If any one rider sums up the spirit of the Trans Vesubienne
, it might just be Maxime Folco. A lifelong resident of the region, he grew up riding and racing on these kind of trails and 2020 marked his 9th time racing the Trans V.
Maxime isn't just here to make up the numbers, he has been second more times than he would like to count but has never managed to make that final step on the podium. For the last couple of years he had a small deal with Lapierre to race the e-MTB class, but for this year he is back on his regular mountain bike as with no sponsor commitments he prefers it to an e-MTB.
He admits that he has no interest in chasing sponsors again and doesn't like social media - he just wants to ride his bike fast. It's very much a blue collar affair, there is no factory suspension or electronic wizardry aboard his bike - just a mix of parts he had already and OE gear. This year he was pushed down to fourth as he admits he has struggled to train properly since being locked down in New Zealand earlier this year (he was working there when the pandemic hit).
Height 5'11" / 179cm
Weight 143 lb / 71kg
Hometown Nice, France
Model Trek Top Fuel
Frame Size Large
Wheel Size 29
Suspension Fox 34 Stepcast and Float DPS
Drivetrain & Brakes SRAM X0 & Shimano SLX
Tyre pressures 1.8 + 2.0 bar / 26 + 29psi
The SRAM GX Eagle groupset that the bike arrived with was switched out for a lighter X01 version - including the 10-50t cassette, which is a fairly significant weight saving, while the SLX brakes just worked so he didn't feel the need to change them. The Fox suspension is paired to a RockShox twist shifter to actuate the lockouts - both front and rear are paired together at the shifter.
The wheels are a bit of a mix and match affair - on the front he is running his DT Swiss XRC 1200 from last year in 25 inner width, while at the back he has the Bontrager OE carbon wheel, although he also has his XRC 1200 with a slightly burlier tyre for the rear in the prologue as there is not too much climbing in it and he doesn't want to have to mess about changing tyres in the evening. He says he prefers the profile of the 30mm rim, it gives better comfort and puncture protection, but the OE wheels are heavier, hence keeping the front wheel. Inside the tyres there is nothing special, just standard sealant and no inserts, on race day he relies on sensible pressures to keep him rolling. They are shod with a Maxxis Forekaster on the front and a fast-rolling Ikon on the rear for race day.
What is there to say about Shimano's XT pedals? Solid, reliable. The cockpit is the OE Bontrager carbon bar and 60mm stem that came stock with the bike, just with the stem flipped upside down to get weight on the front for climbing. ESI's foam grips are light, comfortable and cheap - ideal for a blue collar build. Maxime likes to have his Garmin in front of him when racing - he likes to have the climbing metres showing so can gauge how far into the race he is and how much harder he can push if he needs to.