The New Zealand rider is looking to continue his comeback in Internazionali d’Italia Series’ final stage in the Aosta Valley
The entry list of La Thuile MTB, Internazionali d’Italia Series stage 5, is taking shape. Another remarkable name has opted to take part in the final act of the most important Italian MTB circuit: New Zealand’s Sam Gaze.
After a difficult start of the season, characterized by a nasty crash at the ABSA Cape Epic, the Specialized Racing rider looks to regain his best feelings to rise back to the positions where he belongs. In the 2018 season, former Under 23 World Champion Gaze broke out on the international Mountain Bike, beating World and Olympic Champion Nino Schurter in the UCI World Cup opener in Stellenbosch after a tight duel. In addition, the 23-year-old rider won the Short Track races in Nove Mesto and Monte-Sainte-Anne.
La Thuile will be a litmus test for Gaze’s seasonal ambitions: the rider born in Tokoroa will measure himself against top-notch competition, including the duelists for Internazionali d’Italia Series’ crown, new UCI World Ranking #1 Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Torpado Ursus) and the current leader of the circuit, Stephane Tempier (Bianchi Countervail), in addition to Maxime Marotte (Cannondale Factory Racing) and the Team Absolut Absalon athletes, Jordan Sarrou, Mathis Azzaro and Thomas Bonnet.
Located between 1475 to 1535 mt of elevation in the La Thuile Bike Park, the race route measures 4,1 Km with 180 mt. elevation 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 the natural drops take turns to artificial sections like the rock garden. The athletes should also get prepared for the altitude, that might further test the riders’ endurance.
La Thuile MTB will offer three days of action: on Friday June 21st the warm-up and preliminary operations will take place, followed Saturday by the Internazionali d’Italia Series races. The Men’s UCI Junior Series round will open the programme at 10.30 am CET, followed by the Women’s competitions (Open and UCI Junior Series) at 12.30 and the Men’s Open race at 3.00 pm. On Sunday June 23rd, the youth races will close the programme: the Men’s Cadets race starts at 10.00, followed by Cadet and Rookie Women at 11.00 and Rookie Men at 1.30 pm.