Today started much the same as yesterday finished, with more cold and wet weather gripping the already battered hillside of Pohorje. Even before the racing got underway, there was drama with yesterday's top qualifier, Reece Wilson, having a huge crash which would see him sidelined for the race. Gutting news. The rain eased up as as the stopwatches came out and conditions looked like a fairly level playing field with it staying slick yet sticky for most of the field. The junior races kicked off the action with Leona Pierrini and Oisin O'Callaghan taking the spoils, followed by Pierrini were Siel Van Der Velden and Anastasia Thiele whilst Dan Slack and Nuno Reis ran O'Callaghan closest.
Yesterday, both Reece Wilson and Tracey Hannah took commanding wins in qualifying, but today played out very differently for both of them. Wilson was out before he even had a chance to show his hand and Hannah was frustrated with her run, knowing she'd maybe played it too conservatively and left time on the table. It was Marine Cabirou who laid down a statement of intent which ultimately proved insurmountable as she held on to win by over 6 seconds with Nicole in tow, ahead of Hannah, Farina and Hrastnik. Farina gets our vote for ride of the day after taking a HUGE crash on her final practice run.
The men's race was wide open, with no clear favourite. Old time force, Greg Minnaar, had a lengthy stay in the hot seat before being deposed by a young Brit, Matt Walker. They'd end up 4th and 5th respectively, but it was the French who turned it on once again. First Remi Thirion laid down some more magic to smash well into the green, but it didn't last long with eventual winner, Loris Vergier, sneaking ahead of him by 2.5 seconds. That left de facto last man down the hill, Thibaut Daprela, with all eyes on him as he came home to take his first elite podium finish.
We won't have long to wait for the next helping of action in Maribor; tomorrow brings a slighty tweaked track and the second qualifying session of the week with plenty of riders hungry to right their wrongs.