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2012 UCI World Cup, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Day 1

<b>It is finally here, the 2012 UCI World Cup in Pietermaritzburg. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>This sums up what the World Cup downhill field have been doing the last few months as they prep for this early, lung-busting race. Gee Atherton, California early March. </b>

<b>A month or so earlier, Syndicate was testing their new bikes with Shimano and Fox parts in San Romolo. Bryceland giving advice to the veterans. Will they be ready to attack for the podium?</b>

<b>The much talked about new Scott Bike everyone is waiting to see tomorrow. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>I went to Scott11 for dinner and excused myself from the table, faking an upset stomach. I managed to quickly sneak in this shot while no one was looking. Internet arm chair engineers are going to go wild. -Some guy</b>

<b>Here's how I tried to spend some of the South Africa summer - teaching my daughter Molly how to ride single track. I needn't have bothered, she took to it with ease. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Sibling rivalry has been put aside this season, to help make the Morewood United Ride team as successful as they possibly can in front of the partisan local crowds. Mick and Tracey Hannah will lead a track that will have many similarities to home tracks in Oz. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Some special touches to Andrew's new bike. It's all in the finer details. Giant and SRAM Black Box are on top of things. (is that the new SRAM Clutch Type 2 rear derailleur?). -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Jared Graves has a new DH carbon Yeti 303 waiting for action. Note the cut-down rear tire for minimum rolling resistance.</b>

<b>Damian Breach gave Sven and myself a challenge simply titled: Feet. In this image we see multiple units of measurements being strided out - metric Euro, imperial Brit and whatever a South African, formerly of USA now in Enzed would measure in. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

GT mech, Mr. Maurissen talks about trucks and this machined down (to 30.0) Fox Dropper post on Marc Beaumont's bike. -Sven Martin

<b>Less than 3 weeks ago, Al Bond broke his collarbone at Pine Valley, California. Now he's in PMB with plans to race. He figures he doesn't want to waste all that hard training. Worst case scenario? His collarbone snaps again and he has 2.5 months to recover. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>This is the most riders you will ever see on the track here in PMB. Long shuttles and a long track mean slow rider turn-around. Top tree section. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Graves back on the DH and taking charge. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Fresh fast rolling surface surface. Nigel Hicks, course designer breaks down some track changes. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>After spending the last few months surveying the high-rises of the Costa del Sol from afar, super snapper Victor Lucas is more than able to judge how high the new drop is in Cloud 9. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Team Giant before the three long tables. you can see fresh dirt where they have been lengthened. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Socal and Utah in the house. Team KHS with Logan Binggeli and Kevin Aiello. Welcome to the jungle. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>The longest table top measures about.......this long (25M). Gee stretching it. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Always ahead of the trends, Nigel Page, wanted a much more natural feel to his pits this week. He said he wants at least one mountain in PMB. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>People have come from near and far for the opening round of the UCI World Cup. Some flew, some drove, I took the FunBus option. [Sleep tight Gary : ]</b>

The fastest downhill mountain bike racers in the world gather in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa for the first round of the 2012 UCI World Cup. Positioned above Greg Minnaar's home town, the downhill track, known for being a pedaling challenge, has been refined with new features, adding to its technical difficulty. All eyes are on Aaron Gwin for a repeat victory, but the excitement of unknown, off-season training by the rest of the field has everyone guessing about who will take home the victory.

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