Superenduro PRO6, Finale Ligure - Saturday Practice and Prologue

Oct 20, 2012 at 9:08
by Matt Wragg  
Just walking down the seafront today you could feel that the pace of the town has picked up. Yesterday was quite relaxed and most people quietly headed out to the trails to practice, but registration opened and the trade exhibitors started setting up today. It has really started to feel like a race weekend now. Some riders looked relaxed, ready, while some had a nervous edge, they knew they hadn't spent enough time on the trails and would be on the backfoot come Sunday. Last year's Italian champion, Andrea Bruno, was the most relaxed man in town though, he knows the series has slipped from his grasp this year and he seems happy to just come and ride.

  It was clear skies over Finale Ligure this morning and as the summer recedes, the temperature is just at that sweet spot for riding.

  Anneke Beerten has come over with US DH racer, Sondra Williamson to come and try a European enduro race. Again it's Riccardo who was on-hand to help them find the trails and a shuttle to save their legs for the race tomorrow.

  Unfortunately it wasn't a good day in the office for Anneke, she hit a big, sketchy rock roll and went down hard, face-first. How many fingers am I holding up-kinda hard. You can see how much she wanted to come and race, talking to her, at first she definitely wasn't going to ride tomorrow, by the end of the conversation it had gone to probably...

  Fresh from her victory at the Supermountain races, Valentina Macheda was out and getting some practice laps in. You can see the difference a few wins have made, she looks a much more confident rider now.

  Her partner (in both the team and more general sense), Manuel Ducci, was out hitting everything hard. With his commitments outside racing, he admitted he's not feeling on top form and doesn't think he'll be able to hang with Vouilloz and Sottocornola this weekend. That said, he still look as aggressive and fast as ever.

  Max Schumann is one of a decent-sized group of German riders here this weekend and was giving it some on stage one this morning.

  After Anneke went down, Sondra stayed with the shuttle and kept riding. She's not the biggest girl, but she has a surprisingly aggressive riding style and I wouldn't be surprised to put in a solid result tomorrow.

  Max gives it some German style. He was doing well to launch this high, as there was no kind of lip, just a small rock that you could pop off if you gave it some.

  It's corners like this where you can really appreciate Manuel's skill on the bike. Most people were standing bolt upright through this corner.

  Race director, Franco Monchiero was out on the trail today on his new moto, making sure all the signs and markers were up ready for tomorrow.

  Another tiny trail feature, another dose of style from Max.

  This is vision. Nobody else I saw thought to run the high line above the rock steps (I know I didn't when I rode this), but Manuel saw it first time through and stayed up out of the harsh compressions below. It took a fair old bit of commitment to do this though, and one dab of the brakes and it's down onto the rock below.

  Towards the bottom of stage four, Valentina and Sondra ran into another one of Italy's fast women, Marianna Uttini. The three girls took some time to share lines and tips on the tricky switchbacks towards the end of the stage (this isn't one of thoise switchbacks, just in case you weren't sure).

  It seemed like the perfect excuse for train...

  Manuel stayed with Valentina too, to offer his lines to her and encourage her to try different approaches to sections.

  Someone remarked in the comments yesterday about how busy it was here. Today was a whole different world. 500+ riders, with their friends, families and local people mobbed the centre of town for the prologue in the evening.

  The prologue is the same every year here, a lung-burning minute round the cobble streets, all in the name of bringing the race into the town for people to see.

  It's a great excuse for a few panning shots too.

  Franco was there to give each rider a hand setting off for their lap. Just because it's a loop round the streets, don't think that meant the fast guys weren't taking it seriously.

  This is the biggest pit area of the year, by far, a measure of how much Finale love having this race here.

  Unfortunately I don't have the results this evening, but it doesn't matter so much, the real fun starts tomorrow...
Must Read This Week


  • + 13
 So sweet! I wish I was as good a rider as these guys, and got to ride the trails these guys did!
  • + 9
 Don't we all. To be able to travel around Europe racing and doing what you love is pretty much any mountain bikers dream.
  • + 21
 To be able to travel around NZ or North America and riding these bike park is pretty much any europeen moutain bikers dream haha
  • + 6
 Kinda funny how that works out eh? I love the riding here in NZ but it would be awesome to sample some of the riding in other places around the world such as in Europe.
  • + 1
 The "grass is always greener"... The thing that draws me to wanting to hit the alps and other paces across Europe etc. up is how there are all these gondolas and little towns you can link up and litteraly have like a "day at the park" only ride several different peaks and see all the cool little towns nestled up in the mountains... I won't say I think it's any BETTER terrain then what we have here (The NW is pretty hard to beat in terms of trails and terrain aye) but it's different and I've never ridden there... It's the same for exporing anylace in any way, the unknown and unseen (to me) is always more interesting, doesn't mean I don't love the terrain I HAVE to ride, just want to ride it ALL!!!!!! Plus the towns and sense of comunity are just something 99% of the US/N.America dosn't have AT ALL... We drive everywhere so "town centers" are disapearing and certainly not as historical and ancient as anything in Europe aye Wink What we need to do is set up a net-work for sharing places to stay and people to ride with across the globe. I'd gladly put up (as in a place to stay) and show some Euro riders fmous places like Blackrock, Post Canyon, Syncline and Mt. Hood if I could have someone put me up and showed me some epic DH/Enduro riding in Europe somewhere aye... I'm sure there's something like this, I now there is for backpackers/general travelers aye. Why not riders looking to explore new terrain with some like minded people???
  • + 1
 im sorry but were the hell is Joe barnes and jerome clementz
  • + 3
 With 500 riders on corse it going to be anyones race. The top pros going to have a real battle to get on podium. We root for Curtis Keene and know he have extreme capabilities. It probably going to be a french or swiss rider on top for the weekend.
  • + 1
 Hey Matt - Any idea what the story is with the ruins the girls are riding past? I'm sure there's stuff like that all over Europe. We might be lucky to ride past a rusty car buried in the woods over here...
  • + 3
 What a great time to be a mountain biker with so many great events like this. Makes me wish I was 20 years younger.
  • + 1
 Wow, really nice photos Matt. You really make me want to fly all the way there just to ride them trails. Keep up the good work.
  • + 2
 tracks are amazing - 1 week ago I was there for some riding Smile
  • + 1
 I need to get tapped in to their schedule next year. I want to be at one of those events.
  • + 2
 Wow...that looks like a great experience just to be there!
  • + 1
 f*ck is the weather really that good there right now? I think i know where i am spending my next fall!
  • + 1
 Awesome pictures! Looks a lot alike Ecuador trails.
  • + 1
 Great review! I guess I know where I am next year...
  • + 1
 That place is gorgeous! Hell of a place to race.
  • + 1
 No spy shots of the new Enduro S-Works 29er? I am dissapoint.
  • + 3
Look the rear tyre slick for the prologue!

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