Dan Stanbridge writes…
This year racing kicked off early, with Round 1 of the World Cup series in South Africa at the beginning of April. This was a tough one for me with a shoulder injury during the winter still lingering. I was however excited to go racing in South Africa, pleased to come away unscathed, and keen to keep building on my fitness for the rest of the season.
Since then as the World Cup season has progressed, I have been getting stronger, have been able to get some more time on the bike, and finished up 13th at Round 3 in Andorra a couple of weeks ago. Most of the races this year have been hotly contested, dry and fast courses, so times have been really close making for very exciting racing. This has also been helped by the new UCI timing chips allowing more split times and a speed trap on the way down.
Yesterday we got back from Round 4 of the world cup series in Fort William, Scotland. This is always a great event, the only world cup on home soil, and the best crowd of spectators. After a steady qualifying and race run, I picked up some good points moving up to 23rd in the world cup rankings, keen to get back to the protected top 20 after a difficult start to the season.
We have put a lot of effort into the bike this year, making it as light as possible, and working closely with Fox and Mojo on the suspension. Each year it amazes me how much it is possible do to with suspension to refine the handling and grip of a bike, this year especially with racing being so tight, I think having the best bike setup has been really important.
I am looking forward to the rest of the season now, with the European Championships next week, followed by Round 5 of the world cup series in Slovenia.