Eagle-Vail’s Del Bosco to Worlds … this time on a bike
MONTREAL- Chris Del Bosco is going to Worlds.
This isn’t exactly news. He is the defending ski cross world champion, having struck gold in Deer Valley, Utah, in February.
But now, the Eagle-Vail resident – who is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada – is off to the UCI Mountain Bike and Trial World Championships in Champery, Switzerland, Aug. 31-Sept. 4, the Canadian Cycling Association announced Friday.
Not too bad for a guy who -until this summer – hadn’t been on a downhill bike since 2007.
“I got the official announcement today,” Del Bosco said from Montreal. “It was kind of a long shot at the beginning of the season.”
Del Bosco on a mountain bike is not a completely foreign concept. Before ski cross really got going in the second half of the last decade, Del Bosco had competed in events around North America. His focus shifted to ski cross with a bronze medal in the sport at the 2006 X Games in Aspen.
Del Bosco said that there are two reasons he’s hit the bike again. The first is that tearing down a mountain on a bike comes as close as possible to simulating the competition of ski cross during the summer.
“The skills for both cross over really well,” he said. “It’s speed and reacting quickly. You can’t recreate that in training. It’s very similar competition and having all that experience and time in competition is good.”
Reason No. 2 is even more intriguing. The last three ski-cross seasons, Del Bosco has finished second in the chase for the discipline’s coveted crystal globe behind Tomas Kraus (2009), Michael Schmid (2010) and Andreas Matt (2011).
A closer look at the results of those seasons shows that Del Bosco has struggled in early season World Cup events before finding his form midseason. While he’s not going to toss back his six World Cup wins, not to mention Worlds gold earlier this year and the top step of the podium at the X Games in 2010 – all of which have come in January and early February – by the time he’s gotten these victories, he’s always been in too much of a hole points-wise to grab the discipline crown.
So Del Bosco considers mountain biking a change-up for the offseason, which he hopes produces different results when the snow starts flying.
“Last year wasn’t as bad (in the early season),” he said. “I was getting through a couple of rounds. But I always seem to find my form in mid- to late-January. But I put myself behind when Schmid and Andy (Matt) are getting podiums at the beginning of the season. A couple hundred points, it’s pretty hard to come back from that.”
Del Bosco has competed in the two UCI World Cup mountain biking events in North America this summer as well as other competitions. He finished second in the downhill at the Canadian National Championships at the end of last month, triggering one of many ways of qualifying for Worlds.
For those not familiar with downhill mountain biking, it’s much like alpine skiing in format. There are training runs and then it’s one shot down the mountain with the fastest time winning.
Of course, this won’t be Del Bosco’s first trip to Switzerland. There are two events on the ski-cross World Cup tour each year there.
“It’ll be a nice change. It’ll be a bit warmer, hopefully,” Del Bosco joked.
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