Victor Lucas stood firm on the 45 degree Schladming hill and fired off five beauties that summed up Fridays qualifying.
Florian Pugin, you could say she is the 3rd part of the French trio that seems to have a strangle-hold on the womens DH scene at the moment. She usually does well when things are steep and technical, and in todays qualifier she pushed ahead of Jonnier and Ragot.
Sam Hill was fastest today by 3 seconds, and he took a second out of the competition on each of the split times. As usual, Sam was taking lines that nobody else seemed to have considered. His talent and confidence with steep gnarly terrain is pretty obvious here.
Sort of late news, but it deserves another mention – fastest in timed runs yesterday and 8th place qualifier today was Ben Reid. He has always been a fan of the steep and technical and never been too crazy about flat and pedally courses. Well, he weighs about as much as a six-pack of Schladminger lager, so he needs a bit of help from gravity, Ben likes it when there is a real mountain involved. He says he took it steady today, just to make sure he qualified without a problem. Could we see him take that podium place he has been chasing for so long?
Jill Kintner was fastest qualifier in womens 4X, if she wins tomorrow, she can take the overall, but Anneke Beerten has to finish well down the points for that to happen. So its all or nothing for Jill and Anneke probably needs to play things fairly safe. Could be interesting.
Its good to see that Michal Prokop is maybe coming back on form, as he just edged ahead of multi title winning Jared Graves. The best thing about the series already being decided is that the riders have very little to lose by taking a few risks. And with a fairly straight forward course, it sounds like a recipe for some good racing tomorrow night. Lets just hope we don’t get the horrendous rain we had last year. Nobody likes standing around in the rain and the dark!
Victor’s Schladming 5-a-day-Friday