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?

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wc_lourdes_2017__68i0161

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:

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wc_lourdes_2017__68i9995
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Rupert Chapman preparing for lift off
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The Lourdes funciular is fast becoming one of the most iconic starts in World Cup racing
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Chasing the goat
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What. A. View
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wc_lourdes_2017__68i0553
Both Jones and Dale podiumed here in 2015. They will be keen to refind theat form on Sunday
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Fourth overall in the EWS, Jack Moir clearly has the legs for Sunday. Laurie thinks he has too.
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2016 concluded with Minnaar second only to Danny. It's going to be an interesting weekend
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