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: