After a night of rain, many riders took an apprehensive approach to the first day of training here at Mont Saint Anne, and very few were looking up to speed by the close of practice. With an extra day of training on the schedule and no stress over points in qualifying or making the final cut for Sunday's race the vibe seemed quite relaxed. Riders only did three or four runs and were spending quite a bit of time scoping out lines and getting things dialed. And with no timed training there really is no way to know who is up to pace just yet.
Tomorrow the timers will fire up for seeding and that should reveal a bit more of who will be the riders to watch over the weekend, but until then we can just speculate. For the men it is obviously the French force of Loic Bruni, Amaury Pierron, and Loris Vergier that will favorites, but there's also the spoiler in Laurie Greenland who has also won a round this year. Greg Minnaar has been on form all year and had won here before, and with Aaron Gwin coming back from injury on a track that has suited him in the past we have a whole bunch of potential winners.
For the women, Tracey Hannah and Marine Cabirou are the obvious favorites based on World Cup performances recently, but with Myriam Nicole and Tahnee Seagrave back in the mix things just got a whole lot more interesting.