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Downhill

Lourdes World Cup 2016 Track Walk

Wet, greasy and slippy... it is all systems GO!

It feels like we have been waiting for ever, but round 1 of the 2016 UCI Downhill World Cup from Lourdes in France is on.

Track walk was yesterday (Thursday) and the awesome talent that is Seb Schieck documented it all for us. Practice today, and it already sounds like the wet and slippy conditions are making it tough… carnage!!! Enjoy…

With the start of the season in his home country all eyes will be on World Champ Loic Bruni.
The strict safety requirements for this week summarised.
Team Cube making their way up for the track walk.

The funicular to the Pic Du Jer adds kind of special feeling to the venue.

Team Madison Saracen out of the gate.
After a long wait Finn Iles will finally be able to take on his first ever World Cup race in the Juniors category this weekend.
Old team mates George Brannigan and Laurie Greenland checking out the track together.
The top of the track already starts off with some tricky rock gardens, Troy Brosnan checking the lines.

 

Shaun Palmer and his Intense Team checking out some old footage from last years race.
Emmeline Ragot showing the lines. Not racing this weekend, but working as a masseur for the French team.

From time to time you are able to get a glimpse of the snowy mountain tops around the race venue.
Great to see Stevie Smith on track.
The track is pretty much the same as last year with only minor changes being made, but the conditions will be quite different to the dry and loose course back in 2015.
After a fast middle part the track comes through some rooty and rocky wood sections with this sketchy huck to flat from last year.
Coming fresh from an EWS podium in dusty Argentina, Sam Blenkinsop is looking forward to kicking off his downhill World Cup season.
In the wet this steep chute will be a tough one to tackle with its slippery rocks.

Rough ground in one of the early rock gardens.
With a 6th here last year Brendan Fairclough just missed out on a podium position, this weekend the conditions might suit him even better.
Gap jump in the lower gully section.

With a third last year Mike Jones had his best ever World Cup result here in Lourdes, whilst team mate Sam Hill wasn’t able to ride due to injury. Two to watch out for.

Danny Hart checking for some special lines on the mossy side of the track.
Dropping into the finish arena.
With a lot of team and bike changes for 2016 it was one of the busiest off–seasons in a long time for many riders… and Aaron Gwin especially. A whole new set–up with YT for the 2015 World Cup Champion.
Tyre set–up for the first practice session (Friday).
The Athertons new Trek race machines getting built (baby blue for Rachel).
A special paint job for World Champ Loic Bruni.
First round of the season, ready to go.

New bikes and colours everywhere. The Santa Cruz Syndicate are in silver and black this season.
Ed Masters with his best Jesus impression while jibbing in the pits.

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