Photo Report: Practice - Maribor World Cup DH 2019

Apr 26, 2019 at 16:52
by Nathan Hughes  




Time to witness the fitness out here in Northern Slovenia as riders put tires to dirt at the highest level for the first time in 2019. We've already seen how many of the World's finest fare in the woods of Maribor with Tracy Hannah and Matt Walker rising to the top at the IXS round last week, but most of you will be well aware exactly how very little that means with the World Cup now having rolled into town. With a course that is significantly altered in many sections and a huge influx of fresh, but familiar faces to the podium, it's still looking very much wide open.

Suspicions from track walk have been confirmed; the course is most certainly a wild one. No surprises from a mountain already steeped in so much race history, but the rider favorite seems to be keeping up appearances bringing ear to ear grins out for most on track today and shaving bits of skin as taxation for those having a little too much fun. It's a rough, undulating roller-coaster of a root nest and for now, it's running dry and heinously quick. It's a jump and corner paradise with plenty of technical savagery in between.

Anyone in need of further speculation to keep the stoke running into tomorrow's qualifying should know that Timed Training brought out the best of Bruni, Atherton and Fayolle in that order, with Cabirou besting Atherton and Hrastnik in the women's race. Holl and Daprella, predictably continued to dominate the little leagues. Roll on qualies and let's hope these roots stay dry - at least one more day.


The clouds greeted us in the early stages of practice this morning before the sun decided it wanted out.
The clouds greeted us in the early stages of practice this morning before the sun decided it wanted out.

Charlie Hatton preparing his body for what s to come.
Charlie Hatton preparing his body for what's to come.

Hugo Frixtalon is the new face in the Commencal 100 pits this year. After truing some heads with some incredible style and speed in 2018 he has found himself a factory ride this season.
Hugo Frixtalon is the new face in the Commencal/100 pits this year. After turning heads with some incredible style and speed in 2018, he has found himself a factory ride this season.

It s the morning gun show in the Trek Factory Racing pits.
It's the morning gun show in the Trek Factory Racing pits.

Amaury Pierron taking a few moments to himself making sure everything is right. He made a proper name for himself in 2018 and this season should be no different.
Amaury Pierron taking a few moments to himself making sure everything is right. He made a proper name for himself in 2018 and this season should be no different.

Final adjustments and triple checks.
Final adjustments and triple checks.

A new season and a new custom painted helmet for Loic Bruni.
A new season and a new custom painted helmet for Loic Bruni.

Charlie Harrison and Trek seem like a good fit together. He looks to be carrying some serious form and is a danger to the podium places.
Charlie Harrison and Trek seem like a good fit together. He looks to be carrying some serious form and is a danger to the podium places.

Gee Atherton chatting to his helmet. Losing the plot or course preview Time will tell.
Gee Atherton chatting to his helmet. Losing the plot or course preview? Time will tell.

Neko Kovarik Mullaly coming in hot to the first woods Maribor 2002.
Chris Kovarik coming in hot to the first woods, Maribor 2002. Doh, make that 'Neko Mullaly, Maribor 2019'.

The rocks here are so gnarly and there is no room for error art race speed
The rocks here are so gnarly and there is no room for error at race speed.

First year Elite and defending Junior Word Champ Kade Edwards scrubbing his way down the track
First-year Elite and defending Junior World Champ, Kade Edwards, scrubbing his way down the track.

The young IXS champ Matt Walker hasn t slowed down much since last weekend.
The young IXS champ, Matt Walker, hasn't slowed down much since last weekend.

It was a breakout year for Monika Hrastnik last season. She now has some well deserved support behind her and will have her sights set even higher.
It was a breakout year for Monika Hrastnik last season. She now has some well deserved support behind her and will have her sights set even higher.

One tiny sticky patch on a hard-pack course and a reminder of the bog the track might become if the worst of the forescasts for Sunday come true.
One tiny sticky patch on a hard-pack course and a reminder of the bog the track might become if the worst of the forescasts for Sunday come true.

Junior destroyer of the competition Vali Holl never not on pace.
Junior destroyer of the competition, Vali Holl, never not on pace.

Thirion soaking up that view in the early summer sun.
Thirion soaking up that view in the early summer sun.

Could Suarez be on the move up the ranks this year Looks like that s his plan.
Could Suarez be on the move up the ranks this year? Looks like that's his plan.

First man on track this afternoon. Gee Atherton getting to grips with the course preview.
First man on track this afternoon. Gee Atherton getting to grips with the course preview.

Finn Iles scrubbing his new bike clean.
Finn Iles scrubbing his new bike clean.

Euro table when you least expected it.
Euro table when you least expected it.

The Bulldog smashing his way through roots and loam.
The Bulldog smashing his way through roots and loam.

Danny Hart and his thousand yard stare down the track
Danny Hart and his thousand yard stare down the track.

Charlie Hatton making shapes on his first descent of the day.
Charlie Hatton making shapes on his first descent of the day.

Defending junior champ Thibaut Daprela was one of the fastest through the rock garden out of anyone
Defending junior champ, Thibaut Daprela was one of the fastest through the rock garden out of anyone.

Dougie Fresh puts the finishing touches on a fresh whip for Luca Shaw.
Dougie Fresh puts the finishing touches on a fresh whip for Luca Shaw.

Remi Thirion keeps it low just above the rock harden
Remi Thirion keeps it low just above the rock garden.

Fayolle looks like he means business fast and aggressive all day today.
Fayolle looks like he means business; fast and aggressive all day today.

Matteo Nati counting clicks in the GT pits. Having been Jerome Clementz s side kick at Cannondale he s now made the switch to GT taking on both EWS and DH duties.
Matteo Nati counting clicks in the GT pits. Having been Jerome Clementz's sidekick at Cannondale, he's now made the switch to GT taking on both EWS and DH duties.

Multiple splashes of fresh color for fastest man on the hill today Loic Bruni.
Multiple splashes of fresh color for the fastest man on the hill today, Loic Bruni.

Aaron Gwin looked comfortable on track and as always played practice pretty cool not wanting to draw too much attention.
Aaron Gwin looked comfortable on track and as always played practice pretty cool, not wanting to draw too much attention.

Bernard Kerr taking to 4th fastest in this afternoon s timed training.
Bernard Kerr taking to 4th fastest in this afternoon's timed training.

Marcelo Gutierrez will be looking to return to the podium this season after a reasonably quiet 2018.
Marcelo Gutierrez will be looking to return to the podium this season after a reasonably quiet 2018.

Greg Williamson cleanly through the savage rock garden and trucking onto the lower woods.
Greg Williamson cleanly through the savage rock garden and trucking onto the lower woods.

Troy Brosnan stopped to watch the action through the rock garden.
Troy Brosnan stopped to watch the action through the rock garden.

Wyn Masters hitting the final step down out of the forest and into the finish area.
Wyn Masters hitting the final step down out of the forest and into the finish area.

The mighty Jack Moir tackling the tech like it was a pump track.
The mighty Moir tackling the tech like it was a pump track.

It s good to see Bruce Klein back in the mix after missing much of 2018 do to injury. Hopefully he can soon return to the form that saw his inside the top 20 on a regular basis.
It's good to see Bruce Klein back in the mix after missing much of 2018 due to injury. Hopefully, he can soon return to the form that saw his inside the top 20 on a regular basis.

Loris Vergier cutting into the forest loam in his new green race kit.
Loris Vergier cutting into the forest loam in his new green race kit.

Laurie Greenland was pulling some wild shapes on track today. He is definitely one to watch this weekend.
Laurie Greenland was pulling some wild shapes on track today. He is definitely one to watch this weekend.

Rachel Atherton making quick work of some nasty looking roots. They stayed dry today but that may not be the case for qualifying or Sunday s final.
Rachel Atherton making quick work of some nasty looking roots. They stayed dry today but that may not be the case for qualifying or Sunday's final.

Magnus Manson attacking the upper corners right from the start.
Magnus Manson attacking the upper corners right from the start.

