Meribel World Cup Downhill Action 5

<b>Three people on a Hill. Two going up, one going down...very fast.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Sam's using timed training as a useful tool to gauge his own pace on track.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Gois Vasco Bica from Portugal. If there was a judge shaving seconds off race times for uber style, Gois might have a complete race time of about 17-seconds on this 3-minute track. One of the most stylish riders this morning. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Duncan getting his hot shoe sync "shockingly" close to the water to capture Junior World Cup title contender, Loris Vergier. #5000dollarelecticshortcircuitbill</b> -Sven Martin

<b>The track dried out massively during the day, however there was still the odd puddle to get creative with.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Troy Lee train. Troy. Get it?</b> -Sven Martin

<b>It's a pleasant change shooting a track with surroundings beautiful enough to include. Ratty in audio.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Riders are dwarfed by the alpine environment as Sir Ratness continues.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Neal Stewart pre-hoping the wooden road gap for a better downside landing. The kids these days are smart.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Remi Thiron ran telemetry for much of practice. The last time he did that down the road in Andorra, he won the race.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>This turn is flat, awkward and blown out, but Connor Fearon still managed to carve around it as if he was on rails. One to watch this weekend.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>A taste of the RAW. Sam Hill, Emanueal Pombo and Francisco Pardal.</b> -Joe Bowman

<b>Images, like news stories, have a way of coming back into fashion. Here's an ode to an old 2009 World Cup photo of mine. Drew Carters mind bending while you photo nerds use the power of the internet to prove the past. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>With a course this rough there are limited places to grab pan shots. I can't resist! Taylor Vernon.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Get off the track and download the onboard footage. Practice is shorter than it used to be, so reviewing runs is a useful tool, especially when you have a set of riders' cameras and lines to compare.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Gee Atherton is not afraid of big course with consequences. Exploding rocks and chopping trees down as he makes his way down the woods today. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>It's Manon's battle to lose and as one Vital viewer pointed out, we couldn't have a better venue to contest it all.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Number 3 is within reach of the number 1. Gwin will be looking to prove his doubters on steep, technical tracks.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>No excuses for Brendan on a track like this. He's been riding flat out and having fun now that his bike and kit have turned up.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>There's a huge difference in light coming into the woods, and with new roots being exposed on every run, riders have to be careful.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>A little sketchy bike loading never hurt anyone. DuncDawg keeps an eye on the shadows for his morning shooting.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Danny Hart getting loose in a wild, multi-lined section. Semi-dry, semi-wet conditions make it super difficult to judge the wooded sections of the course.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>This is a corner with an entrance camera left. Matt Simmonds is confidently taking the risky inside, landing on piles of roots, but setting up with plenty of speed for the following corners.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Practice time is extremely valuable and limited. Every team has spare wheels ready to go.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The mechanics and managers include some of the best riders in the world. They're all good friends, socialising after a day of hard work in the company of the #1 and #2 plates.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Loris Vergier has raced here two times before, so he may have a slight advantage on the rest of the field. The overall is still up for grabs in the Juniors and Loris is only 14 points back on Luca Shaw.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Rachel seems to be quite relaxed, even though a win here could mean more than just the top of the race podium.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Taylor's confident coming off a win at Windham and is looking comfortable on course.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Laurie Greenland scrubbing off some green wood.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Tahnee Seagrave has spent the majority of her riding life in the French Alps and looks at home on this track. A fresh kit can go a long way to boosting your confidence, too.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Look closely at Brook. Fully committed to the rut, pushing heel deep into the loam, while Rob Parkin video captures the epic goods for Red Bull TV.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Blenki scrub, lined up rotors. What else could a photographer hope for?</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Mike Jones, out of the light into the darkness.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Loic Bruni smashing one of the few berms present here on track. Smash it hard and set up above the root.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Mid-day, mid-track lunch delivery from the fastest delivery service in France. Rachel Atherton.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>When Steve Peat gets low and tucked, he is generally feeling comfortable and taking it seriously. Looking fast today on this big track, the big man is.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Taylor Vernon has adapted to this course faster than some of the top Elite riders. Loose and fast up top. Fastest in timed training and 3 photos today to boot.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>French goodness. Patrick Thome rock-n-rolling on the most Whistler-esque, mossy drop you will see pop up in all the photo stories on the web. Stay tuned as qualifying action comes in hot on Friday!</b> -Sven Martin

On one of the most anticipated courses of the season, the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill concludes in Meribel, France. Today riders had their first taste of the rocks, roots and gnar, resulting in smiles all over the place. Don't let the smiles fool you as the World Cup overall will be decided this weekend and any rider in the running will be pulling out all the stops to take a victory or earn valuable points. Sven Martin, Duncan Philpott and Joe Bowman take you trackside for the action.

Watch Vital RAW from Thursday Practice at Meribel

Meribel Track Walk Slideshow

Vital Power Rankings, Meribel

Timed Training Results

WIN SRAM GUIDE RSC Brakes - Vital OTB Meribel

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  • Big Bird

    8/22/2014 8:07 PM

    I love that feeling of the inside heel scraping ground. You can almost lean on it for stability. That last drop looks awesome.

  • JohnnyK

    8/22/2014 5:19 AM

    nice nice nice

  • onenerdykid*

    8/22/2014 1:06 AM

    hearing Rach talk about how the course designer has been laboring over this track for the past 15 years to make it the awesomeness that it is, has me even more fired up for Saturday. This is truly going to be a super epic gnar bang of a final.

  • bismojo

    8/21/2014 8:06 PM

    epic photos! what a track..

  • shutter2ride

    8/21/2014 8:02 PM

    no music, different. very quietly makes me want to whisper...

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