World Champion Richards returns to racing, chases three-peat in La Thuile  

The World Champion has chosen Italy and La Thuile MTB event, of which she won the first two editions, for her racing return after the back issues. On Saturday, June 25th, Canada’s Batty, American Batten and Italians Specia, Lechner and Berta figure to be the fellow main competitors

La Thuile MTB Race, Internazionali d’Italia Series’ fifth and final round, is ready to welcome Women’s XC World Champion Evie Richards. On June 25th in the Aosta Valley, Italy, the Brit will chase a third consecutive victory in the now-HC competition, following her 2019 and 2021 feats.

Returning to racing after back issues had forced her to skip the World Cup stage in Leogang, the Trek Factory Racing athlete will arguably still be the one to watch in the Open Women’s race. La Thuile’s display will also mark Richards’ first time racing in Italy since graduating World Champion in Val di Sole in August 2021.

Like in the previous edition, La Thuile’s start line will feature American Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing), third last year, as well as experienced Canadian Emily Batty (Canyon MTB Racing), who recently got back to winning ways on her home soil.

While competing for the Internazionali d’Italia Series crown, separated by 45 points, overall leader Giada Specia (Wilier-Pirelli) and Eva Lechner (Trinx Factory Team), are Italy’s best chances for a standout performance in La Thuile, along with Aosta Valley-native Martina Berta (Santa Cruz-FSA), winner in the Short Track Italian National Championships last week after an extended period off following a nasty crash in Capoliveri.

Located between 1475 to 1535 mt a.s.l. in the La Thuile Bike Park, the race route is 4,5 Km long with a 180 mt. elevation gain per lap. La Thuile’s alpine character emerges in the morphology of the land: the woods area is characterized by steep gradients both up and downhill, whilst natural drops alternate to artificial sections like the new pump track and the famous “The King” rock garden. The athletes should also get prepared for the altitude, which might further test their stamina.

The La Thuile MTB Race program spreads over three days: the Italian Youth XCE Championships will be held on Friday, June 24th from 15.30 to 19.15CEST. Saturday, June 25th is dedicated to the Internazionali d’Italia Series events (Men’s UCI Junior Series at 10.30 CEST, Open and UCI Junior Series 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.