Luca Braidot heads Italy’s XCO expectations for Val di Sole MTB World Cup


Although the competitions in Val di Sole are yet to start, the race venue in Daolasa di Commezzadura is already full of excitement for the most anticipated event of the summer season.

From Thursday, June 29th, to Sunday, July 2nd, the eyes of the worldwide mountain bike community will be focused on Trentino, where the only Italian round of the Cross Country, Short Track and Downhill MTB World Cup is held.

The event in Trentino comes at a good time for the Italian Cross Country MTB Team, particularly after the bronze medal claimed by Luca Braidot at the recent European Championships in Poland.

"The European competition was challenging due to tricky terrain and revealed the true strengths of the competitors. Luca’s third place bodes well for Val di Sole,” stressed Mirko Celestino, coach of the Italian national team. "There are plenty of riders to keep under control, starting from Lars Forster and Vlad Dascalu. Also, we should not underestimate the French riders who chose not to participate in the European Championships to focus on Val di Sole, one of their internal qualification trials for the 2024 Olympics in Paris."

"I expected to see something more from Avondetto, but he is still a young rider, and he has been struggling with some physical issues lately. On the other hand, Colledani is unpredictable, capable of great highs and lows."

Coach Celestino also dwelled on the overall condition of the Italian women riders, who are looking to better their European Championships’ display. "Martina Berta could not find her rhythm at the European Championships, but she has the potential to achieve good results in Val di Sole. In her first Elite year, Giada Specia has showed a good consistency throughout the season. Among Under 23, Sara Cortinovis is very competitive on the climb, though she struggles a bit on descent. She often tends to overcompensate to overcome this limit."

"Among international riders, Ferrand-Prèvot was unlucky at the European Championships, but she has strong legs, while I thought Lecomte looked in less shiny condition," Celestino stated.

On Thursday, June 29th, the program of the Val di Sole World Cup starts with a novelty: the U23 Short Track races. The men's race will start at 17:30, followed by the women's race at 18:15.

On Friday, June 30, the downhill program will start on the legendary Black Snake track. The Women Junior final will take place at 12:45pm, followed by the Men Junior final at 1:15pm. In the afternoon there will be another session of Short Track racing, this time for the Elite categories: Women at 17:45 and Men at 18:30. Later in the evening, under the spotlight of Daolasa, the 4X Pro Tour event will take place from 21:00.

Saturday, July 1, will be devoted to the Black Snake, with the Elite Finals scheduled for 13:00 (women) and 14:00 (men), broadcast in Italy by Raisport and Eurosport. In the afternoon, at 17:00, it's the turn of the kids with the GIANT Mini World Cup Cross Country.

Sunday, July 2nd, will mark the traditional conclusion of the Val di Sole Bikeland program with the Cross Country race. The U23 Women's race will start at 8:30 AM, followed by the U23 Men's race at 10:30 AM. The Elite Women's race will take place at 1:00 PM, followed by the Elite Men's race at 3:00 PM. Both Elite races will be broadcasted live on Raisport and Eurosport.

Daolasa di Commezzadura (italy), June 27th, 2023