After six rounds through Europe and Canada this is it, the final World Cup round of 2017, about to be battled out on the legendary track of Val di Sole. A hill that is no stranger when it comes to deciding champions, having held World Camps one year ago, and World Cup finals the year before that. On a track known for dishing out punishment from top to bottom, and with a tight points races in many categories, the Black Snake is sure to live up to its reputation.
As is often the case in Italy's "Valley of Sun" the weather is hot and the track is super dry and dusty. The layout is similar to last year's Worlds track other than the first woods section that reverts to the track of 2016, and a few tweeks here and there to help with flow. Just small changes to be sure a heavily used race track stays fresh and keeps everyone on their toes a bit.
After a day of smashing rocks and roosting fresh loam we did get a sneak peek as to who's on the gas, but more than ever, it really was just a peek. It's no surprise to see the World Cup leaders, Greg Minnaar and Myriam Nicole, at the top of the list for timed training. But as you can tell from who isn't near the top times, a lot of riders are keeping their cards close to their chest, a lot closer than usual.
Tomorrow will bring qualifying, and with the last points of the year on the line before Saturday's final, you can be sure everyone will be on track with guns blazing very soon.