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Braidot pursues overall World Cup glory in Val di Sole

Following a top-class performance throughout the 2022 MTB Cross Country World Cup, with victories in Lenzerheide and Andorra as the highlights, the Italian is ambitious for the Grand Finale in Trentino (September 2-4). “It’s the chance of a lifetime”.

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI MTB World Cup saw Italy reclaim a prominent role in the XCO discipline, mostly thanks to Luca Braidot. The Santa Cruz-FSA rider will be the most awaited Italian athlete on the starting line of the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals (September 2-4), the last act of a season in which he claimed his first two World Cup wins, with back-to-back feats in Lenzerheide and Andorra.

In recent years, Braidot’s consistency was often affected by physical and technical issues; in 2022, the Italian has enjoyed a breakout season, finally being able to claim his first World Cup wins. Four years had passed since the previous Elite World Cup win for Italy, Gerhard Kerschbaumer’s success in Andorra in 2018.

“All of sudden, I just clicked”, said Braidot. – “Winning in Switzerland I realized that I belonged with the strongest, and that made it possible for me to repeat in Andorra. I had good legs of course, but I was in similar conditions several times before: the mental side of things actually made a huge difference. Now, I dream of a great World Championships in Les Gets, and look to fight for the overall World Cup win. It will be difficult, but I have the chance of a lifetime”.

Braidot sits now in third place with 1346 points in the UCI World Cup overall ranking, twelve behind Spain’s David Valero Serrano (1358), whilst Swiss Nino Schurter leads the classification with 1483 points.

“Nino has quite a good cushion, but I will try to forget the math while competing in Val di Sole. To have a chance, I need to win and that’s all: we will count the points when it’s done and dusted. For me, to be in the run against someone like Nino Schurter, one of the greatest bikers of all time, is really something. I need to kick up a notch to win it all.”

In the last World Cup event organized in the Val di Sole Bikeland, in August 2019, Luca Braidot finished fifth. “It was one of the best days of my career – commented Braidot – for two reasons: both my brother Daniele and I had great performances, and a small squad such as the CS Carabinieri got the win in the Teams Classification of a World Cup event, ahead of top teams like Scott and Cannondale”.

“The World Cup round in Val di Sole is very special for Italian riders. The fans are incredible, and the route is very challenging, with a very slow first section and a very fast finale. It’s hard to make predictions for this race, things have been so close throughout the whole season, but I will go all in. That’s the only thing on my mind.”

MERCEDES-BENZ UCI MTB WORLD CUP FINALS – PROGRAM

Friday, September 2nd

17.30 CET: Women Short Track
18.15 CET: Men Short Track
20.45 CET: 4X Pro Tour

Saturday, September 3rd

09.45 CET: Downhill JR Men
10.30 CET: Downhill JR Women
12.30 CET: Downhill Elite Women
13.30 CET: Downhill Elite Men
17.15 CET: Giant Mini World Cup
20.45 CET: 4X Pro Tour

Sunday, September 4th

08.30 CET: Cross Country U23 Women
10.15 CET: Cross Country U23 Men
12.20 CET: Cross Country Elite Women
14.50 CET: Cross Country Elite Men