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PREPARING FOR BATTLE: Andorra World Cup

<b>WELCOME TO ANDORRA! Yellow means you're on the leading team and the number 1 speaks for itself. GT aren't doing too shabby so far, but a lot can change in a few days...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Cedric Gracia prides himself in what Andorra has to offer. Before the World Cup chaos, he and Peaty filmed for This is Peaty on the local trails, hooting and hollering like 12 year-olds on their first bike ride.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Peaty and Cedric having fun and hauling some freight for TIP.</b> -Joe Bowman

<b>Then a little accident happened. No biggie for CG. Off to the store to get some stitch supplies.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Some stitches later with eyes realistically focused on the weekend ahead...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Finally to the brand new Andorra DH track. This is near the end and it is freaking wild! It looks like a flood had come down here and then it was just taped off.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Sharp rocks, ruts and chutes. There's potential for mechanicals and carnage everywhere.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Kiwis are never a dull bunch and always have some kind of game or challenge going on. Today's was running/sliding down the steepest and most slippery sections of track. Tommy performs the Mexican wave.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>It's a pretty unique-looking track here and there's plenty of room for error given the length and unpredictable nature of the course.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Specialized young guns… Brosnan, the Shaw Bros. and Mitch Slipaloto.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>The finish line jump is completely blind to riders as they approach. Good thing the local kids are figuring out just how fast a bike needs to go to clear the lip.</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>Ironically, the Colorado Freeride Festival is happening at the other Trestle in Colorado this weekend.</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>There are whispers likening this track to Champery. The track walking difficulty is certainly comparable!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Brook has just flown in from New Zealand after a few weeks at home where he has been hard at work growing his winter beard which is almost as curly as the corner below.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Time to cut those spikes.</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>Widely taped with many options depending on your strength or size of your balls. Gee checks the inside big drop line that may set you up better for the corner, while Rachel walks the regular line.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Giant Factory Off-Road discussing line options. Oscar Saiz knows these woods well.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>The track is already tough enough in all aspects, but expect it to get even tougher when all sorts of surprises pop out of the ground once practice starts. What are the odds this buried wooden water trough survives?</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Found: One soggy top section. With rain commonplace every evening, it's unlikely that the track will dry out.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Steeeep! Excited noises could be heard from the British privateer sector as the track dropped away and away and away. Matt Stuttard in audio.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The Aussies were contemplating Minions at this point of the track. Needless to say the discussion moved to cut or full spikes by the bottom of the course!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>There are many multi-line sections, and with such a natural course, line choice will vary over the next few days as the track gets beaten up. Greg Minnaar in audio.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Setting off from Morzine and traveling via the South of France seemed like a good idea until the air conditioner broke. A swift seaside stop was necessary to escape the 39 degree heat! </b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Travelogue</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The upside to the bike park being closed all week is that we explored the valley looking for trails to ride. Our efforts were well rewarded.</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>Hutchinson UR manager, Oliver Gough, and I stumbled upon an epic loop out of the pits and around the ridge of the surrounding mountains before dropping through singletrack back to the bottom of the gondola.</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>With the bottom of the track being the talk of the day, it's worth showing the straight, flat, pedally top portion which slows down a lot with the rain!</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Where's Milner? We caught a glimpse of the elusive videographer before he disappears off to Tomorrowland. Some wonder why he even bothered coming to Andorra #TS</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Racers tend to avoid the trees at all costs, but in some sections, spectators are holding onto them for dear life. #steep</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>You might have seen a few of Lee Trumpore's photos on Vital (mostly enduro) but he's still a rookie on the World Cup scene being the only muddy media bottom.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The start of the DH track is the easiest bit, but the one-line, gentle slope quickly gives way to one of the steepest, gnarliest tracks to date.</b> -Lee Trumpore

<b>Peaty and Cedric for one last bit of stoke! Stay tuned for the DH action starting tomorrow. It's going to be nuts!</b> -Joe Bowman

Steep, wet, rocky, rooty. Sam Hill said this is the best World Cup track he's ever seen...and it's brand-spanking new. The anticipation and hijinx begins in Andorra for the 3rd round of the 2013 UCI World Cup downhill season.

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