Val di Sole Downhill World Championships 2016 - track walk
One track, one race, one run
It's been a season of intertwining narratives - records broken, titles won, friends tragically lost. This weekend it comes to a head. One race, one run.
The World Championships are always a special occasion and really deserve a special track. One that tests skill, fortitude and fitness in equal measure and maybe, although this is a fleeting luxury in recent years, one that actually scares those tackling it.
Val Di Sole has always been all of these things. If you need any evidence cast your mind back eight years to the last time we were in this position - Sam Hill's finals run, one of the greatest downhill rides of all time, thwarted by a momentary lack of concentration. History was made in a story only the World Champs could accommodate.
Though the sport of downhill has moved on in eight years, the course hasn't. It's still an uncompromising brute, a matted lump of roots and boulders choked by an ankle deep layer of dust. After a weekend of sparring, the Masters have left it nicely bedded in, raw and ready for the World's fastest. They got their first taste of it yesterday and here's all the best action: