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2012 UCI World Cup, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Cross Country Finals and Downhill Practice

<b>Some prankster did some sign modifying last night. It's going to be a great finals tomorrow! -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Happy St. Patricks day for all our Irish viewers. Victor Lucas explains how to find the pots of gold at the end of the XC rainbow with his secret map. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>The XC racing was exciting today. The challenging course (for once) had plenty of drops, jumps and options. Maja Wloszczowska took the Women's Elite win today. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Nino Schurter has podiumed at the Mega in Reunion, and won a Maxi Avalanche or two, so it should come as no surprise to see him rip through the tech sections of the PMB XC course in the lead...on a 650b bike! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Don't be confused, there was no 4X tonight. This is Canadian Emily Batty who had her best result yet with a second place in Elite women after railing some berms. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Mark "Fitzy" Fitzsimmons observes the XC racing today. While he can help riders out with a lot of things, clearing two foot gaps is not one of them. I bet he would recommend a little extra high and low speed compression with a tad slower rebound. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>For a man who started out with no tattoos just over a year ago - and who revealed his first in PMB in 2011 - Rob Warner sure is getting the hang of it. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Some riders took practice seriously today, even on the pedaling section. Bryn, Gwin, Brendog_1, Old Skool, eyes of tigers. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Some riders did NOT take practice seriously today. CG horns, Bernard Kerr aero steez, Matt Simmonds eagle and Blenki with an ode to 2001 freeriders. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Spare a thought for 2011 #2, Floriane Pugin of Scott 11. She was carried off the hill today with a suspected broken shoulder. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>As a former gated specialist, Jared Graves is used to bending, flexing and contorting around flags and poles. And here it doesn't hurt the composition either. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Another former gated specialist who doesn't look like a Fisch(bach) out of water. Johannes Fischbach will be looking to capitalize on his top 20 qualifier on race day! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Blenki. Style. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Epic whip or epic fail? At least the colours are complementary on Brendan and Bryn's kits. Clips for old Brendog_1. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Some team *bond*ing going on here with Smith and Al from CRC Nukeproof. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>The other Neethling racing tomorrow - the more stylish one in my opinion - Andrew's younger brother, Jonty giving it some over the final jump. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>What pressure does Nick Beer run his tires? Find out in the audio. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Chasing and shooting the XC is tough at the best of times. Add to that the hot humid PMB conditions today and you can say we were suffering for our art. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Peaty always has time for fun and fans. Big vuvzela noise-making contest at Syndicate pits after the race tomorrow! Be there. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Brendan (and Danny, Brook, Blenki and Bryceland) will have to practice some self-restraint tomorrow in the final. Not too much of this will go down, at least not in the pedal section. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>You have to practice fast and push past the limits to find the edge if you want everything out of your final run tomorrow. Troy Brosnan knows this as he roosts the last of the dust for the day. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>A river runs through it. As the XC men were crossing the finish line, the rain started. And boy did it come down! I tried to walk down from the step down to this spot and slid for most of the way! Snot on glass as Miami Bryce would say! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Most of the press room bandwidth went to the local weather service to see how DH race day will play out. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Will we have more of this tomorrow? Or was this just a way of settling the dust? Well you can be sure the rain did more than just settle dust. It's going to be sketchy out there first thing tomorrow! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>In a damp corner of the press room, my kit awaits its next mission. The first DH World Cup race day of 2012! STAY TUNED and <a href="http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/member/LIVE-Broadcast-of-the-2012-South-Africa-UCI-World-Cup,12458/bturman,109" target="_blank"><b><font color="#ffff00">WATCH LIVE on Vital MTB</font></b></a> Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

The rain comes in during the 2012 UCI World Cup Cross Country race in South Africa and downhill riders utilize their last full practice day before the gate drops on the highly-anticipated first race of the World Cup season.

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