Borovets Open Cup 2019 was epic. Was it because it hadn't rain for more than a month or because of the strong international competition. 80 riders from 8 countries came to Borovets for the valuable points which the race with UCI Class 1 was giving. Of course, Stivian Gatev was there and he was looking for a strong result on his home track.
By Friday the track-walk was done and the training session was opened. From the beginning, it was clear that it would take a balance between aggressive riding and stability to take the win. The dust was 20-30 centimeters deep at some spots. From the sides, it looked like the racers are riding one of the dessert stages from Dakar Rally. Stivian was making a strong impression all day. He was generating little dust clouds whenever he passes, and it looked like he wants to "destroy" the track.
"This is my home track. I want to finish well here, obviously, I would like to will, but we'll see." - Stivi explained after Friday's training session.
Saturday was the day for qualification. That's the time when racers have to show how good are their lines and what speed do they carry on the track. Stivian stopped the time at 3:41:31. This was good enough for second place on the day.
"I had a good run, but I didn't expect the track to be so warned out, after just one day of training. I'll do a couple of small changes to my bike setting in order to get some more speed. I think I will add more rebound to the fork and damper and I will go a little lower on tire pressure, just to get some more grip."
Sunday - finals day. You could feel the tension. Everyone is serious, no more jokes around the team tents. The 3 hour training passed by quicker than most expected. The time to prove your speed has come. Would Stivi be able to conquer his home race? We were about to see just that.
The commentator announced the start of the finals for the Elite category. Everyone was bettering their qualification times. It looked like it's going to be very tight for the last 3 riders on the hill. Stivian started and the finish area erupted - everybody wanted to see the homeboy take the win. Stivi stopped the watch at 3:40:84, and 3rd place for the Bulgarian National Champ.
"I wanted more from this race, but on the other hand, I didn't want to throw it away. I rode a bit more conservative at some places, just because the track was so beaten up. I managed to take some good points for the UCI ranking, and also I was the fastest Bulgarian, so this gave me some valuable points for the Bulgarian series. If i win the last two rounds i will win the Bulgarian Downhill series, and that's something I want to achieve."
Stivian woulnd have a lot of time to think about Borovets. Just one week after that race he will participate at the Chepelare Downhill race. Would he take a double win - national champ and series winner - we're about to see.
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