2021’s U23 MTB World Cup overall silver medallist, Simone Avondetto checks in with Wilier after the first World Cup of 2022.

Simone Avondetto, you’re now in your final year as an under 23 and based on your results from last year, we reckon you’ve got something special in mind.

“If anything, I’m happy with how things have gone and that I’ve seen a continual improvement in my results and how I’m riding. I’m definitely pleased about that, but after finishing second in the World Cup last year, I want to get one more major result before moving up to the elites. I want to be in the mix and fight for the overall again, which is why we’ve worked so hard this winter at Wilier – Pirelli to get some improvements.

In order to win a World Cup, you’ve got to ride well at all of the nine races, with as many podium finishes as possible. Based on my winter training and this final block of work we’ve done in Brazil, I’m going into the season feeling confident that I can get the results I want. But it sucks because this wasn’t the greatest first round with stomach issues and a disappointing performance. Fortunately, the season is still long, and we’ll be able to make up for it.”

This year’s World Cup circuit is a mix of historic races like Nové Město and Val di Sole and brand new tracks like the first round in Petrópolis, Brazil. Have you already got a picture of which races are most important for the overall? Which races are you particularly focusing on?

“I don’t have any specific objectives. All nine of the World Cup rounds are as important as the next one, so I’ll tackle them all with the same focus, hoping to get as many points as possible at each race regardless of whether one course suits my riding style more than any other. I know that each round is going to be super hard – this first test in Petrópolis definitely was. It’s always cool to race in new places and get new experiences so I’m stoked about that aspect.”

Having front and rear suspension is pretty much a non-negotiable for World Cup XCO MTBing these days, how are you feeling on the URTA SLR?

“Full-sus bikes are a must for the World Cup and you’ll always find me on a fully as they suit my riding style so much. At the more classic MTB courses, like Albstadt in Germany, I know some riders will opt for a hardtail, but I’ll be on the startline with the URTA SLR. I’m super happy with the bike. It’s so light that I’m really not bothered about the need to use a hardtail: whatever advantages you think a hardtail has over a full-suspension bike are basically minimised with this bike. And the fact that it’s so light means the URTA SLR handles brilliantly.”

Have you been researching the courses so that you can get the URTA SLR dialled in perfectly for each round of the World Cup?

“Not really, no. As standard, the URTA SLR is well built anyway. Along with the mechanics and the rest of the performance team at Wilier – Pirelli we’ve decided to tune a few small but specific things, like tyre choice, tyre pressure, plus the set-up of the fork and rear shock. For the rest of it, the URTA SLR is so versatile and balanced that you don’t need to worry about its suitability for a specific track.”

THE BIKE OF THIS ARTICLE

URTA SLR – BLACK MATT

URTA SLR is at the height of Wilier Triestina’s evolution in the mountain bike sector. A top-tier bike made to provide a more technical and leading-edge cross country cycling experience. The frame has been designed to reach extremely high levels of traction and stability. Thanks to its reliability and efficiency, it is the best solution for those who strive for top performance on XCO/XCM courses.

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