Monster Energy/ Specialized: Ropelato Rises & Hill sets his Sites!
August 1st, 2012
Monster Energy / Specialized Racing was in Val D’Isere, France this weekend for the sixth round of the UCI MTB World Cup, where Mitch Ropelato took home a career best 13th place, and Sam Hill returned to vintage speed. The track for the first ever World Cup stop in Val D’Isere was rough, high speed, and got more so as the week went on as hundreds of riders took to the course. The braking bumps got deeper and deeper, making it tough to carry speed through corners and maintain control. Weather conditions varied between sunshine, torrential rains, and even hail, as riders tackled the sub two-and-a-half minute course laid out on the steep exposed ski run.
Sam dropped into his race run in usual style only to fall a couple turns in, then quickly gathered himself before crossing the first split in 73rd place. He dug deep and made up spots on the way down, eventually finishing 27th on the day. Mitch came down a few riders later holding onto a relatively smooth run landing him in 13th overall for the day.
Ropelato was happy with his run, despite an error at the top of the course. “My run went good. I had one mistake but the rest was muy bien. I came down 6th and ended up in 13th place, so I’m pretty stoked. It’s my best world cup so far and I’m happy to be able to take advantage of this opportunity that has been given to me.”
Hill was out of contention for the win here almost as soon as his run started, when he went down on the 3rd corner in deep, silty dirt. “My run didn’t start off the greatest. I got into the third turn and pushed my front end right through a rut and ended up on the ground. I tried to get up as quick as I could and go as fast as I could from there down. I’m happy with the way I have been riding this week, I feel like my speed is there and luck just isn’t on my side. I’m hoping to go for the win at Crankworx and use that to carry some momentum into World’s at Leogang in a few weeks time.”
Mitch came out and performed at least as well as the team could ask. “He’s been awesome to work with during the past few events. I think he’s learning more each time he’s on the bike, and he’ll continue creeping up the ranks,” said team manager, Sean Heimdal.
“I know this isn’t the result that Sam set out for today, but we can see he’s back to his old ways and his lower split times show that he’s back up to speed. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys perform at World Champs, and we’re all looking forward to having Troy back with us by then,” Heimdal continued.
Photo Credit: Fraser Britton