Last weekend's MTB World Cup in Val di Sole saw Trek's two flagship riders, Emily Batty and Rachel Atherton, shine in their respective disciplines - Batty clawing herself into second after a thrilling battle in the cross country race, as Atherton stormed into the hot seat early in the downhill event, narrowly edged into second by the end of the day.
Taming the Black Snake
Val di Sole's Black Snake downhill course is one of the most feared and most technical courses on the whole circuit, even when it's dry. In a twisted turn of events, the Trentino region experienced a deluge in the days running up to the race weekend, making an already unpredictable course even more unpredictable and impossible.
Thankfully, the sun chose to shine on finals day, drying the course for Briton, Rachel Atherton, one of the earlier starters after a crash in qualifiers affected her standing. Atherton flew out of the gate, eating into the early benchmark set by Italian, Veronica Widmann, and splitting boards with huge gaps as she barrelled to the finish line.
By split four, Atherton was a comfortable 10 seconds up, confirming her incredible downhill pedigree. She crossed the line and went straight for the hot seat, recording an impressive time that looked unlikely to be beaten. Only Tahnée Seagrave, her young compatriot, went faster on the day, a desperate final sprint at the end clutching the win by a minute margin of 0.123 seconds. It was agony for Atherton, but a fine performance nonertheless, given her bad luck during qualifying.
Atherton was rocking the ever-faithful Trek Session, taking advantage of a geometry longer and more aggressive than Trek's other downhill models. These traits allow Atherton to attack the pedals with all her characteristic abandon and add even more speed to her death-defying runs. The Session also comes with a handy Mino Link feature and all-new adjustable headset system, giving its rider the option to fine-tune the feel while on the course.
A day after Atherton's second place in the downhill, Trek were back into the limelight as Emily Batty, esteemed Canadian cross-country racer, engaged in a thrilling battle for the podium. Maia Wloszczowska launched the first big attack of the race, one which proved so devastating that it would see her claim her first World Cup win of the season.
The rest of the riders were left fighting for second, including the world champion, Jolanda Neff, and French champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Batty calmly followed as the two big hitters furiously attacked each other, gradually chipping away at their energies as the finish line approached.
The measured strategy ultimately paid off for Batty and she rode away from the pair on the final lap, claiming an impressive second place to match Atherton's the day before, completing an epic weekend for Trek Factory Racing.
We think it's fair to say that Batty has one of the coolest bikes on the XC circuit. Her Trek Top Fuel Team Issue is wrapped in a unique custom paint job and carries some ground-breaking prototype tech as well as some of the more standard components found on other Top Fuel models.
Front and rear RockShox suspension, SRAM Eagle XX1 shifting and a super-lightweight OCLV Mountain Carbon frame with a non-Boost rear triangle make this the perfect bike for cross-country racing. Compliant enough to deal with the bumpiest of tracks, but stiff enough to facilitate the punchy accelerations that win races, the Trek Top Fuel is the pinnacle of trail and XC bikes.