Sam Blenkinsop s style is the perfect match for the Maribor track which from top to bottom is one big rhythm section and pump track full of corners and natural jumps.
Sam Blenkinsop's style is the perfect match for the Maribor track, which from top to bottom is one big rhythm section and pump track full of corners and natural jumps.

Still lots of mates to catch up with in the woods at round 1.
Still lots of mates to catch up with in the woods at round 1.

Even a flat tire can t prevent Brendan Fairclough from riding with some amazing style
Even a flat tire can't prevent Brendan Fairclough from riding with some amazing style

Finn Iles noe has another season of experience under his belt in elites and looks extra dangerous already.
Finn Iles now has a season of experience under his belt in elites and looks extra dangerous already.

Deano Donny Pablo Lucas leading out former team mate Charlie Chucky Horse Harrison. Old train habits die hard. Yes they have many nick names.
Deano 'Donny Pablo' Lucas leading out former teammate Charlie 'Chucky Horse' Harrison. Old train habits die hard. Yes, they have many nicknames.

Francisco Pardal loves to ride and it really shows on his runs. After many injuries in the last years let s hope for the full season for Portugal s finest.
Francisco Pardal loves to ride and it really shows on his runs. After many injuries in the last years, let's hope for the full season for Portugal's finest.

Alec Fayolle has been on fire n practice
Alex Fayolle has been on fire in practice

Reece Wilson sends it sideways on the big step down.
Reece Wilson sends it sideways on the big step down.

Tracey Hannah was up to speed quickly and looking confident right from the start
Tracey Hannah was up to speed quickly and looking confident right from the start

Dakota Norton skipping stones and loving his bike.
Dakotah Norton skipping stones and loving his bike.

Charlie Harrison puts the moves on the rock garden.
Charlie Harrison puts the moves on the rock garden.

Loam in the fresh cut sections of track. The course isn t all that technical yet faster lines are starting to form in the woods.
Loam in the fresh cut sections of track. The course isn't all that technical yet faster lines are starting to form in the woods.

Joe Smith looking pinned through the root nest number 1.
Joe Smith looking pinned through the root nest number 1.

Tahnee looks relaxed smooth and aggressive on track. After a few years of running the number 2 plate win her bike she had her sights set on the top spot for 2019.
Tahnee looks relaxed, smooth and aggressive on track. After a few years of running the number 2 plate win her bike, she has her sights set on the top spot for 2019.

Mark Wallace storming through one of the roughest root sections.
Mark Wallace storming through one of the roughest root sections.

Close of play line dilemmas in the gnarliest rock garden on the circuit for the two of the fastest Frenchmen.
Close of play line dilemmas in the gnarliest rock garden on the circuit for the two of the fastest Frenchmen.

Unfortunately hometown hero Jure Zabjek is racing with an injured shoulder this weekend. But you can be sure he will still get some of the loudest cheers on the hill regardless of his results.
Unfortunately hometown hero Jure Zabjek is racing with an injured shoulder this weekend. But you can be sure he will still get some of the loudest cheers on the hill regardless of his results.

Brook MacDonald looked more on fire than usual today which is saying something.
Brook MacDonald looked more on fire than usual today, which is saying something.

Still the roots got the better of Brook in TT.
Still the roots got the better of Brook in TT.

Gee Atherton s return to form was great to watch towards the tail end of last season. This weekend he ll be taking to the World Cup start ramp aboard his very own Atherton Bike for the first time.
Gee Atherton's return to form was great to watch towards the tail end of last season. This weekend he'll be taking to the World Cup start ramp aboard his very own Atherton Bike for the first time.

Greg Minnaar fine tuning or puzzling
The last World Cup winner on this course, Greg Minnaar, fine-tuning or puzzling?

Bikes are being cleaned prepped and readied to go again tomorrow.
Bikes are being cleaned, prepped, and readied to go again tomorrow.

We could sure get used to these lazy summer days...
We could sure get used to these lazy summer days here in Slovenia... Here's hoping the sun just burns the incoming storm clouds away.



