It wasn't quite a World Cup but given the standard of some of the teams there you could be forgiven for thinking it was.

IXS Maribor results

Women

1. Myriam Nicole - 3:55.398
2. Tracey Hannah - 3:56.007
3. Monika Hrastnik - 4:04.360
4. Nina Hoffman - 4:06.690
5. Petra Bernhard - 4:10.010

Men

1. Laurie Greenland - 3:27.997
2. Amaury Pierron - 3:29.731
3. Brook MacDonald - 3:31.076
4. Brendan Fairclough - 3:31.683
5. Mark Wallace - 3:31.922

With one week until Croatia and the season kick-off, a heap of pros descended on Maribor for the first round of the IXS European downhill series. Included in the pack were Propain Dirt SixPack, Scott, Mondraker, Canyon, Polygon, Commencal... the list goes on. The old hands were happy to get reacquainted with the famous root-garden while for some of the young 'uns, it was probably one of the more tech race courses they'd hit in a while. For us, it was a good chance to see who was up to speed for Croatia and when the dust (mud) settled, it was Myriam Nicole and Laurie Greenland that drew first blood.

It was a dominant weekend for Nicole who seeded first yesterday then went 10 seconds quicker today to finish 0.7 ahead of her World Cup title rival from last year, Tracey Hannah. Third place was claimed by Slovenian local Monika Hrastnik.

In the men's race, Laurie Greenland qualified in 22nd but in his race run went four seconds faster than Amaury Pierron's top seeding time yesterday. It was a time that would remain unchallenged all afternoon as Brosnan, Thirion, Norton, Atwill and more all slid into the finish way back. Pierron got closest to Greenland, ending up 1.7 seconds in arrears despite a 3 second deficit after the first split. Mondraker marked themselves out as the team to watch next weekend though as Brook MacDonald claimed third on his new ride and Mike Jones 12th. Brendog and Mark Wallace rounded out the podium spots.

Full results to follow.