Healed from a hand injury, the Italian prospect has claimed his first seasonal success, and looks forward to a greater challenge in Internazionali d’Italia Series’ finale. “Climbs will be decisive in La Thuile, but you can lose it all for a mistake on descent”
The U23 Worlds silver medal conquered in Val di Sole 2021 projected Juri Zanotti to a new dimension. The Italian athlete switched teams, joining BMC MTB Racing Team, and is now considered one of the top prospects in mountain biking.
The Italian looked prime for another leap in 2022, but a serious hand in injury in the opening Short Track of the 2022 UCI World Cup in Brazil has held him back so far. After a slow recovery, returning to competitions in France and having tested his legs by winning last weekend’s race in Courmayeur, Zanotti will take part in the Internazionali d’Italia Series final stage in La Thuile (Aosta Valley), on Saturday, June 25th, ready to square off with top competition.
“The hand doesn’t hurt anymore. The hardest part is getting back into shape”, explained Zanotti. – “I don’t feel right quite yet but I’m motivated to find my best feelings. This season brought me a top team, though they don’t put pressure on me. I feel blessed of having a legitimate MTB legend like Julien Absalon as my Team Manager. Every day, I’m surprised by his approach with us, with kindness and humility. Julien is a great champion also from the human point of view. He is the main point of reference for me and my teammates”.
Last year, Zanotti finished fourth in La Thuile, the first among Italian riders to the line. The Italian clearly likes the ring designed by Enrico Martello. “The La Thuile’s course is the perfect picture of modern Cross Country racing. Climbs are pivotal to winning, but descents are where you can lose the race: you need to know the course and boast some real technical skills. Being fast on the technical parts helps you save energy and watts, but you can pay big for the slightest mistake.”
In 2021, La Thuile MTB Race proved to be a springboard for Zanotti’s season, who went on to claim silver medals both at the European and World Championships among Under 23. “The second part of the season will be very important for me. My first goal is the Italian National Championship in Valle di Casies but European Champs, World Champs and the World Cup Finals in Val di Sole are circled on my calendar”, concluded Zanotti.
The La Thuile MTB Race program spreads over three days: the Italian Youth XCE Championships will be held on Friday, June 24th from 16.00 to 18.00 CEST. Saturday, June 25th is dedicated to the Internazionali d’Italia Series events (Junior Men at 10.30 CEST, Open and Junior Women at 12.30 CEST, Open Men at 15.00 CEST).
On Sunday, June 26th, the XCO youth competitions will start at 09.00 CEST with the Rookie Men races, followed by Rookie Women races at 10.00 CEST, Cadet Women at 11.00 CEST and Cadet Men at 12.30 CEST. Rounding out the program will be the Italian XCE Championships in the afternoon, from 15.30 to 18.00 CEST.