The first big day of round one of the iXS European DH Cup 2017 is in the books. After yesterday's struggle due to a wet and slippery track, the riders faced a perfect course today. With sun all morning long, the track here in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and especially its roots, showed its full potential. The course is rolling super fast and the riders had one hell of a time during the second practice session.
Nonetheless, it wasn't all fun. The clock started ticking in the afternoon and riders pushed their limits during qualifying. Farina Eleonora came up with the first big surprise of the day. After a great practice, she was extremely confident and did not show any sign of slowing down during her run. The GB Rifar Mondraker team rider took first place in the Elite Women category by more than two seconds. Meanwhile, Monika Hrastnik rode a consistently fast run taking second place and pushing the reigning champ Veronika Widmann into third.
In the Elite Men category, it was Matt Walker who came out swinging. The Cube Global Squad rider is loving the course and took the early lead. It wasn't meant to be as three riders were able to undercut his time. Stanislav Sehnal from the Czech Republic went fastest by over a second and took the lead. Two riders were left in the gate; Jure Zabjek and Slawomir Lukasik, the two fastest riders from last year's series. First up it was Zabjek. The Slovenian champ knows the track and it's pitfalls very well. As he crossed the finish line the light went green and Zabjek took the lead by a massive gap of 3.526 seconds. Reigning champ Lukasik could get it done but still had a solid run. He came in third.
As the forecast predicts some rain overnight the conditions for racing will be completely different to today's seeding. The rooty track won't take any prisoner in the wet for what promises an exciting race day.
It was all smiles before the second training
Not a bad day in the office for all the riders of the iXS European DH Cup
Hanging freely the riders were able to enjoy the landscape
Still not a view we could get enough of
With a way more judgeable track you could easily see how much fun everyone had
While plenty of riders struggled to make this section of the track U17 rider Hannes Lehmann easily pre-jumped the drop and nailed his line
20th place would secure Boris Tetzaff a spot in tomorrow's top 30 Super Final
Loris Revelli looked strong in practice and was able to put it together in the qualification. Sixth for the Italian
Jacob Dickson carried incredible speed in practice but there must have been a major problem as he rolled out of the course after dropping into his timed run
'The German Steve Peat', Erik Irmisch crossed the line in 23rd and will be able to fight for a spot on the box
Sandra Ruebesam had a smooth run but just was not up to top speed taking sixth in the end
Monika Hrastnik was the second rider to battle last year's top two riders as she sits in second place in front of Veronika Widmann and Carina Cappellari
NS Bikes riders Lutz Webwer und Slawomir Lukasik battling the roots
Francesco Colombo railing one of the big berms
This is obviously the toughest part of the course. The roots are all over the place and riders struggle to find a smooth line
U17 rider Valentina Hoell had some serious traffic in her seeding run. Her time would have meant 4th place in the elite women category
Jules Picod from Les Gets took the second place in the U17 male category just 1.5s back of Chris Cumming
U19 winner Sylvain Cougoureux was just as fast as his brother Benoit in the elite class what would have been 8th place
Sara Boehm was close to take 4th place but lost it in the bottom section what put her into 5th place in the end
Eleonora Farina looked more comfortable with the course than plenty of the men riders. She won the seeding run by more than two seconds
Last woman on course Veronika Widmann could not match the top pace and took third
The course was in perfect conditions and rolled extremely fast
It won't be impossible for Matt Walker to turn his fourth from today into a first place finish
Riders were hitting roots with chainguides in every wood section
Ziga Pandur tucking at one of the fast open sections
Swiss rider Lutz Weber came in 18th
Ondrej Stephanek was a little back in the first split but had a fast bottom section which put him into fifth
The Argetina Bike Devinci team was running trains all day which paid off with two of three possible riders in the top 10
Noel Niederberger making his way through the first wood section. He finished in 12th place today
Slawomir Lukasik played it safe during today's qualification and took a solid third place
Noel Niederberger stills struggles with an old injury but said he is feeling good and is ready to go for tomorrow's finals
The dirt was in absolute prime condition today. With some rain expected it might be a slip and slide tomorrow
There are plenty of different forecasts so no-one really knows what the weather is going to be like at race day.
Today's fastest Jure Zabjek