Perhaps there was nothing so extreme as a tiger in the bathroom this morning, but already we've had to adjust to a slew of unique circumstances this short season and today was no different. After experiencing a very messy final yesterday, those who survived the treacherous track were back to tackle a slightly different version of it today. The new sections added more roots and tight turns that by mid-day had already been scored with inside lines. Got to go straight to go fast after all, right? There is also a new triple that is absolutely frightening, found at the end of a big ol' straight-away. It's being dubbed the 'Phattt Triple' after Phil Atwill was first to make the pull. Now, it appears mandatory to commit to this sketchy sender if you want a chance at the win. Careful though, some riders have already tried and failed in spectacular fashion, Hugo Frixtalon, unfortunately, misjudging the reach needed to grease the short landing.
The track's conditions have moved on from a slippery fiasco to dry and tacky in others. The roots are mostly clean and less hazardous, too. The sun even made an appearance offering some warmth on this humid Saturday and the track is running at its fastest since Wednesday before the rain. The result sheet indicated the elevated pace and finally riders could relax a little more going full tilt. If yesterday's final is anything to go on, the French are clearly in favour to post top results in tomorrow's main event. Friday's winners, Marine Cabirou and Loris Vergier were swapped out by Myriam Nicole and Loic Bruni in the afternoon qualifier. It's almost anyone's game in the top 15. Other heavy hitters like Tahnee Seagrave, Aaron Gwin, and Troy Brosnan already placed higher than Friday with one more sleep to go.
Although the two World Cup courses are very similar on paper, the conditions will give us quite different results once it's all said and done. The absence of rain in the forecast, coupled with a nice cool breeze overnight, will surely have the track running quicker before moving on from Maribor.