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DOWNHILL ACTION! Val di Sole World Cup Practice Day 1

<b>Probably my favorite rider to watch, yet he always slips under the radar. So fast, so stylish, so aggressive yet somehow still so smooth. A big result someday soon is due for Remi Thiron.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Watch Remi Thiron do the dance. So sick!</b>

<b>RockShox's Jon Cancellier in audio. The tape and catch nets saved us a few times today. Duncan received a bloody nose (again) while I escaped a near-chainring-decapitation to bring you these shots. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Wyn is able to let it go when it gets rough, with the high pivot and idler on the Bulls bike. Schnell Schnell.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>I have the same shot of Sam Hill here last year. So does Sebastien Schieck. Precision and destruction.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Andrew Neethling pushing hard in practice from early on. You have to find the limits of entry speed into the multiple lines. That's what practice is for and Needles puts good use to a stump smasher </b> -Sven Martin

<b>While Duncan, Joe and I are in the forests behind the tape for eight hours straight, Anka gets to explore the real colors of Italy by bike. </b> -Anka Martin

<b>XCE at its finest. The simple roller log step up on the 4X course can be quite a challenging obstacle for some top level Pro riders.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Gwin made some set up changes today and made a big change after practice tonight. Expect to see him on a large Demo 8 for qualifiers. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Ropelato audibly pumped with a hint of yellow.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>With the practice split, it's the fast juniors that are standing out in the mornings.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Taylor Vernon is one of those fast juniors hitting this corner faster than most all day and throwing body shapes that just scream yeeeow!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Today's strategy was walk down the track, spot some light, shoot it for 10 minutes until it's moved and hope you get some top guys coming through during that time! Brendan Fairclough? Check.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Duncan may not be fainting here, there and everywhere now, but daily nosebleeds from the new-found coffee addiction are a step back to those days.</b> -Joe Bowman

<b>Heres an inside tip for you fantasy league players; put Markus Pekoll in your team now!</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Danny is unfazed by his Fort William anti-climax. He has moved on and is super positive for this weekend. He's having fun on track, but should probably ditch this fun-but-slower wallride line for race day.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Keeping steady and hydrated at the same time. He refills the bottle with his urine so balance isn't upset throughout the day.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Marcelo Gutierrez was one of a small group of riders that managed to get up to speed and start having fun on track.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Joe Smith's 13th place at Fort Bill last weekend seems to have been a little over-shadowed with everything else going on recently. This Brit ain't afraid of steep tracks and will be looking to better that result this weekend.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>I don't think I saw Brook, at any point today, not being held up by a rider in front of him. I think Warner's phrase 'Flat pedal to the medal' may be quite apt this weekend.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Mick's looking plenty calm enough on track but admits to finding it hard to push for that extra bit of speed.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Once you're out of the trees it's nice to shoot things in the plain light.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Penny Skateboards are now the *in8 thing in the pits. Are we going to see a game of SKATE between Ratboy, Sambo and hose-bonelessing Phil Atwill?</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>It's feedback time for team Bulls. The bike engineer tunes in on skype to hear what the team has to say. Wyn Masters proves invaluable for understanding what the bikes does on the track. Stay tuned for the video bike check tomorrow!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The Shaw brothers are still catching up with Fort William's rim toll. They're enjoying themselves here a bit more, now that they're not swapping wheels after every run!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Although they may have drawn the line stating that a single GoPro does not make you eligible for a media bib, dual GoPro'ing seems legit enough.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Even though riders had a full course walk yesterday, this demanding track warrants a good second look. Rachel Atherton scouting.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Here in VDS it's either Pizza or Pasta. No other choice really. When time is sparse, the best view with fresh air is just on the other side of the windows of the press room. Anka keeps the crew going. Borris is back to assisting in the stoke!</b> -Sven Martin

<b>When you have big responsibilities, drinking a low-alcohol, perfectly-balanced beer is the right choice. SRAM keeps everyone hydrated with Scottish leftovers. Doug Hatfield approves.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Happy 25th Birthday, Tracey!</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Martin Knapec, Slovakian National Champ, perfectly positioned and poised in the rowdy gully section.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>First run today and these two fast French ladies wasted no time. Pugin (left) in audio.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Commencal seem to always have one of the best looking bikes on the hill. Metal and punk inspired Supreme, perfect for PomPom.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Stevie Smith looks smooth and in control. But he is still riding fast and on the edge. A winning combo right there.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>It's rough and tough out there. It's also steep. A pulley and belay system is used to hoist injured riders up to the ambulance, which is never good to see.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Another man keeping it smooth, Josh Bryceland. His riding's been making the line choice in sections look too easy.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>It's not just the boys that can kick up some roost with their power turns. Casey Brown Pow.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Sam Hill's riding was looking effortless today. Super smooth, he's still drawing all the attention and it's not just because of that kit! Stay tuned for qualifying news updates and action soon.</b> -Duncan Philpott

Steep, rough, fast and anyone's race to win. That is how the 2013 World Cup Downhill at Val di Sole, Italy can be summed up. The best mountain bikers in the world sampled the course for the first time this year. While primarily the same as in years past, there are some new sections that riders are getting used to. Bike and suspension set up is crucial on this course, which rewards the aggressive racer. But balance and control is key in the midst of the rock-filled tree sections that have claimed those pushing too hard. Get dirty with the pros in this cracker of a slideshow from Sven Martin, Duncan Philpott, Joe Bowman and Brandon Turman.

Enter to Win a RockShox Vivid with Vital OTB for Val di Sole

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