Photo Epic: Back To The Roots - Val di Sole WC - Practice

Aug 20, 2015 at 16:32
by Nathan Hughes  
With the last qualifiers of the 2015 season just one sleep away, a solitary day of practice will have felt far too short to all but the very best in the business. The Val di Sole track is a 2.3km Rubik's cube of rocks and root-nests that the vast majority will never solve. At this stage there seems to be assortment of riders who stand out in particular sections, but on a track so savage, with so much to remember, only those who can reel the beast in as a whole will see the right numbers next to their names on the finish arch. This afternoon it was the Atherton siblings to set the pace, in a maneuver reminiscent of their dual wins here last time around in 2013. Tomorrow the gloves are off and the last points for standings or pride go up for grabs...

Yesterday s rain clouds broke up and we were blessed with fair weather today in Val di Sole. Let s hope for more of the same tomorrow.
  Yesterday's rain clouds broke up and we were blessed with fair weather today in Val di Sole. Let's hope for more of the same tomorrow.

Loris Vergier starts his day discussing bike setup following a night of very heavy rain.
  Loris Vergier starts his day discussing bike setup following a night of very heavy rain.

Big knobs were the choice to start the day but as the sun began to dry things out in the afternoon many riders switched to a less aggressive option.
  Big knobs were the choice to start the day, but as the sun began to dry things out in the afternoon many riders switched to a less aggressive option.

A darn sight better than yesterday s offerings but the skies still look like a major lottery.
  A darn sight better than yesterday's offerings, but the skies still looked like a major lottery.

First scars getting get into the all new top section down from the gondola.
  First scars getting cut into the all new top section down from the gondola.

Jasper Jauch laying on the style for Germany... and also America a little bit.
  Liteville's Jasper Jauch laying on the style for Germany with some distinct vibes of Captain America.

With the overall already wrapped up you might think Atherton would ease off the gas a little... sadly not much chance of that for the rest of the field.
  With the overall already wrapped up you might think Atherton would ease off the gas a little... sadly not much chance of that for the rest of the field.

Nothing to lose and everything to gain Myriam Nicole will by vying for the top step before things get personal in Vallnord.
  Nothing to lose and everything to gain; Myriam Nicole will by vying for the top step before things get personal in Vallnord.

Myriam Nicole has won here before and loves the technical challenge of Val Di Sole.
  Nicole has won here before and loves the technical challenges of Val Di Sole so it will certainly be interesting to see what she can do here.

Sitting 3rd in points Tahnee looked steady in practice all morning. Don t let her 9th in timed training fool you as she stopped a handful of times on track to have a second look at a few sections.
  Sitting 3rd in points Tahnee looked steady in practice all morning. Don't let her 9th in timed training fool you as she stopped a handful of times on track to have a second look at a few sections.

Casey Brown knows the safest place to be at Val dis Sole is off the ground.
  Casey Brown knows the safest place to be at Val dis Sole is off the ground.

Brendan Fairclough is having one of his best seasons and plans to leave Val Di Sole well inside the top 10 overall.
  Brendan Fairclough is having one of his best seasons and plans to leave Val Di Sole well inside the top 10 overall.

Lots of riders complained that they could not see in the dark woods up top. Add in some patchy light and picking and sticking a line became an extremely difficult task.
  Lots of riders complained that they could not see in the dark woods up top. Add in some patchy light, and picking and sticking a line became an extremely difficult task.

After putting on a wild show in Windham it was more of the same today for George Brannigan minus the crashing.
  After putting on a wild show in Windham it was more of the same today for George Brannigan minus the crashing.

Marcelo Gutierrez drops into one of the multiple steep chutes that make up the bottom of the track here.
  Marcelo Gutierrez drops into one of the multiple steep chutes that make up the bottom of the track here.

Val Di Sole
  Nick Beer throwing shapes on some exceptionally greasy, moss-covered rocks, deep mid-track.

You could literally smell disc brakes burning up from the side of the track today. To say Val Di Sole is brutal on pads and rotors is an understatement.
  You could literally smell disc brakes burning up from the side of the track today. To say Val Di Sole is brutal on pads and rotors is an understatement.

Only 6 riders managed to get down under 3 50 today and the Redcar Rocket was one of them. Tomorrow we find out for sure just how quick the mighty root-marathon can be ridden.
  Only 6 riders managed to get down under 3:50 today and the Redcar Rocket was one of them. Tomorrow we find out for sure just how quick the mighty root-marathon can be ridden.

Faustin Figaret rounded out the top 10 in timed training.
  Faustin Figaret rounded out the top 10 in timed training.

Val Di Sole
  Golden dusty loam certainly wasn't what anyone was expecting to find on the mountain after yesterday's torrential rain.

Sam Blenkinsop has had an up and down season and is looking to end on a hi note in Val Di Sole.
  Sam Blenkinsop has had an up and down season and is looking to end on a high note in Val Di Sole.

A red lazer sight on Carpenter s helmet helps the number 2 hone in on all the best lines.
  A red laser sight on Carpenter's helmet helps the number 2 hone in on all the best lines.

Despite yesterday s rain the loam in the woods was running light fluffy and loose.
  Despite yesterday's rain, the loam in the woods was running light, fluffy, and loose.

Ratty is certainly a favorite here in VDS. Heck he is a favorite overall. Hopefully we will get a feeling of how he might do tomorrow.
  Ratty is certainly a favorite here in VDS. Heck, he is a favorite overall. Hopefully we will get a feeling of how he might do tomorrow.

Val Di Sole
  Mid-track pizza delivery in the forest... because Italy.

Harry Heath is on the verge of cracking the top 20 for the overall and if he keeps up the furious pace of his practice laps looks set to smash it on Saturday.
  Harry Heath is on the verge of cracking the top 20 for the overall and if he keeps up the furious pace of his practice laps, looks set to smash it on Saturday.

Emilie Siegenthaler boosting into the woods after the open top section. From here on out things get wild.
  Emilie Siegenthaler boosting into the woods after the open top section. From here on out, things get wild.

The conditions here could not be any further from the dry dust of Lenzerheide where we saw Dean Lucas grab his first podium result.
  The conditions here could not be any further from the dry dust of Lenzerheide where we saw Dean Lucas grab his first podium result.

Giant s Trillo will have to pull out all the stops this weekend to take down Crimmins and keep Dickson at bay.
  Giant's Trillo will have to pull out all the stops this weekend to take down Crimmins and keep Dickson at bay.

Between a rock and a hard place Val di Sole in a nutshell.
  Between a rock and a hard place; Val di Sole in a nutshell.

Mark Wallace getting a bit of air in practice today.
  Mark Wallace getting a bit of air in practice today.

Troy Brosnan was third fastest in timed training today. He is looking so smooth out there letting his bike dance beneath him.
  Troy Brosnan was third fastest in timed training today. He is looking so smooth out there, letting his bike dance beneath him.

Loris Vergier had some amazing moments out on track today. The young frenchman looks to have some confidence behind him after Windham.
  Loris Vergier had some amazing moments out on track today. The young Frenchman looks to have some confidence behind him after Windham.

Just another brick in the wall... not so much. Today was a big welcome back to Steve Peat Peaty s already had a bit of moment on track and been sewn back together ready for tomorrow. Good to get the crashes out the way early on...
  Not just another brick in the wall... Today was a big welcome back to Steve Peat! Peaty's already had a bit of a moment on track and been sewn back together ready for tomorrow. Good to get the crashes out the way early on...

Ruaridh Cunningham squashes what s left of the natural road gap mid track.
  Ruaridh Cunningham squashes what's left of the natural road gap mid track.

Tracey Hannah has had an excellent season and she is looking to finish it off with one more podium.
  Tracey Hannah has had an excellent season and she is looking to finish it off with one more podium.

Val Di Sole
  Markus Pekoll full grip and determination to dip inside the top 10 before the season's end.

Old MacDonald doesn t have a whole farm but it looks like he does have a rooster.
  Old MacDonald doesn't have a whole farm, but it looks like he does have a rooster.

Danny Hart doing what he does best...staying on his bike.
  Danny Hart, doing what he does best...staying on his bike.

A couple of riders so nearly on top of the World last year looking to catch a break here in Italy after a pair of very difficult seasons.
  A couple of riders, so nearly on top of the World last year, looking to catch a break here in Italy after a pair of very difficult seasons.

A pulled back view of the gnar that is Val Di Sole.
  A pulled back view of the gnar that is Val Di Sole.

Gwin was quickly looking up to speed as he negotiated his way through the rough terrain.
  Gwin was quickly looking up to speed as he negotiated his way through the rough terrain.

Between the mass of twisted roots and patches of boardwalk there could be no better venue for a chainsaw massacre.
  Between the mass of twisted roots and patches of boardwalk, there could be no better venue for a chainsaw massacre.

Little Trace parked up above the Redbull section trying to get an idea as to exactly which combination of convoluted lines is the winning ticket.
  Little Trace parked up above the 'Redbull' section trying to get an idea as to exactly which combination of convoluted lines is the winning ticket.

Luca Shaw gunning to be fastest American this weekend. Rumor has it the competition is fierce...
  Luca Shaw gunning to be fastest American this weekend. Rumor has it the competition is fierce...

Gee Atherton was fastest today in timed training. Can the World Champ pull off a podium come Sunday
  Gee Atherton was fastest today in timed training. Can the World Champ pull off a podium come Sunday?

About fifty riders gathered around the first technical section to watch lines for most of the day. None of them tried Bren Dog s line.
  About fifty riders gathered around the first technical section to watch lines for most of the day. None of them tried Bren Dog's line.

Look out for Irish assassin in the junior s battle for second and third in the overall.
  Look out for Irish assassin in the junior's battle for second and third in the overall.

There s a lot of experience under those flowing locks... Sam Dale began the season with a podium maybe he can manage a repeat to finish the year.
  There's a lot of experience under those flowing locks... Sam Dale began the season with a podium, maybe he can manage a repeat to finish the year.

Time to make those cages as short as possible. Those rocks bite.
  Time to make those cages as short as possible. Those rocks bite.

Laurie Greenland has the season all wrapped up and he also had timed training wrapped up today.
  Laurie Greenland has the season all wrapped up, and he also had timed training wrapped up today.

After a 3rd in Widham it was all eyes on Loris Vergier today and rightfully so. He hit this section faster than anyone and left the assembled crowd of risers scratching their heads.
  After a 3rd in Windham it was all eyes on Loris Vergier today, and rightfully so. He hit this section faster than anyone and left the assembled crowd of risers scratching their heads.

We re not sure who this guy is and with a 76 plate he can t be too important but it s still a nice bit of log action.
  We're not sure who this guy is and with a 76 plate he can't be too important, but it's still a nice bit of action for all the log-drop fans out there.

Loic Bruni has one last chance to win this season. Will he do it here in VDS
  Loic Bruni has one last chance to win this season. Will he do it here in VDS?

Extreme everywhere That s Val di Sole.
  Extreme everywhere! That's Val di Sole.

Greg Minnaar has the best chance of catching Gwin in the overall points this weekend and was as fast and and methodical as always in practice today.
  Greg Minnaar has the best chance of catching Gwin in the overall points this weekend, and was as fast and and methodical as always in practice today.

Gee Atherton wants to end a tough 2015 with a bang and get the confidence levels nice and high for Andorra when the time comes to defend his stripes.
  Gee Atherton wants to end a tough 2015 with a bang and get the confidence levels nice and high for Andorra when the time comes to defend his stripes.

Aaron Gwin is once again looking smooth and on the gas.
  No surprises that Aaron Gwin is once again looking smooth, on the gas and very dangerous indeed.

As Loic headed home to rest his mechanic could be seen building up his telemetry bike to help dial in the suspension setup. On a track that starts a big flat but rough and then switches to mega steep and fast half way down riders are trying to set bikes up for what is essentially two different tracks.
  As Loic headed home to rest, his mechanic could be seen building up his telemetry bike to help dial in the suspension setup. On a track that starts a bit flat but rough, and then switches to mega steep and fast half way down, riders are trying to set bikes up for what is essentially two different tracks.

The boys at SRAM were very busy with suspension work today.
  The boys at SRAM were very busy with suspension work today.

Mods to someone s bike. Three guesses who it belongs to and the first two don t count.
  Mods to someone's bike. Three guesses who it belongs to, and the first two don't count.


About the Photographers


Dave Trumpore • Age: 35 • Years Shooting: 4
Dave spent the bulk of the past 17 years racing professionally before realizing that despite qualifying for the random World Cup final here and there, the next generation was just way too fast and way more talented. Upon hanging up his racing boots in 2010, it would be a few years until Dave picked up a camera and started shooting the odd race here and there as a way to stay in touch with all the friends he had made over the years, and the rest as they say is history. In just a few years time his photos have graced the pages of just about every MTB magazine and major media outlet, while his commercial client list includes a who's who of the cycling industry, and he is lucky enough to shoot regularly with some of the best riders on the planet. Currently at Pinkbike, Dave shoots the Downhill WC and the Enduro World Series as well as contributing to the occasional editorial story.


Matthew Delorme • Age: 40 • Years Shooting: 8
Matthew DeLorme is just one of Pinkbike’s motley crew of World Cup Photographers. He currently lives out of a Ogio bag, and calls the road his home. Delorme works for Trek Bicycle, covering their MTB racing programs. He can usually be found laying in the dirt trackside, cracking jokes and saying things that make little to no sense. He enjoys capturing accessory moments and the journey every bit as much as catching the action shot.


Nathan Hughes • Age: 28 • Years Shooting: 2
Nathan Hughes was snared as mainstay Pinbike media crew for the 2013 World Cup season and has been trapped behind the lens and the keyboard ever since. In between the biggest bike events of the year Nathan can be found on client shoots, making far-off travel stories and trying to catch a moment to spin the pedals himself. A great appreciation of the wilderness, the fear of a normal life and the quest for the perfect picture will have him hooked and looking to raise the bar for years to come.



