2011 UCI World Champs 4X Finals & DH Timed Runs 4

Danny Hart fast and low in last practice session. He gave quite the whip-off in timed runs today and may keep it low to shave some time come race day...but i doubt it! Photo by Gary Perkin

Cam Cole was looking primed for another major result this weekend but downhill is a cruel mistress and she slapped him back down to earth with a broken arm! He did get a chopper ride out of the deal if that's consolation. Photo by Gary Perkin

Josh Bryceland is a tall fella .. he just barely fits in the frame of 300mm lens at 50 paces! But he does fit very well in the top 6! Photo by Gary Perkin

2 days after racing the Team Relay XC, defending World Champion, Tracy Moseley of Trek World Racing is boosting the finish jumps on the DH. Who says downhillers aren't versatile? Photo by Gary Perkin

I hate photos of riders in pain or injured, but this is relevant! Floriane Pugin was stretchered out during timed runs after crashing in the middle woods. All indications are nothing is broken, just sprained. No word on if she'll race Sunday. Photo by Gary Perkin

The French team like to keep their tactics under wraps .. and warmup was no different. Remi Thirion and Florent Payet use the latest in visualisation deprivation techniques. Photo by Gary Perkin

With today being timed runs and not seeding (well Juniors excepted), this was the first time riders got to hear the all-to-famous beeps and get timed down the course. Photo by Gary Perkin

Kathy Sessler knows how to eek every last ounce of performance from her Syndicate flock...messages in bananas, hand-wrapped sandwiches...the list is endless! Photo by Gary Perkin

Giant Factory Team warmup chit chat session. Joe Staub, Andrew Neethling and Oscar Saiz get a little nutty at the top. Photo by Gary Perkin

I can't say it enough really, it's great to see Sam Hill back. He may polarize opinions here and there, but he is a bike racer through and through and laid it out today! Photo by Gary Perkin

Seconds before he took off on his timed run, Aaron Gwin of Trek World Racing focuses on the job at hand. It was a pleasure to see these guys and gals at work today. Photo by Gary Perkin

It was casual Friday at the top for Gee Atherton. After ringing his bell good and proper, Gee chose to sit out timed runs today and got himself a DNF to be sure to be entered in Sunday's big show. Photo by Gary Perkin

The second a rider leaves the gate - the last people to see it are the timers, UCI officials and the mechanics. Oh yeah, and today, me! Photo by Gary Perkin

Anneke Beerten on her way to the gold. Photo by Gary Perkin

Michal Prokop has been 4X World Champion before and to do that you need strength and fitness for sure...but also buckets of race savvy. What a final! Photo by Gary Perkin

Lego Man was the other star of the show tonight. I kept looking over at him wherever he was in the crowd and felt such pangs of empathy! Photo by Gary Perkin

A moment of pure joy, relief, a release of pent-up emotion from so many previous what-could-have-beens. I guess that makes it all the sweeter though! Photo by Gary Perkin

I've been a bit down lately with all the crap going on around the racing, but I realized tonight our sport is bigger than any crap thrown at it. The people make our sport. People who leave you a welcome home Duvel! Photo by Gary Perkin

Gwin went 5 seconds quicker than Danny Hart, having the fastest run. Many wonder where and how he does it. Here is one tip, he goes inside right of the tree in the first tech steep section with alternate lines. -Sven Martin

Bruni Loic has been ramping up to speed all year. It is great to see all these youngsters really come into their own on proper, steep DH courses. The DH future is bright. Second fastest today. -Sven Martin

Rachel had the fastest "timed practice" today. It's an odd sort of a run, where it serves no purpose for the Elites other than to give them some kind of indication of their speed. She will have looked at Myriam's splits though and will know she will need to push even harder. -Sven Martin

Florian Pugin had a two big crashes in her run, the second one had her tumbling down the hill off the course and she went straight to hospital with various injuries. She will not ride tomorrow and doctors will reevaluate her for Sundays final. -Sven Martin

Joost Wichmann had been riding strong all night. He got the gate in the final but couldn't stay upright in the first turn, here he hits the natural section with Graves in an earlier heat. -Sven Martin

Graves had 4th lane choice after his flat in Quali's. He got caught up in the fray when Joost went down, he looked like he was going to get away first clean but then went down with a front flat. Two flats bookending his World Champs, one he will surely want to forget. -Sven Martin

Faustin Figaret from France might not look like a junior, one may mistake him for Payet, but he came from nowhere, surprising all by qualifying first today. The French training camp held here before Val Di Sole has definitely paid off with France going one and two today. -Sven Martin

Remi Thirion was another fast French rider today with the third fastest time in Elites. He has looked solid all year and while his result is a bit of a surprise, he is extremely capable of backing it up in the final. -Sven Martin

Lorenzo Suding from Italy is always a wildcard...and I do mean wild. If he can repeat his run on Sunday he will finally overcome his demons. If he does not, I recommend staying out of his way Sunday night. -Sven Martin

Brendan Fairclough has backed up his stylish riding with a solid fourth place today, proving he was a good choice for the British team. His S4P crew have all arrived so he will have his own big, boisterous cheering section lining the course come Sunday. -Sven Martin

Join Gwin for his recovery meal of champions. -Sven Martin

All Gee had to do was start his run for it to be official. He hit his head hard yesterday and skipped all of training. He took the lift down after breaking the beam. Stevie Bell reflects. -Sven Martin

Maybe this is why Danny gets so loose and wild without any worries, he trusts his tires to the max. Wouldn't you? -Sven Martin

This didn't come easy for Michal Prokop tonight but he deserved it 100%. Well done! -Sven Martin

Wanna film on course?

In an incredible 4X finals race, Michal Prokop survives the carnage and is the 2011 4X World Champ along with Anneke Beerten. Aaron Gwin and Rachel Atherton also set the pace during timed DH training.
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  • bjenson

    9/3/2011 11:26 AM

    so much insight. what would i do without vital?

  • Mr. P

    9/3/2011 11:04 AM

    "the people make our sport" is what you guys capture in these slideshows, love it. And I'm not a DH guy.

    Stay on your bikes, racers! Qualifying and racing is going to be nuts.

    Heal up Cam & Florian (sp?)


  • t.odd

    9/3/2011 8:47 AM

    great comments Gary, and another amazing piece, thanks for capturing all the different things taking place so well!


    9/2/2011 10:49 PM

    We are so spoiled with this coverage.

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