It never ceases to amaze just how fast, those at the top of the game, get up to race speed. Take Mick Hannah this afternoon for example; two attempts coming into the most savage rock garden on the calendar and no cigar. In fact, you could say it looked as bleak for him as any other rider that will struggle to make the cut tomorrow. Then, taking what he learned from attempts one and two, he comes in full tilt with the updated version of his line and cleans it. That's it for the day and that's it for the week, no more problems forecast for that spot at least. That's how it has to be at the World Cups to be competitive. You fly around the world, walk the course, go to bed, the mechanics put your bike together for you and in the morning, you go up the hill and start smashing into sections like it's your local. There's just no time for pussy footing at this insane level.
The timed training produced its usual eye-brow raising clues as to how the week may or may not unfold, with Troy Brosnan setting the benchmark at 3:03.8, with Greg Minnaar snapping at his heals, and Tracey Hannah and Finn Iles also setting the pace in the women's and junior categories - all very reminiscent of Andorra. Quite unlike Andorra, however, are the conditions. Where riders enjoyed tacky dirt and ample grip in Vallnord, here we have an altogether different beast, a far more slippery fish. In the words of Loic Bruni... well, we can't repeat them, but suffice to say, he said grip was a little bit of a challenge. Rocks are getting torn out the ground and stacked up into axle-deep pools on either side of the main lines, threatening to take down anyone careless enough to stray from the beaten path. It's a far dustier and more dangerous environment than what we saw in trackwalk and if the sun stays out for qualies, lord knows the shrapnel is going to fly. It's get fast or crash trying here in the Swiss Alps and there's nowhere left to hide.
: @natedh9 / @rossbellphoto