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Gwin and Ragot Dominate, 2012 Val di Sole DH Qualifying Action

<b>Minnaar and Gwin...to be a fly on a tree listening to these two. What could they be saying? "Why don't you take that line, and I'll take this one. Let's paper rock scissors over it." Best reader caption in comments wins a Vital T-Shirt. Keep it classy.</b> -Sven Martin

by gibbins

<b>Emmeline Ragot doesn't mind hitting things in order to take the fastest line. First place women's qualifier by 6.6 seconds. ROWDY!</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>And then there were three...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Martin Soderstrom doing what he would have done at Teva Games and wowing the crowd in honor of Cedric in the 4X Pro Tour today.</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Jason Chamberlin shows the world media the new S-Works Carbon Demo. Journalists will be falling down the race track Monday morning aboard the new bikes. Brandon Sloan in the audio. Stay tuned for Vital's exclusive, in-depth look at the history of this bike in the coming days.</b> -Sven Martin<br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> 

<b>Richie Rude proves America's Got Talent with an 11th place qualifying result. East Coast Rox training pays off. </b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Justin Frey from Fox Racing Shox is overflowing with work this weekend. It all pays off with the top four men riding his fresh tunes.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Bernard Kerr spent some time in the U.S. this winter, often riding with Mitch Ropelato. His 12th place qualifying result seems to prove something in his training was spot on. </b>-Vanja Kodermac

<b>Heals-down aggression! Thats how you have to tame this beast of a course and Marc has done it before. 3rd place qualifier today.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Sam Hill, 6th place today. The gap between Greg Minnaar, in 2nd, and Sam Hill is only about 3 seconds. There's an additional 7 on top of that if he wants to catch Gwin in the finals. Anything can happen. (Note the pedals?)</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Sven Martin looking fit as ever! If you want to shoot the competition, you have to prepare like they do!</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>How many World Champs can you spot in this photo? (4 plus one silver medalist is the answer, Myles Rockwell and Mullaly lurk). Josh Bryceland, 7th place quali.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Tracey Hannah, about to get tossed in the fastest part of the track during her quail run.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Did Cedric really break his hip or is he actually ducking some responsibility? HAHAHA</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Remi Thirion 5th fastest today. Definitely an all-time result for the Labyrinth Shimano Racing Team rider.</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Rachel Atherton is six and a half seconds behind Ragot but on this track that can be clawed back. It's not an easy task, but no one expects a win to come easily. That's the beauty of our sport.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Gianluca Vernassa (Devinci Global Racing's junior) qualified 32nd with start number of 200. Panning through the safety net as a tribute to Mr. Gary Perkin.</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Anneke Beerten in between XC racing, holds down the 4X fort. The crowds for the 4x Pro Tour were huge, possibly even bigger than the last 2 years.</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Jill Kintner, on her way to qualifying 14th, 36 seconds back. Val di Sole is no joke and Jill knows it. Every DH run means more experience gained.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Myriam Nicole came through in third today, 13 seconds back. She loves tracks that are steep and technical and should be a sure bet for the podium tomorrow.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Aaron Gwin usually takes care of the final, important line choices on every last run before quails. When he pushes back up you can expect him to come charging back with double the speed. (Check his cleat positioning...flat pedal style!)</b> -Sven Martin

by gibbins

<b>Fellow shooter, The Hof, is a precision German, which means he has a sun App that tells exactly where the shadows will fall at any time of the day. Important when there is a 1.5 hr delay between practice and race.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Josh Button has always been right there, but has suffered from bad luck and injuries in the past. Today he came in 17th on a course built for the big Intense M9.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Mannon Carpenter had a shoulder injury this morning, but as a protected rider she will be racing tomorrow. Tahnee Segrave was not as lucky, breaking a rib in her quali.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Jack Reading, What can I say? He has made Vital on more than one occasion, with his wild, yet in-control style. The long-time O'neal rider, and now Trek rider, lets it fly.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Steve Smith is cursed here at VDS it seems. He dislocated his finger this morning about 1 minute before this was taken. (Check his dusty jersey) He rolled out the start gate as a protected rider for a DNF, but will be giving it a shot in finals.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>This is a special one for Mr. Damian Breach's Ultimate Podium Challenge...cork included.</b> -Vanja Kodermac

<b>Minnaar will be wanting to hang on to the leader's Jersey tomorrow. But there is a good chance that he and Gwin could be leaving here with a dead heat in points...unless someone else mixes it up in the top two spots.</b> Sven Martin

Aaron Gwin and Emmeline Ragot put the World Cup downhill fields in their places as they qualify seconds ahead of their competition on the most challenging downhill track of the 2012 season.

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