Apparently Val di Sole translates roughly into ‘valley of sun’ but for this week it is rather valley of mist or rain. Nobody would have thought it possible to go from such great conditions in Fort William to atrocious weather in Italy, but that is just what has happened.
The weather is not the worst news though as Dan Atherton is expected not to race after crashing in downhill practice and possibly breaking his collarbone. After some great rides in the 4X World Cups this year it is not exactly great news.
Forecasts say that the week can only get better and that goes for the racing, too. Today before the opening ceremony (which tells you something about the popularity of the event) was the XC team relay. France were surprise winners in the rain after the Swiss had some trouble on a muddy course.
GB fielded a team consisting of Liam Killeen, Junior Alex Paton, under-23 Ian Bibby and Fiona MacDermid, recording 14th from 20 teams. Their sights are now on the races later in the week – especially as Killeen set the fastest lap of the day.
As far as the terrain goes here, all courses look like being real testers. Even though the weather will improve through the week, frequent showers are expected along with some sunnier spells. That could mean the worst type of mud – you know, that sticky stuff you always get at Mountain Mayhem…
Tomorrow is the real business end of racing, with Junior and under-23 women the first to get World Champion rainbow jerseys they can wear year-round.