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:

Viva L'Italia
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World Champs Val di Sole 2016
World Champs Val di Sole 2016
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Worlds_VDS_2016_14_8482
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You get a great view of this venerable track from the cablecar
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With great views of the surrounding hills from the top
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Forget whatever happened over the past 7 races, this is a fresh start for all involved
World Champs Val di Sole 2016
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Current junior World Champ Greenland won't be able to defend that crown but has his sights on a new one
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The defending champ will have to overcome the Val Di Sole rhizome to keep his stripes
World Champs Val di Sole 2016
 The Specialized Gravity Republic surveys the damage
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Finn Iles has to be one of the favourites for the junior title this year, his times have been worrrying the elites at some races
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Kerr cruelly missed out on selection but he's here offering tips and advice to his Pivot team mates
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The plate that everyone wants is Bruni's... for now
World Champs Val di Sole 2016
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