For the first time this season, all three disciplines of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will come together at one venue - Val di Sole, Italy.Â The small town of Commezzadura in the Trentino region, surrounded by the Dolomite mountains, has become famous for it's technical, steep downhill course, and the steep climbs of the cross-country circuit, plus, for the first time, this year it will also play host to the new Eliminator series.
The action begins with the Eliminator on Thursday.Â The new event has already seen different winners in both previous rounds for both the men and the women, with world champion Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory) leading the women's standings, and Daniel Federspiel (Otztal Scott) the men.Â However, the four-up heats, obstacles and occasional crashes mean that this event is wide open.Â Engen only leads her Swedish compatriot Jenny Rissveds and Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz Haibike) by 10 points in the overall standings.Â On the men's side, Federspiel holds a 20 point margin on round two winner Kenta Gallagher (Superior Brentjens) and German rider Christian Pfaffle.
The Cross-country takes center stage on Saturday, with both the Elite men and women categories having two riders tied on points at the top of the standings after two rounds.Â Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) became the first ever Slovenian World Cup winner at Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, in round two, and is equal on points at 400 with Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC).Â Local Italian favourite and round one winner Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) is just 10 points behind them, and will be motivated to win on home soil.Â On the men's side, world champion and round two winner Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) wears the leader's jersey, tied at 320 points with surprise round one winner Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory).Â Only 20 points behind them is another Swiss rider, Lukas Fluckiger (BMC).
The final day of racing is focussed on Downhill, where the brother and sister team of Rachel and Gee Atherton (GT Factory) dominated the opening round in Fort William, Scotland, last weekend.Â However, Val di Sole is a very different course from Fort William - short, steep and technical, as opposed to a long run in Fort William that favours pedalling fitness and endurance.Â In the men's race, the five riders between second and sixth were separated by less than a second, so there are lots of contenders.Â In the women's race, Rachel Atherton was a staggering ten seconds ahead of the next rider, and is the defending champion at Val di Sole, so she will be tough to beat.
Fans from around the world can follow the action live at redbull.com/bike , starting with the Eliminator on Thursday, June 13th, at 15:52 GMT.