Ballarat’s Darcy Coutts is preparing to take on the best downhill mountain bike riders the world has to offer when he leaves for Italy on Friday.
The 19-year-old will travel to represent Australia in the UCI Downhill World Cup Series elite men’s category.
After graduating from the under-19s last year, Coutts will be one of the youngest riders and one of only a handful of Australians competing in the event.
Coutts has competed overseas the past couple of years, but the next few months will be a step-up.
His journey begins in Malan, Italy and will take him to a number of places including Andorra and Barcelona before returning home for five days in between race meetings, then departing for Canada to continue the World Cup series.
Although he admits the magnitude of the event may hit him when he gets on the plane, at the moment Coutts is quite relaxed about his venture and is quietly confident about his prospects with a good body of work behind him.
“(I’m not nervous at the moment), when I get on the plane it might be a whole different story,” Coutts said.
“There’s nothing higher than this.
“I’ve got a little bit of experience from last year, so I know what I’m up against in a way.
“I’ve been training hard...trying to work up, get fitter, get faster, more confidence, refine the little things, get those little wins – all that helps you get to the next level.”
Coutts finished ninth in the most recent national elite men’s race, which gives him plenty of belief he is capable of mixing it in the open division. The World Cup sees riders compete at various tracks across multiple rounds with an overall winner crowned at the end.