Professional downhill racer Stefan Garlicki will test his form in different conditions when he competes in the mountain-bike world cup event in Val di Sole tomorrow.
The South African, who finished 21st last year, is aiming at a top-10 finish.
“It’s been raining for the last few days and [the wet conditions] are something we’ve never had to deal with on this track,” he said today.
“It’s undoubtedly the most technical one that we race on, with the most features – routes, rocks and everything else you can imagine.”
Garlicki said the riders always joked, saying if it rained there it would probably be the scariest race.
“But goals haven’t changed. I’m definitely looking for that top 10, but it’s going to be tough, given the conditions.”
The 27-year-old had a big fall last weekend and was not sure whether he would be able to ride this weekend. However, he suffered no serious injuries and said: “I’m just a bit sore, but I can push through it.”
He had done “quite a bit of” training on the track, he said. He had struggled there previously, so he decided to put in some work and it helped him a lot.
“The track definitely suits me. I like the line choices. It’s quite loose, similar to what we ride on at home, but obviously much steeper, rougher and longer.”
As a result of the wet conditions he has changed his strategy. “When it’s dry you can really charge and push because you have to make up every second in every section.
“Now, because it’s wet, it will slow things down and make the race a lot more challenging; even the simple sections. It will be all about knowing where you can.”
Garlicki added that he intended to find a good, smooth and consistent pace that he could manage all the way down.
“It’s about being smooth and pushing; not to 100 per cent but rather to 90 so you can get through the sections and not make too many mistakes.”
However, he recorded good split times at Fort William and then finished 48th in the Leogang event.
“It wasn’t anything amazing, but it was a good turning point for me; to get things back on track after those mechanicals.
“I was only four seconds off the top 20, so it was really close racing and I was pretty happy with that performance. One fewer mistake here or there and it could have gone 10 positions either way.”
Garlicki said he was also looking forward to the world cup event in Andorra next weekend.