56 Comments

  • 95 4
 PEATY FOR THE WIN!!!
  • 6 0
 it will be a nice debut race for him to win
  • 22 2
 ....as likely as getting a quality POV from that contraption on top of Danny Hart's head.
  • 1 0
 Peaty fell off on one of the north shore bridges! Got a giant slice on his leg and had to have it stitched up!
m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1059454334087494&substory_index=0&id=167286746637595
  • 3 0
 Yeah i would be happy if he was in the top 30, my comment was more of a counter to the gwinner. I like gwin but as others have mentioned on here it is a more exciting and interesting race when people you don't expect get on the podium. Still waitin for guys like Neko or one of the masters bros to get a w.
  • 70 0
 I want to see Conner Feraron go nuts on this track
  • 21 0
 We all do. Connor is getting close...
  • 7 0
 watching Claudio ride with Connor on the course preview, he was looking damn fast.
  • 1 0
 YEAH BABY!
  • 34 0
 Good to see the lower order riders getting some coverage for a change, go random #76!!! (P.S did know it was Sam Hill.)
  • 7 0
 Gas out flat out. Wanna see that plate on the podiums!
  • 2 0
 Go GOAT #76!
  • 1 0
 Would be more interesting if you didn't add in the bracket.
  • 48 24
 Would be nice to see Gwin win! Just an awesome guy and rider.
  • 27 2
 Yeah, he's definitely due for hist first win...... wait
  • 11 9
 EDIT: It's always awesome to see Gwin win. And I want to see him win again.
  • 9 2
 @Src248 hahaha jesus gwinning christ
  • 13 128
flag BudGreen (Aug 20, 2015 at 20:30) (Below Threshold)
 Doesn't a man like Aaron Gwin loving another man (Jesus), make him gay? And if he loves baby jesus, he's a pedophile. A pedophile who can coast a bike quickly down a hill.
  • 25 3
 ^^That's awful.
  • 11 1
 yes indeed
  • 19 1
 hey Budgreen, go back to trolling youtube
  • 11 0
 I'm pulling for Gwin, but one of the things I like about watching mountain bike racing is I'm always stoked for whoever wins.
  • 11 2
 Totally agree!!! I love all these guys , Yes homo
  • 21 0
 Too bad Rémi Thirion can't ride. Would have definitely been his track...
  • 15 0
 Mad props to he photographer in the pic of Brook McDonald, workin it with one arm!
  • 3 0
 Nice catch. I didn't even notice there was a photographer in that shot.
  • 13 0
 Tommy Wilkinson, lovely chap.

Tommy's right arm was paralysed in a riding accident. He still rides, and works with others in similar situation so they may ride as well. Check out his site at www.notbroken.co.uk.

He also writes and snaps for the revitalised Descent World: www.descent-world.co.uk/2015/05/20/photofolio-tommy-wilkinson
  • 4 0
 Tommy is amazing. Such a great addition to the media crew at World Cups.
  • 2 0
 Wow, thanks for the link. No excuses!
  • 11 1
 With all the stick and bullshit Gee gets, I hope he absolutely crushes Worlds again.
  • 8 1
 Are those CODEs on a DEVINCI ? Better pray...
  • 1 0
 Codes make you faster and lot of noise too ahah
  • 2 1
 I see what you did there...
  • 7 0
 La Dispute!
  • 2 0
 Hoped somebody will get it! Big Grin
  • 6 0
 at least 5 PODs in there....awesome
  • 5 0
 Those risers look a little more like riders to me watching Loris Vergier
  • 4 0
 Yup.... That was written intentionally to bait the grammar trolls ;-)

Since you guys have so much fun trying to point out mistakes we figured it would be fun to see your reactions.

Cheers
  • 4 0
 I was trying to figure out if McDonald was running an extra wide rim and tire or what...then I saw it.
  • 3 0
 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DAVE TRUMPORE! He turns 29+7 today (gotta keep it in the twenties somehow haha) Wink
  • 3 0
 "none of them would try Bren Dogs line" by the looks on everyones faces, its a big boy line! this place is crazy!
  • 2 0
 It's going to be a tight one but I wanna see Gwin on top of the box at the end of the day.
  • 2 0
 Why is Danny racing with a can of beer on his helmet?
  • 1 0
 A better question is: Why isn't everyone racing with a can of beer on their helmet?
  • 1 0
 Try to ride champery and then ask again how brutal the track is on brakepads and rotors!
  • 1 0
 Think it was 2008, not 2013 that both Athertons won at VDS (1st paragraph correction).
  • 1 0
 They both won World Champs here in 2008 and then doubled up again at the World Cup rounds in 2013.
  • 2 0
 Can't Wait !!!!
  • 1 0
 looks to be a good weekend!
  • 2 1
 I want to ride this track
  • 2 1
 vergier shaves his leggs ??
  • 1 0
 that number 76 rider you will all know him when the finals end
  • 1 1
 sorry but specialized that yellow mustard color is ugly as
  • 1 2
 I hope he is joking about the No. 76 plate?
  • 2 0
 He is.
  • 1 1
 forgot your Leatt Danny!

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