The Finale Outdoor Region welcomes two stages of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. The traditional enduro stage and for the first time also a stage of the cross Country Marathon word cup.
The UCI World Cup races kick off on Saturday when the best enduro riders will tackle the vast network of trails starting from Pietra Ligure. With six big stages and over 3000 meters of elevation gain on the menu, riders will need to push hard to keep both body and bike intact.
In the women's competition, all eyes will be on series leader Bex Baraona (Yeti/Fox Factory Race Team), who leads the standings by just 17 points over Frenchwoman Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zip Collective), with Ella Conolly (Cannondale Enduro Team ) which completes the podium. However, local rider Gloria Scarsi (Canyon CLLCTV Dainese) could be a real threat for the podium.
In the men's competition it is Baraona's Yeti/Fox Factory Race teammate Richie Rude who will start the race as the clear favourite. The American rider will be looking to add a fifth podium finish to his roster in the Finale, but he will be challenged by the Australian Daniel Booker (Nukeproof SRAM Factory Racing) and Luke Meier-Smith (Giant Factory Off-Road Team -EDR) who are in second and third place respectively.
Sunday is the turn of the marathon runners, who will set off from the ancient walled village of Finalborgo towards the mountains on a grueling 100km course which will include fire roads, singletrack and 3760m of elevation gain.
Leading the women's competition will be Lejla Njemčević of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who won in the first round in Nové Město na Moravě (Czech Republic) by an impressive margin of 02:46. Her main competition will come in the form of Lithuanian Katazina Sosna (Torpado Factory Team) and Swiss Irina Luetzelschwab.
In the men's race, Italy can expect a good performance from the top two riders of Fabian Rabensteiner (Wilier-Pirelli Factory Team MX) and Nicolas Samparisi (KTM Alchemist powered by Brenta Brakes). At the first round in the Czech Republic, the Italian teammates were involved in a spectacular final sprint after 120km of racing, with Rabensteiner coming out on top. The German Simon Stiebjahn (Singer Racing Team) will also be looking to make his mark after an excellent third place in his last outing.
Amateurs will have the opportunity to compete in both formats thanks to the Finale Outdoor Region Enduro and the Finale Outdoor Region Marathon.
To follow all the action from the UCI Marathon World Cup and UCI Enduro World Cup, tune into the UCI Mountain Bike World Series YouTube channel for official race highlights, bike checks and exclusive athlete interviews.
Race summaries and highlights are also available on Eurosport and worldwide on GCN+.