Dawn breaks in Hafjell this morning. Bright with a touch of dew on top of the dust, practice is about to kick off. Juniors and Women first out to tackle the beast. Conditions couldn't be more prime for a week of racing bikes. Let's just hope it holds till Sunday.
More and more exciting World Champs bikes popping up all over the place, with all the Syndicate rocking their own personal graphics, Sam Hill rolling on bling and patriotic touches all over, fingers crossed the go faster stripes pay off!
Right from her World Cup overall achievement in Meribel, Manon Carpenter has come into this race with a relaxed attitude putting her mind to getting her race dialled and not worrying about anyone else. A relaxed start as she makes her way to the top of the hill for practice.
The sunshine lighting up the roads ahead. Although the sun stays quite low all day up here, it's still pretty intense making track conditions tough. Patchy light in the woods isn't the best when you come tearing into some roots.
Taylor Vernon looking flash in his red, white and blue kit. The whole family has made the trip out to watch him race this big one. After missing out on Worlds last year, he will be keen to make his mark on this one. A win in Windham will set him up well, but with fierce competition, even from his own team, it will be tough for him to hit the top step. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/5_audio.mp3"]"
Emmeline Ragot missed out by a whisker in PMB last year. With rumours floating around that she may be retiring from DH next year, this may be her final chance to land another Worlds title!
Back out on track after a hand injury, Myriam Nicole is feeling fighting fit and keen to punch a hole in this years Worlds. Feeling lucky to be even riding her bike, she hopes to put a positive to the end of her season. But with the constant hand pain being a reminder that she isn't 100%, it could be tough to put down a good result.
Loris Vergier narrowly missed out on gold last year at Worlds after Richie Rude made a Junior appearance and dominated the class. Hunting the win this weekend and looking fast as he goes through practice.
Elite Mens practice was soon under way and it wasn't long until the tempo was stepped up another notch. Lines you didn't think existed started to appear and seconds were being constantly shaved off. Racing this weekend is going to be tight and dramatic.
Grass topped roofs reminding us that we are in Norway. Seems quite the odd concept, but hey, if the Nords are doing it then why aren't we! They all have nice houses up here after all.
Styles for miles as always Wyn Masters shows us how to whip them jumps. One of a few in the strong Kiwi crowd that have made it round to one of the most Northern rounds of the year. No longer down under, Wyn keeps on top of this track and handles it like a man on a mission.
Another man with attitude, Brooke Macdonald forcing his way into this track. Still having little issues with his shoulder, he will be putting it to the back of his mind until after this big race.
Visibly scared from all the battles over the year. I caught up with Brooke in the pits to talk about his day on the hill. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/13_audio_01.mp3"]"
Quickly up to speed with this technical track, Manon feels right at home in the roots, but the flat out fast sections could prove vital for her.
Bernardo Cruz representing for Brazil. Maybe not a contender he the top medal spot this weekend, but he sure can throw some shapes on the jumps up top!
Andrew Neethling has been putting up a tough corner for the SA crowd, looking super strong on track he will be looking for a repeat of his result here last year when he nailed home 3rd place just in behind Danny.
Sik Mik back in action again here after his big injury last year. Struggling in Meribel with his shoulder he has been looking after it and focussing on Worlds this week. With so much time off the bike this year, the hopes of winning are rather distant.
Both Blenki and Bruni are looking for top box spots this weekend but with Bruni's track record of flats and crashes the odds don't stack up well. The team are all running the illusive Schwalbe Procore, maybe the sights of flat tyres are a thing of the past?!
Letting the Junior overall slip right through his fingers in Meribel, Luca has come into this year's Champs determined and strong. Practice followed by some Elite track side viewing put him in good stead.
A man to throw a cat amongst the pigeons, Martin Maes has made another appearance on the DH scene. Making his debut at Fort William World Cup earlier on in the year, Martin managed to out do everyone and take the win. Looking for a repeat at Worlds, he could make everyones faces go a little red if he crosses the line with green lights.
It's not everyones cup of tea, Sam Hill opting for the bling gold paint job on his Nukeproof. Sure does look flashy, and looks pretty tidy with him sat on it in his Aussie themed wear.
Danny Hart throwing a big shape on the jumps out the start gate. Already a member of the World Champs Club after his memorable win in 2011, he will be looking to add another to the trophy cabinet. Dialled in and looking quick on track today!
Sam Hill's bike looks even better out int he sun light as it turns into to one fast bullet down the track. The only member of the CRC team chosen to ride, he asked the rest of his team including Joe & Mike to come out for moral support and help timing on track.
The big man Sam Dale charging in practice today. Enjoying the track and getting stuck in, Sam has the power to simply bulldoze his way through the rocks and roots. I caught up with him post practice to get his thoughts on the day. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/23_audio_01.mp3"]"
The Syndicate crew out in force on track in their special kit on some special bikes. Josh and Steve getting in some laps and giving each other line tips through the rocks. Trying to not let the pressure get him though, cracks could be forming in Josh's calmed attitude as he spent time flapping around with lines in the rocks.
Repping full Aussie colours, Troy Brosnan was again out on track riding solo. One for all and all for one as he goes into this weekends race head first with all he has. Looking comfortable on track he aims high!
The blue skies held although throughout the day the temperatures rose, Norway became more and more the place to be. Shame to hear on the grapevine that the bike park may be seeing its last season ever as the resort are looking to cut budgets and possible the summer programme!
Although starting off the season strong with a World Cup win in Cairns, Gee Atherton has since not been able to impress the race fans. Struggling with bikes and just generally not feeling up to speed, he is not letting anything get passed him this weekend, especially after missing out on any trophies last year. "[audio url="http://cdn.coresites.factorymedia.com/dirt_new/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/27_audio.mp3"]"
No messing with special kit, no bike colours, just looking for the win at the end of the tunnel. Aaron Gwin means business this week and after a disappointing end to his World Cup season, he will be looking to prove himself!
Sometimes coming into sections a bit too fast got interesting. Don't want to end up over the back side of these big berms at speed.
Dave Garland and the Giant crew working hard on the bikes. No fancy tricks and colours here, another team that is focusing more on the job at hand...winning medals.
The XC Worlds must be in town with this attire. Slovakia went all out with their team kit this year...
Nico Mulally with his custom paint from Kabuta, going with the patriotic USA feel, eagles and flags!
Team GT reviewing footage from the days event, timing sections and comparing it to footage across the board. A very analytic process that most teams have been going through in order to shave off vital thousands of seconds, which is going to make the difference come Sunday.
The first day of practices closes here in Hafjell and after a full round of runs, everyone is keen to get at it tomorrow and keep pushing for gold. More practice tomorrow with some Junior seeding early on. Come back in and see how the action unfolds.
Steve Peat hits the track in Norway for his 22nd World Championhsips. He might be 40 but he's not slowing down!
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It's time to check out practice from Hafjell World Championships 2014, the world's eyes are on a track in Norway that we might not see again if the rumours of budget cuts and closures are true. Yesterday we took a walk down the track both in photos and video with WynTV, all the riders seem into this place and that definitely helps when it's time to hold it wide open. The track is dry and dusty with the speeds increasing as the Juniors and Women kicked off practice followed by the Men later in the day.
As it's World's a lot of riders have gone for special new bikes and kit but others are just opting for the solid stuff they know. Sam Hill, the full Madison Saracen team along with the Santa Cruz Syndicate have all put together some pretty special steeds but others are keeping it low key. No special bike for Danny Hart with all his efforts going in to getting the big 'W', same with Gwin who was riding his normal bike with the same Troy Lee kit he has been in at the last few races.