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2013 Val di Sole World Cup Kickoff and Track Walk Slideshow

<b>Monday morning, delayed flight and half the UK downhill media and race contingent. We flew Ryanair to get that same adrenaline buzz as the riders going 50mph through the VDS rock gardens.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Press rooms vary from World Cup to World Cup. It was tea, biscuits and Monsters in Scotland and here in Val Di Sole it's local meat, cheeses and Espressos. I like it here.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>No complaints about the media room view here.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Who would have thought our boy genius at Vital, DPott, is a VDS virgin? The race used to fall during his exams, but now he's like a school teacher in the summer time...NO CLASS!</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Lots of racing going on here this weekend. XCO, Sprint Eliminator XC, 4X Pro Tour and DH. The infamous second-to-last turn has been taped a little tight on the inside which will limit the amount of inside drifting we have come to expect here in Val Di Sole.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Suns out...You need some muscles to hold on for the duration of the Val di Sole track. Duncan, eclipsed out back, sizes up with one of Slovakia's favorites.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>When not walking the DH track, there are plenty of sights and lots of singletrack to see as Anka Martin proves with these pics!</b> -Anka Martin

<b>Track walks can be very busy at times. A lot of riders have chosen to walk early or late to avoid the 2pm rush hour you see here. Smart. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Two legends of Val Di Sole. Vittorio Platania (who made the masterpiece video embedded in the description below) and track designer/builder, Pippo Marani, the lonely dog.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>There seemed to be more banter than actual course inspection today with *media* outnumbering the riders at some points.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Camera-ception.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>You would have seen a lot of photos from Boris in the slideshows last year. This year he's kept busy keeping Wyn Masters from deportation as he manages the Bulls DH team...and loving every minute. @maddogboris</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Trek World Racing discussing options. Good to see Chris Herndon here for the USA juniors, too! Brook MacDonald in the audio.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>The rock strewn gully is the same dark, hateful place as it has always been.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>A layer of loam covers most of the course now, springing about as riders walk down it. Expect this to change as B practice brings plenty of riders and skidding first thing.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>James Swinny Swinden was diligent enough to travel across Europe to partake in a UCI-sanctioned Norwegian race to earn points. He earned the points, but the UCI didn't process them in time for him to race Fort William. All alone, in the back of the pack, he will have to figure it out all by himself.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Mono Bartett in mustache monochrome and Boris checking out his latest snapchat.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Fresh from a glacial swim, Bryceland seems a little uneasy with photos when his underwear is on show in the basket up front. Though we doubt this actually phases Josh.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Greg Williamson put a solid result together last week, however, he's still far from being protected with the new UCI ranking rules.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Vital video man, Joe Bowman, contemplating his chances as a part time Justin Bieber impersonator. #JoestinBowber</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The kind staff at Val Di Sole have even marked awkward rocks and roots on the path to the start which is 10x more gnarly than anything at Sea Otter.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>These rocks have plenty of potential for causing damage to exposed sidewalls. There are simply so many rocks here that racers can't afford to think about each and every one.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Neko Mulally eyes out the final turn here in sunny Val Di Sole. We sure hope riders try the tightly taped inside lines this year. Cough, cough, Danny Hart, cough, cough, Sam Hill.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>It's Wednesday, warm, sunny and Sven is smiling. Plenty can change with the Silverback in 24 hours. We'll keep you updated.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Ciao from Italy, stay tuned for the action!</b> -Sven Martin

The goods from the Val di Sole World Cup begin now! Riders made the pilgrimage from Scotland to Italy after an eye-opening first race. After the shake up in Scotland, it's anyone's guess as to who could perform and get the victory on this steep, rough and pedal-free downhill course. Take a gander at the slightly changed course and get stoked as the World Cup circus rolls on!

The awesome video referred to in slide 9

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