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2012 UCI World Cup, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - Downhill Qualifiers

<b>This is how you attack the rock section in PMB...just gap the entire thing. Greg Minnaar overcomes all kinds of pressures on his home track to take fastest qualifier by .008 seconds. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>The Trek World Racing Team of Aaron Gwin (in the audio), Justin Leov, Neko Mulally and DH coach, Myles Rockwell, try to work out the reality of.008 seconds and where they can make that up! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Everyone's favorite Canadian, Steve Smith, shows in no uncertain terms that he's back from injury and ready to get right back up on the same podium he got comfortable with last year. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Focus, poise and strength. Quite simple really. Tracey Hannah, your last starter and your first place qualifier even after making some passes. I guess that's why they call the pedal section the N3 highway. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Gee Atherton knows what needs to be done and where he needs to do it. The top four are separated by less than two seconds, and nearly every one of them made errors in their runs. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>This is what happens when you smash your head in to the ground at 70 Km/h. Lucky and unlucky all at the same time. <a href="http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/member/Brook-MacDonalds-Qualifying-Crash-at-2012-South-Africa-World-Cup,12450/sspomer,2" target="_blank"><font color="#ffff00">Watch Brook MacDonald's crash here</font></a> -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Mark Fitzsimmons of Fox Racing Shox works with Steve Peat on suspension settings for the increasingly high-speed course that's getting rougher and more beat up every run. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>It's great to see Jared Graves back on DH bike. I have great memories of him ripping it up in NORBAs in '05 & '06 against Minnaar. And the dude likes to 'Hang Loose' on the pedal section and still get top 10! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

Graves...UNREAL.

<b>Dog. Rat. Frog. Guess the riders. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Needles wants to put his past behind him here at his home World Cup. Even coming together with a tree yesterday couldn't stop the guy from a top 10 qualifier. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Cedric Gracia wondering if he can find a green cable for his dropper post. Irie Bra. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>It's not just the guys that can get sideways and stylie on 60 foot jumps, Scott 11's Emilie Siegenthaler lets loose in quali. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>According to the adverts you can rollerblade, skydive, bungee jump and now even race downhill with the new grooved and improved PeatyPads. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Kevin Aiello wondering whats longer, the Fontucky Wall or the PMB flats? Anyone know? -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Everyone knows it's important to stretch and limber up. Eliot Jackson gets his tuck on in the pits, pre-qualifiers. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>Semi Slick or PMB pick? -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Tire trimming was the sound of the morning here in PMB with everyone trying to eek out the best possible combination of grip and rolling resistance. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>The small army of local fans will grow and grow as the weekend goes on. You can be sure the Hansa and 'sppok & diesel' will be flowing down the hill at the same rate as the racers. Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>If a whip is done in the woods and no one sees it, was it really a whip? Danny Hart doesn't care. Sideways where most case-o-rama. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Couch time before go time with Monster Energy Specialized. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>A picture really is worth a thousand words. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Style runs in the Neethling family. Here younger brother Jonty squashes a table on the pedal section that most barely clear. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Finally, the two old schoolers together again. Dougie Fresh and Steve Peat have already made some history together onboard GT in the mid-90's and look to get cracking again. -Sven Martin</b>

<b>Tracey Hannah is back. The wild style, squeals and yelps are all still there, but the new Tracey is ripped and ready to race! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

<b>I fear this roosty goodness may not be here come race day given the fact that it was raining when we left the pits this evening! Photo by Gary Perkin</b>

Take a ride on the DH track with Team CRC / Nukeproof.<br>Stay tuned for more exciting coverage and <b>share this slideshow and downhill racing all over the web!</b> Video by MTBcut

Only .008 seconds separated second place Aaron Gwin from the fastest downhill qualifier in South Africa, Greg Minnaar. Minnaar has been quiet during the off-season and all of the hype has been on Gwin's shoulders, so while these results are not really terribly shocking, they definitely make race day speculation considerably more exciting. Gary Perkin and Sven Martin recount the day's events from Pietermaritzburg.

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