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Travel: La Thuile with Manuel Ducci and Valentina Macheda

Enduro is a young discipline, but its roots penetrate deep into the true essence and real meaning of the mountain-biking soul. Its growth and evolution have been kept in the shade by other disciplines for many years, but finally Enduro could emerge with confidence and show its richness and maturity as an ultimate sport. Enduro is now fascinating a growing number of enthusiasts in the world of cycling, offering them a fresh and modern interpretation of the mountain-bike discipline.

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It is interesting to note how this revival and such a ‘new age’ of mountain-biking goes in the same direction as the recovery of a number of ancient trails, the same single-tracks where the Enduro bikers love to ride. The vegetation has covered and closed these trails as much as modern man forgot about their existence or wrongly recognized their use.

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The Alps protected this network of trails as guardians, hiding them in the woods or in the meadows, taking care of the same trails that in the distant past allowed the inhabitants to reach remote places and go into the wilderness. Sometimes, what the bikers simply refer to as ‘trails’ have a long and fascinating past, and this surely happens in La Thuile.

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A long time ago, the area of Plan Praz, located above the villages of Preyllon, Les Granges and Petosan, was covered by quarries, exactly on the opposite slope to where nowadays the lifts run and the riders have their fun.

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Hundreds of km of tunnels and caves extended under the surface and across the roots of the mountains for the extraction of anthracite and other raw materials. Meanwhile, the surface was covered by a dense network of trails to connect the tunnel entrances linking down to the valley.

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The restoration and securing of the quarries, now rehabilitated as tourist attractions for their historical and cultural value, triggered the curiosity of the riders Valentina Macheda and Manuel Ducci who came to discover this heritage.

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Today this history has evolved in a gorgeous mix of wild trails that climb and descent, where Enduro can express at its best, challenging the riders for the need of technical skills in the descents, power and stamina in the pedalled sections. Here, the mountain slopes are steep even at low elevation. The ground is compact and the dirt is thick. The woods are the domain of huge trees and of their massive roots. They host winding single tracks, narrow and meandering trails that go down to the valley.

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On this side of the mountain, as down in the valley, the choice of descents is endless. This will make of La Thuile an awesome location for the round #4 of the EWS, on the 12 and 13 of July.<7p>

For more information, visit www.lathuile.it

Words: www.lathuile.it | Pictures: Matteo Cappe’ | www.lathuile.it

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