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Lourdes World Cup 2017: Meltwater set to boil

World Cup 2017 is go

The pits feel like a cauldron ready to bubble over. Undercurrents of discontent are swirling and icy feelings abound. It’s a stew that’s burning over a fire of 29er downhill bikes – a fire that looks set to blaze through the season.

It’s all based on belief. Faith that bigger wheels will roll over the competition and lead to a new era of downhill. Of course, there’s no substitute for the clock and Sunday is when we find out who has prayed at the right church. Until then we play a waiting game. Who is looking good? Who is riding well? Who can best the conditions?

Today, the weather put an ice cold chill on proceedings. Snow fell overnight leaving the start gate blanketed in powder. Laurie and Claudio felt the worst of it in their preview run but by the time track walk rolled around, only some slush remained. The rest of the track was left as saturated limestone, or slimestone as we’ve taken to calling it due to its slippery nature.

Yes, we’ve been here before, but this is a serious track, even the World Cup veterans are giving it a good looking at. Let’s get into the action:

Oh Lourdes. There's no mistaking where we are.
It's been 20 years since a Frenchman won a World Cup on home soil. Will that all change this year?
Thankfully sun (just about) burned off the clouds and cleared the track for trackwalk
The funicular up is crazy steep, it's still no preparation for the madness of the way down though
Double World Champion Danny put a major dent into 2016. Going after his first series.
Rupert Chapman preparing for lift off
The Lourdes funciular is fast becoming one of the most iconic starts in World Cup racing
Chasing the goat
What. A. View
Track walk was rammed for the elite teams today, you could barely see the rocks for the soles of the shoes
Both Jones and Dale podiumed here in 2015. They will be keen to refind theat form on Sunday
Heading north through a whole pile of limestone trouble. Top section of Lourdes is one of the trickiest parts of the year. Totally unpredictable in the wet
Peaty settling in to his assistant manager role nicely
Fourth overall in the EWS, Jack Moir clearly has the legs for Sunday. Laurie thinks he has too.
It's all about the legs. Are 29ers really just for long limbed folk?
Red pill/ blue pill? We won't find out until Sunday
Add 30,000 spectators and you've got one hell of a stadium
Slimestone. What makes the top section so unpredictable?
Greenland, got a lot of history in this town. Just ask him!
On the run. Chasing a fifth series title. Gwin and the 80 per cent production YT.
2016 concluded with Minnaar second only to Danny. It's going to be an interesting weekend
Spring time in the south of France. This is unpredictable.
Hell of a fast Finn on Swedish gold. Welcome to the World Cup Ohlins
Nice shot with some fucking funny DVDs, innit?

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