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Downhill

Jungle boogie

Cairns practice day one

First tracks have been laid down in the jungle of Cairns. Forget all the new tech and fancy paint jobs, attentions can now turn to the job at hand.

Photos: Seb Schieck

Feeling the rhythm of this track is so important. The top switchbacks are a gentle intro to proceedings but the syncopated, stacatto spikes of the rock garden announce the real start of the track. The next two minutes flit between narrow, rooty singletrack punctuated by lightning fast rhythm sections. Finally the jungle spits you out onto the concrete road – one last, cruel push before the finish.

The deadly wildlife of Cairns kept Seb barricaded in his room until mid morning

WIth good weather and a freshly buffed track, everyone was looking up to speed right away. Let’s kick off the show:

Slay it again Sam; Hill will be guaranteed some hotseat time as he's first down the mountain on Sunday
"Watch the paint!"
Gwin still chasing the rainbow after nearly ten years of asking. He looks on it here.
Straight on to the proto frames for the Hannahs
In the jungle, the mighty jungle...
Troy Brosnan slicing dust off the top of the off camber. He's one of the highest off this knuckle.
Today's style points go to Minnaar
Bruni's one and only World Cup win came on this course last year, he looks so good through the tricky rocks
Danny’s new Mondraker definitely looks better when it’s up to speed
Pompon will be the first to admit this track doesn’t suit her but she’s determined to make it work after her best ever year
This is Siegenthaler’s first ever custom bike. She’ll be hoping to do her Swiss steed proud
Blenki is right at home on this flat-out, dusty track
Jack Moir takes flight
Minjin or minging? The top corners aren't exactly a blockbuster start to the Worlds' course
Plate numbers are decided on UCI ranking, Rachel Atherton holds on to her number one after last year's demolition in Val di Sole
The dust hangs between the trees in Cairns, - just another test for riders on this gruelling course
There's not much time to be made or lost in the top switchbacks but this line from Finn Iles can't hurt
Push until it's perfect - there was plenty of this around the rock garden
A rare photo of Kade Edwards in the air but not pulling a whip
Getting as close to this tree as possible seems to be the best way through the dragon's teeth boulders
Mick Hannah bracing for impact through the rocks
The rock garden looks ugly from every angle, Brosnan peering for his line
What injury? Bernard Kerr is smashing it on his return

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