This is it, the final race of the 2016 season, and the one that everyone dreams of winning above all others. This is World Championships. The one-day race where riders put it all on the line to take the coveted rainbow jersey, the glory and, of course, the bragging rights that come with being the best of the best. The unique format (it's the season ender for just about all in attendance and its separate from any points series) lends a different kind of pressure, and has offered up some of the most memorable moments our sport has ever seen. It's a race where we have witnessed dominant seasons end in failure, the run of a lifetime go up in flames just meters from the finish line, or an underdog carve out a name for themselves after rolling the dice and coming up huge. In a word, World Champs is special. No other event on the calendar can even compare.
While we have seen a variety of venues over the years, some good and some bad, this week we are treated to one that is simply legendary. Val di Sole has carved a name for itself as one of the most demanding tracks in recent memory and one that has routinely been the sight of some epic race runs. There was Aaron Gwin's win by nearly 8 seconds in 2011. Or, even more famously, Sam Hill's last corner tragedy of 2008, which was coincidentally the last time World Champs was held on these slopes.
Nestled high in the peaks of Italy's pristine valley of the Sun, this week is going to be one for the record books.
: @davetrump / @natedh9