Italy will once again host the TrialGP World Championship, this time for the opening round of the championship, due to start this coming weekend with two points-paying days of competition.
The biggest unknown in the current trial environment is about how well Toni Bou will be able to cope with the season opener after the left leg fibula fracture suffered several weeks ago while training on the bike. After undergoing an operation at the Mi Tres Torres clinic, performed by Dr. Josep Torrent and Dr. Maurise Saur and overseen by team doctor Dr. Joaquim Terricabras, the Repsol Honda Team Trial rider embarked on a rehabilitation programme which saw him back on the bike, for the first time, just a few days ago.
The rider himself cited good initial sensations and feels confident as he begins the defence of the world championship title at the TrialGP season opener in Tolmezzo, Italy, on June 12-13. With fourteen titles already under his belt, Bou will be looking to improve upon the figure in what promises to be a highly unpredictable season. Toni Bou has been victorious in Italy on fourteen previous occasions, having won the last twelve races consecutively.
Meanwhile, Repsol Honda Team brother-in-arms, Japanese rider Takahisa Fujinami, will start a 26th consecutive season in the elite class competition. ‘Fujigas’, world champion in 2004, will be looking for a positive season with the podium as his main aim, after the shortened 2020 calendar, with its concentration of races, hampered his performance in the opening events. Fujinami’s track record so far in Italy includes five wins and a record 22 podium finishes.
The 2021 Italy TrialGP will be held in Tolmezzo, in the Udine region, at the foot of the Eastern Alps. The season’s new regulations will affect the route, which will have, differing from last season, just two laps with a total of 12 sections. The maximum permitted time to complete the first round will be 2h30m. After 15 minutes for rest and refreshments, riders will have 1h45m to finish the second lap of the sections, with the maximum total time allowed per rider being 4h30m. On Saturday, the event will get underway at 10:00, while on Sunday the trial kicks off at 09:00.
“There are a lot of unknowns as we tackle Italy, but after the injury I have been very careful to make it to the opening championship event, making sure that the bone has held well. Anything could still happen because it has only been a month and a half since the operation, but the goal is clear: get to Italy and get as many points as possible. I will try to make it through the weekend, which will be pretty tough as a month off can really take its toll on your fitness. On the other hand, we know from experience, as it’s not the first time that I’ve been through this, what could happen, but we will try to make the most of the good sensations and focus on the championship.”
“I am very happy to return to the Outdoor World Championship for another year. I’ve already had 26 seasons in the top-flight competition and in the same team too, and that makes me very confident. I am also highly motivated because since the end of last year we have worked well as a team and have improved the bike and now it is running like a dream. I’m very eager to get this opening trial underway, as for me personally at 41, I want to know how far I can get. Everything is up in the air, but we start very well prepared both physically and technically.”