Derek Zoolander once said that wetness might well be considered the 'essence of beauty', but things had already turned ugly here in Maribor before first wheels had even hit the ground. It was a dark and damp start to proceedings with heavy rain continuing throughout the day, creating a very different race track for the riders to tackle just as we're getting towards the sharp end of the weekend. The riders had time for a couple of gloomy practice runs this morning to try and dial in the conditions before the stopwatches came out for the first time in this extremely delayed and disrupted 2020 World Cup season.
It was last year's overall winner Tracey Hannah and last weekend's World Champs winner Reece Wilson who adapted best to the conditions and stole a march on their rivals, both laying down commanding runs to break free from the chasing pack, Tracey by over 5 seconds and Reece by nearly 3. Tracey Hannah was followed in by Myriam Nicole, Monika Hrastnik, Eleonora Farina and Camille Balanche whilst Reece had Thibaut Daprela, Matt Walker, Loris Vergier and Remi Thirion in behind him. In juniors, Anastasia Thiele and Oisin O'Callaghan will get their first chance to be the final riders down the hill tomorrow as they go in pursuit of their maiden World Cup wins.
Whilst the track conditions and overall weather are set to be nowhere near the level we had last week, things are still looking unpredictable which means we've got another frantic race in prospect tomorrow. Will Hannah and Wilson hold out to take the glory or will someone lurking behind them spring a surprise? Time will tell.