World Cup 2018 - Val di Sole, Italy

Julio 08 — 2018 | Val di Sole, Italy

It’s been a couple of weeks since the World Cup in Leogang and the guys have had a chance to refit and recoup in the meantime. Round 4 landed in Val di Sole, Italy this year, and, even in good conditions, this is a track with a reputation. It’s rocky and rough from top to bottom and steep as hell throughout. The challenge isn’t getting up to speed, it’s staying sharp between splits while you’re getting thrown from feature to feature. Efficient line choice was critical on race day but when the rain fell during qualifiers it was a survival necessity.

Mother Nature once again stepped in to deliver a daily dose of rain just before the weekend’s festivities. The rain soaked track changed the conditions around qualifiers dramatically but Luca and Loris continued on in the form we’ve seen from them up to this point in the season. Luca qualified 5th and Loris 9th (Greg is healing quickly and is hoping to return in Andorra next week); the two were on pace for another fast weekend.

Dark clouds lingered on the morning of finals, but fortunately the rain held off. The track dried as the day progressed and as it did, things turned from wet and snotty-slick to loose and almost-dusty. Riders and mechanics scrambled to make last minute set up changes and tire selections. 

Loris was first onto the track for the Syndicate. He hit the pedals hard right out of the gate and sliced through the first three turns but on the fourth, a sweeping right hander, his front end washed out and he hit the ground hard. Despite the crash Loris dusted himself off and rode on at a pace that proved he’s still on form to be a contender. Towards the bottom of the track he would roll through the speed trap at 67km/h using an inside line and finish 45th on the day.  

With Loris out of contention and Greg still on the mend, it was up to Luca as the final riders queued up. Luca rolled into the top section of the track, clipped a pedal, and then battled back with signature consistency, speed, and smoothness, putting together a run that would get faster and faster as it progressed. By the time he crossed the finish Luca would put down some of the fastest bottom splits of the day which would earn him 4th place and bring to an end a streak of bad luck that had plagued him since Fort William.

Final Results  
Luca Shaw - 4thLoris Vergier - 45th (Crash)Greg Minnaar - DNS (Injury)

The man, the myth, the moustache, Steve Peat offering Luca a well-trained eye during trackwalk.

R: "Hmm, I wonder if it's more like krrrrkkk-shhhoowwsh or shapabapabap-BAPBAP?" L: "It's gonna be so nice to get back to Waffle House after Andorra"

The look of a man with two second place finishes under his belt after three rounds of racing. That top step is so, so close.

The mud bath before the dust of race day. Luca and Loris went 5th and 9th in qualis.

Number of years Luca's been on Earth: 21. Number of years Doug's been wrenching on race bikes: More than 21.

Meanwhile, closer to the pit snacks.

The run that ended before it could really start. Loris went down hard in finals when his front end washed out in a fast, sweeping corner at the top of the track.

Towards the bottom Slow Loris clocked in at 67 km/h—4th fastest through the speed trap.

Laura checking the damage. It takes a village to keep the puzzle(rs) pieces together >

5th place in qualis had Luca starting just after Loris.

Fighting back from a pedal strike at the top of the track, Luca's lower splits were green, green, green. 

One last scrub. Luca would roll through the finish in second before getting bumped into 4th on the day. That's just 2.2 seconds from the lead and .9 up from his 2017 time.

Loris and Luca are 7th and 8th in the overall now. How's that for cameraderie?

You get champange, you get champagne—EVERYONE gets champagne. 

Greg, Luca, and Loris roll to Andorra for the next round of racing on July 15. See you there!

Looking for more? See the Syndicate team page or watch the latest SYNDICATE episode.

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