49 Comments

  • + 135
 I mean no shit this is maybe the greatest set of photos Pinkbike has posted. Every single one is an absolute banger. Well done lads. Also, Cathro needs more than 3 minutes. That is all.
  • - 61
flag thesharkman (Apr 26, 2019 at 19:58) (Below Threshold)
 Upvote was only for where you said these are the best pics ever.
  • + 6
 Well stated.
  • + 4
 Also nice wording PB (Gee Atherton chatting to his helmet Wink ).
  • + 0
 I'm not a pro mechanic which is maybe why I have to ask this, but can someone tell me why, with such a small cassette, Fayolle needs that much chain slack?! Isn't that just asking for trouble?
  • + 61
 alright, Commencal Vallnord. Let's all order a size up in pants next race.
  • + 5
 Danny is also sporting the not lycra lycra
  • + 8
 Is it me or all the uniforms getting tighter and tighter? and more feminine in color?

All I can think is "man he must work out" when I scroll through all these photos
  • + 39
 there are two photos which reveal exactly where pierron stashes his spare tube...
  • + 22
 you really just made me scroll up to look at a man's junk...but I see what you mean.
  • + 31
 Gee having a Shakespearean moment.
  • + 48
 650B, or not 650B, that is the question
  • + 1
 @aps62: 2B...liss or not 2B-liss… oh wait Spec isn't a sponsor dang it
  • + 25
 tahnee and that kit look lit
  • + 10
 And the winner for the tightest pants goes to...........
  • + 10
 Tahnee, that pink tie dye is meca tight
  • - 7
flag thesharkman (Apr 26, 2019 at 19:59) (Below Threshold)
 @RentalBike: fox knows what sells!!! And we win.
  • + 8
 Wow, insanely high quality photos, truly impressive work, hats off to photographers.
  • + 3
 Amazing photography. Gee with the GoPro on his helmet was classic. Atherton's and Tahnee for best kit - even though I really liked the Atherton's green kit they have been sporting previously.
  • + 6
 The photography in this report IS SO DAMNED GOOD!! Well done!
  • + 3
 About Kade Edwards : if you're Junior WC and you step up to elite the following year, you don't get to wear the jersey ?
  • + 2
 Boy would have loved to see Maes in there too. Really curious to see if Aaron still has it, or Pierron wasn’t a fluke or Vergier finally getting his, among others.
  • + 13
 Considering Pierron won the overall, preeeeety sure it wasn't a fluke.
  • + 4
 I so read that as "Mordor World Cup" and was confused...
  • + 1
 I see it as Marlboro World Cup for some odd reason.
  • + 2
 If rain will come on sunday the racers will think it actually is.
  • + 2
 So you only have to be that cut to be on Trek Factory team, just give me a year.
  • + 3
 Looks like the skin suit has made a triumphant return to the World Cup.
  • + 2
 enjoyed the pics, excited about the race. Seagrave & Laurie look fast!
  • + 1
 Tough for Kade to "defend" his world champs jersey. Would have been better to say reigning or current junior world champ. Banging photos nonetheless!
  • + 2
 Awesome shots. Tyre companies must hate all the close ups... except Maxxis and Schwalbe.
  • + 2
 Saracen on TLD lids..did I miss the memo??
  • + 2
 Hart and Fairclough win for freshest kits
  • + 1
 Every time I see Hart in those white pants, it makes me want to barf. But hey, to each their own!!
  • + 3
 Such great shots
  • + 1
 How can Edwards be defending Junior Champion if he has moved to Elite, surely that title is now vacant?
  • + 2
 Woohoo 7 hours to go and I'm smashed already
  • + 1
 Unreal Compilation of pics! The Captions are a nice touch too!
  • + 1
 That pic of Pardal with the front up at speed is brilliant.
  • + 1
 I would love to be at this. Great track with so many great riders.
  • + 1
 Does Loic not have to wear his Rainbow Stripes for practice?
  • + 1
 Not for practice, but for Quali and raceday.
  • + 1
 Mesmerised by the rude boy charm!
  • + 0
 Great shots. One top rider was missed though
  • - 3
 Troy brosnan? Yes.
  • + 0
 @thesharkman: not an action shot but there's a brosnan pic in there. Try again
  • + 1
 Click click send
  • + 0
 The f*ck is a maneouvre?

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