared to the boring Les Gets and the European Championships in Brno.
  • + 1
 @magnusc: idk, i kinda miss the crushed gravel path. in fact, i'd go a step further and say that i'd prefer that the whole course were paved asphalt. then they could use a smaller profile tire like a 700x23. you could put it in it's own category called "pavement racing" and refer to all the racers as "hard surfacers". thoughts?
  • + 1
 @rocky-mtn-gman: I think the existing course should be raced on 700x23
  • + 22
 Nice improvements. Looks like a fun XC course. Bike handling is really becoming a larger part of these races and that's nice to see. Love it.
  • + 7
 That last feature pictured looks just like something you might have ran into on our local cross country trails at one point that pretty cool
  • + 5
 Ok so what happened? Did the MTB trail fairy sprinkle some gnar gnar dust into the trail building course crew’s brewski? When did they figure out that XC is an actual MTB discipline? IDK either but keep it up and I might actually watch a XC race broadcast. Seems like they’re finally getting the picture here. Gnar good, smooth bad.
  • + 4
 If you actually watched XC broadcasts you'd know that this is what most UCI courses are like. The race at Les Gets was similar. The past several years have had great course with great racing and there have only been a couple of lame stinker courses on the calendar, like Albstadt.
  • + 2
 Yeah, all the new public trails built are flow trails. Ugh. Some raw technical trails built to balance it out would be good. I would go so far as saying raw technical trails are safer. Riders going much slower and less washouts.
  • + 7
 UCI needs to kick Albstadt off the calendar and race Val di Sol twice instead.
  • + 1
 Looks like an awesome track - watching XC races is slowly growing on me - no interest whatsoever in pedalling though !

As part of my usual ritual while watching the broadcast, will check if the place has a good gravity park and it's worth the travel - if affordable, might check it next year Smile
  • + 2
 No good DH at Val de Sole. May as well save your coin...
  • + 1
 @handynzl: ah crap - was already thinking about good beer and pasta at the end of a day rolling down green trails Smile
  • + 0
 Pedalling is part of the sport, dont like it go watch motocross
  • + 2
 @Skarhead89: don't like to pedal myself - I don't like mind watching others pedal
  • + 2
 Interested to see the HT / FS ratio. I'm thinking 50/50, most of it still seems reasonably smooth, a HT with dropper might be best?
  • + 1
 That uphill rock garden would be tough even on an AM bike, not to mention a hardtail...quite a few women, including Courtney are on the HT though
  • + 3
 Lets be real... most of us PB readers would be hitting that terrain on our 150 travel bikes.
  • + 1
 Yeah for sure! Thats crazy hard course! I would puss out in a second
  • + 3
 Makes me want to race again.
  • + 4
 Filters aren’t working
  • + 2
 Impressive. It certainly looks far more challenging than the previous XC courses this season.
  • + 3
 What an improvement, this looks Legit! Love the variety of features.
  • + 4
 great course
  • + 2
 Put away the hardtails and break out the dropper posts...
  • + 3
 Hardtails with dropper posts are very capable too. Don't know what would be faster for a racer, but personally on a course like this I'd rather ride a ht with a dropper than a fs without one.
  • + 1
 This should make for some pretty exciting racing! A lot of the passing options look pretty tough.
  • + 1
 my god this looks fun to ride
  • + 1
 All that tricky tech should make for a close race.
  • + 1
 Now that’s a correct looking course
  • + 1
 That looks exhausting...when can I have a go!!
  • + 1
 Looks tough enough
  • + 1
 would ride
  • + 1
 Looks crazy hard damn!
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