The Speed Opening tells its story at the La Fausto Coppi granfondo

Alpine skiing and cycling compared, the effort of reaching the mountain grand prix on two wheels compared to the effort of racing on skis at over a hundred kilometres per hour on a glacier. At high altitudes. Matterhorn Cervino Speed Opening, on a pleasant summer's evening, matched up the Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio granfondo, one of the most famous and popular in Italy.

Another meeting, this time in Cuneo, to bring ski fans together and talk about the huge work that the organising committee has been carrying out for months. There was applause and great interest in listening to the innovative project of Switzerland and Italy, unveiled by vice-president Marco Mosso. "Everything is special in this context," he said, "It is the only cross-border race of the entire World Cup; the start, finish, public management, logistics and organisation are very unusual."

A slope, the 'Gran Becca', which measures about 4,000 metres, two thirds of which is on glacier and hides sectors of different types. There will be long curves, technical stretches mixed with others of sliding. The slope that on 11 and 12 November will host the men's downhill and on 18 and 19 the women's ones, is really varied and ready to give a great show. "Great endurance is needed," explains Henri Battilani, the Italian coach who has gone into the technical aspects, "It is certainly an interesting slope, but above all it is a new one for everyone. This is also a peculiarity, since most of the circuit races take place on slopes that are already well known".

Benjamin Alliod, a young man from Valle d'Aosta who has just been promoted to the World Cup group, is looking forward to the big leap: "t would be perfect to make my debut in the highest circuit on my home tracks," he says, "First of all, I have to gain experience and continue my growth path, which also includes European Cup races."

There was great expectation for the home champion, super-G world champion Marta Bassino, who was also in Piazza Galimberti in Cuneo to take photos and sign autographs. Just back from the first days of training in Les 2 Alpes, the Cuneo athlete said: "The programmes will be revised and adapted, usually after Soelden we would fly to America for about ten days with long skis on our feet, now instead we will stay in Europe - she explained -. If there is the possibility of training on the Gran Becca it will be a great opportunity for us athletes. Finding a slope on which we can work in speed and safety is never easy, it is very important for us to have suitable slopes. The preparation? It has begun, also on the bike, I have just returned from France where I did the first two days on skis, which focused a lot on training exercises".