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ON COURSE! Fort William World Cup Downhill Action

<b>A track with a view! It was a beautiful, sunny day in Fort William, Scotland with the view across the valley spanning for miles as the World's best downhill mountain bike racers glided by.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Mick Hannah, fastest in timed practice thanks to some whippy, scrubby action here...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>...and rock destroying here. Mick rules!</b> -Joe Bowman

<b>Game changer. After his result last weekend, a broken collarbone for Brayton is shit, to be frank. We wish him a fast recovery. Stay tuned for his video bike check coming soon, too. #bummed</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Matt Simmonds could clear ALL the jumps on the motorway without pedaling. The same jumps most struggled to clear with pedaling. That means he is hitting the right turn and left hip above at incredible speeds. Watch for a possible podium this weekend.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Cedric Gracia, the one and only.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>With a UCI World Ranking of #1, Gee Atherton has been busy on the ol' Snap Chat this weekend. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>With no rain for days, the corners are proving to be looser than ever. The Lapierre boys were having no issues though, riding their new team bikes and kit through the slippery switchbacks.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The old run-around from Justin Frey...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>But we can heckle right back. Gwin's bike.</b> -Brandon Turman

<b>A recent addition to Pom Pom's riding attire; a Red Bull helmet. Despite last year's move to clips, she still maintains that great style.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>CRC Team Manager, Nigel Page, takes today's award for worst footwear. Flip flops and a busted ankle from his kid's birthday party. Rock and roll, Nige.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Back from injury and on a new bike, Tracy Hannah has a lot to put behind her, but she's keen to make a fresh start this weekend.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Mirror images, Greg Minnaar, left and Steve Peat, right. If you think form isn't important, think again. The practice schedule is a little different with mandatory timed practice runs in the afternoon. Peaty wasn't that stoked.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Nathan Rennie in the audio as he is onsite as the coach for the Australian junior team. He's not racing, but it's great to see him again. Peter Knott pictured here.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Rennie continues about Fort William separating men from boys...Ouch part 1.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Ouch part 2...not how you want to fall down the chute at Fort Bill.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Josh Bryceland with his own style. I give him shit for white socks over and over again but i think its all NFG for Ratboy.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>You can take the Chris Ball out of tech delegate position but you can't take the tech delegate out of the Chris Ball. Patching up the track today after a rider blew the berm apart.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Not all marshals will make you want to get through a section faster.</b>

<b>Focused. Danny is here to win. Nothing less.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Lines gettin' blurred with Danny Hart and Brendan Fairclough</b> -Joe Bowman

<b>Brendan Fairclough is accustomed to seeing fisheye lenses on the end of a monopod. Getting it sideways on the spuds with an angle that pays Sven .09 pennies everytime it's poached.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Who needs helicopters? Clay Martin Productions on a flyby of their own.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Minor distractions today. Air Force fly-bys trying to catch a glimpse of Sven's new camera gear. Permission to buzz the tower?</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>One of the juniors to keep an eye out for, Phil Atwill, blasting over one of the few loamy technical sections on the track.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Brook MacDonald is another on a new team this year. With a good off-season behind him and wins in the U.S. already this year, it's time to take the flat pedal thunder to the big stage.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The new turns in the woods are well and truly bedded in thanks to riders like Andrew Neethling, who was pressing them down with the will to win.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>When my well worn, over-loaded and under-washed Alpinestars photo bib needs a bit of love, I take it to the best tailor on the circuit, Ben Reid's mom. She's the reason a jersey may fit like a skinsuit, scrubbing precious milliseconds from race run times.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>With the split practice Taylor Vernon and Rachel Atherton have been spending a lot of time with each other. Some juniors have chosen to ride in the Elite class, but Taylor is playing it smart and gaining valuable experience in due time.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Although her kit and pit set up has changed this year, Morgane Charre's style hasn't. Can she hold up to her blinding performance at World Champs last year? Her focus says yes.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>These jumps weren't seeing much whip action early on but come final runs of the day, Bernard Kerr gave it a good seeing to!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Holly Feniak gave everyone a big scare with a big off in the jumps. Backboarded out, it appears she may be ok to ride tomorrow.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Once you hit this corner you can practically see the finish line. The riders, like last year's winner, Aaron Gwin here, will also be able to hear the deafening roar of the crowd as they sprint towards the line.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Fast in timed runs today, big Sam Dale is looking to improve on the 8th place he earned here last year. He has been looking solid in the rough section and doesn't mind eating a few cookies to bring on the extra gravity speed.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Ed Masters repping the weird side of New Zealand...which is basically every side of New Zealand. #nipples.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Yoga in the pits and all out on the track. Rachel Atherton has never won here before and hopes to change that this weekend.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>It should read #FML. Stay tuned for qualifying action and more great photos, audio and video from Sven, Duncan and Joe tomorrow, right here on Vital MTB! YYEEWWW!</b> -Sven Martin

The first practice session of the 2013 Fort William World Cup is now in the books. In addition to learning the track, riders had a timed training session in which Mick Hannah posted up the fastest time of the day. Rachel Atherton seems to be on her game with the fastest timed training result in the Women's class. The action heats up under an unusually sunny sky over the highlands. Photos by Sven Martin and Duncan Philpott. Video by Joe Bowman.

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