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Cairns World Cup 2016 – track walk

Warmer than a kangaroo's pouch

A bit like the London busses, we’ve waited all winter for a World Cup and all of a sudden two pop up at once.

Photos: Seb Schiek

The teams may only just have finished cleaning the bikes after the Lourdes mud bath, but already they’re on the other side of the globe preparing to take on Queensland’s toughest trails in Carins.

You may remember Cairns from 2014 when a tropical monsoon left it a quagmire, forcing riders to abandon clipless pedals en-masse. This year the conditions could not be more different with a dusty, dry course and stiflingly hot weather. However, with showers forecast between now and the weekend, the riders could be looking at a very different track on Saturday afternoon.

The track is 1,259 metres long with a drop of 239 meres (roughly half of what Lourdes offered) and is relatively unchanged with the knife-edge rock garden, 270° corkscrew turn, moto whoops and flat-out pedal for the final 100 metres all returning for 2016.

Cairns will be the World Championships track next year so it’s definitely one the riders will want to get to know well. Crack open a Fosters and check out these Cairns track walk pictures:

 

Cairns greeted riders with sights not often seen in the high mountains of Europe and North America
There’s more than ‘roos to worry about here
A pensive Manon will be looking to leap-frog the rest of the British girls Down Under
The Athertons were all out in straw hats today, they don’t have heat like this in Wales.
We’re glad to see Wyn Masters hasn’t lost his sense of humor after his knock to the head in Lourdes
The team to beat? Everyone will have a close eye on the YT Mob this weekend
The teams are having to make-do without chairlifts in the jungle

 

Local hero Tracey Hannah will be hoping to better her fifth place result from last time around
The riders are fired out of the gate into a series of switchbacks
Apparently these critters won’t kill you, but you wouldn’t be up to racing if one got hold of you. This is probably the only World Cup round where it’s safer to be between the tapes.

 

The track may not be as steep as Lourdes but don't think it isn't burly. This rock garden captured a lot of attention
And it doesn't look any nicer from this angle
We're getting tingles just thinking about Sam Hill taking it on
Greg Minnaar was disqualified for leaving the tapes here in 2014. It looks far less threatening in the dry
There's a true otherworldly feel to this place, it's unlike any other venue
We can’t help but look at this and get flashbacks to the classic ’96 champs
Although it’s immediately followed by this drop line that Vouilloz and co. weren’t taking
There’s one Aussie who’ll be wanting to forget this section after 2014…
Was Lourdes a flash in the pan or is Steve Smith a force to be reckoned with again? We’ll find out on Saturday
Here’s another section that troubled riders 2 years ago, but looks tame without a coating of peanut butter mud
Only one thing left to do from here… PEDAL!
And it’s not a small one either, although it has been shaved a bit from 2014’s slog
This will be a welcome sight for many weary riders on Saturday
From top to bottom the riders will be looking at three minutes as a benchmark.
Troy Brosnan definitely has the hometown support for this one, combine this with a winter sessioning these tracks and you could be looking at a dark horse. His preview with Claudio is live now.
After initially struggling in the wet in Lourdes, Gwin is back in more familiar conditions here. If this dust sticks around he could prove unbeatable in Cairns.
Not many tracks can boast views of one of the natural wonders of the world. The Great Barrier Reef is out there somewhere.

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight? After 2014’s slog fest the riders will be hoping this fair weather continues to the weekend. Check back tomorrow when all the lines from practice will be revealed and timed training will give us an idea of who’s overcome the jet lag best.

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