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2011 UCI World Champs 4X Qualifying and DH Practice

Shadows of the past. The pressure is on Anneke Beerten of Milka-Trek. After being denied at so many World Champs, she wants to make this the perfect season and bring home the stripes! Photo by Gary Perkin

The loose, slimy, ever-changing conditions today must have been ordered just for Danny Hart of Giant Factory Team...the lad was on fire today. Photo by Gary Perkin

Insert gratuitous roost shot here...or so the apparently tired recipe goes. Photo by Gary Perkin

@Brendog_1 was absolutely loving life today. Can you blame him? Conditions suited him down to the ground. England expects Brendan. Photo by Gary Perkin

Brook MacDonald of MS-Evil Racing has been playing it low-key this week - organizing his Facebook life more than his interviews. But this Bulldog is here for a podium! Photo by Gary Perkin

We're all struggling to show just how steep the Champery course is. Marc Beaumont in the last woods. When other courses mellow out towards the bottom this one rears its head. Photo by Gary Perkin

After countless months on the road and nearing the end of a 40 day stint we all look for the pleasures of home. And home from home for me is the GT pits! Thanks folks! Photo by Gary Perkin

Andrew Neethling and Joe Staub of Giant Factory Team practice the Zen technique of staring at the bike to make it faster before tomorrow's timed runs. Photo by Gary Perkin (LOL)

Melissa Buhl was fastest qualifier in 4X tonight...just 0.168 of a second over Fionn Griffiths - who rode a DH bike over the big rock line. Photo by Gary Perkin

Michal Prokop rode a textbook qualifier to squeeze out Joost Wichman by 0.054. Racing is super tight. Photo by Gary Perkin

It was a crazy first few runs for the men's 4X qualifier with defending champ Tomas Slavik missing the gate and having to run back up the hill to round it again to get in the big show! Photo by Gary Perkin

Another upset was former World Champ Jared Graves of Yeti-Fox, flatting at the top of the course and having to roll down for last place qualifier. Jared has tasted the good and bad of Worlds on many occasion! Photo by Gary Perkin

Is it really that steep? Uhhhh...

Specialized livin' it up...

See ya tomorrow!

Slippery scenes reminiscent of the infamous 2007 race, minus the downpour. Rachel Atherton gets loose and bins the goggles. Humidity and mud play havoc when stopping during practice. -Sven Martin

If conditions are like this on Sunday you can expect Myriam Nicole to be a major contender for a gold medal in the Women's. Slippery steep corners suit her flat pedal style. -Sven Martin

Gary is trying to figure out what will take longer, shooting the 18 medal events on his shot list or shaving his beard on Sunday! -Sven Martin

Now that's more like it Loose Dog Lewis. This is how you were riding last year when you were mixing it up with Brosnan. Let's see it Sunday! -Sven Martin

Tim Bentley has come a long way this year and is looking very comfortable on a track that couldn't be more different from his local track - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. - Sven Martin

Vital's tower of power. Actually young Richie Rude built this out of course-side roost during practice. We installed a Vital satellite transponder up top to beam these images out to you. -Sven Martin (now that's f'ing news!)

Josh Bryceland twisting below and, in turn, causing some twisting above. -Sven Martin

While the DHers only have a few runs a day, I am running around all day chasing shots like this on the XC course. It may not be DH but it is head down and full on. -Sven Martin (LOVE IT!)

Just think...If there were just three less riders in the field they would have only taken 32 riders to the final. Out going World Champ missed a gate and hiked back up after almost loosing it on this tight first turn. 49th today. -Sven Martin

Check Graves rear tire. Using tubeless on this track was not the best idea. A thundering burp put him to the back of the pack in the first sharp turn. Even Hakan Yildirim from Turkey, competing in all three disciplines, racing tonight on his XC bike, beat him. -Sven Martin

Michael Mechura decided to practice some finals moves in his quai tonight. Here he displays the perfect technique to both block two lines and kick another rider off a third. -Sven Martin (rich)

Gee's practice was cut short after a big crash to the head. He was able to roll down the fire road unassisted, but was done for the day. -Sven Martin

Braap...It was that kind of day and Aaron Gwin couldn't get enough spraying roost every chance he got. -Sven Martin

Steve Peat with a signature edition fork that you won't ever get. -Sven Martin

Top 16 Quali for Lear Miller from the USA who tried to take me out last night on at least three occasions. Tonight I took no chances and hid behind one of the tree stumps littering the course as he kept it straight and tidy for a solid quali. -Sven Martin

4X qualifying takes place and top riders struggle with mechanicals and mishaps, but they all make the show. Downhill proved to be slick, but fun as the course conditions continue to change in Champery.

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