Another weekend, another mass start on a glacier with potential for producing breath-taking speeds. Another 2600m descent and 20km of brutal tracks and climbs with 700 hardcore riders fighting for every inch.
Martin will go into this event well rested after EWS Round 3 but Dan will have had a mere 6 days to recover from his epic battle with Remy Absalon at Megavalanche. Will his increased strength and fitness be enough to better the 4th he earned here in 2012 ?
Riders: Dan Atherton, Martin Maes
Mechanics: Matteo Nati
Bikes: The new GT Force – because it pedals so well. Dan says “These races are won on pedalling – no matter how fast you are on the Downhill sections, it’s the climbs were the time is made.”
The course is scheduled to be revealed on Thursday night but both riders have raced here before so they have some idea of what to expect. There is a lot of snow cover this year so the top section will be really difficult through the rocks with lots of soft snow patches to catch people out.
Wednesday had thunderstorms and Thursday is forecast for more. The potential for storms lasts throughout the entire weekend, with cloud and rain persisting despite rising temperatures (up to 24 degrees by Sunday)
At Mountain of Hell 2012, Dan qualified 2nd, a mere 1.7 seconds back from Nico Voullioz and made 4th in the finals. This was a quite pivotal race as it confirmed for many that his switch to Enduro had the potential to be a huge success.
Martin has raced here before, claiming an amazing 13th place in 2012 at only 15 years old. He also had a great result at the Enduro of Nations mass start in Sauze d@Oulz where he was 3rd.
Current situation – team perspectives
Dan: “Last year I went up hard and although I was winning in the early stages I was completely fucked for the climb. This year will be all about pacing myself.”
Martin: “I like mass start, when I do the mass start I remember my first competitions in four cross – I’ll be looking to beat the 13th place I got here last year.