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DOWN TO THE WIRE: Leogang World Cup Kick-off

<b>17 tiny, little points separate Gee Atherton and Stevie Smith in the hunt for the UCI World Cup overall win with only Leogang remaining. Straight out of the movies...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>#igetfreeshitbro</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Nigel Reeve readies Stevie's "second option" for Leogang. There may be more to gain here on this semi-bike park track than in South Africa.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>@cutedogboris distracting us all in the press room.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>One for you garage mechanics. A nice way to work on your bike with the wheels off.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>When it's all on the line, sometimes the mechanics have to go to the dark side for final touches to the bike. What's inside these death pouches, one can only wonder. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Elite Men, Elite Women and Junior Men...It's what everyone these all categories are battling for this weekend.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Greg Minnaar in audio - Now that's a good looking piece of rock. The mountains here are truly mesmerizing and can be seen from almost any point on the track.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Greg Minnaar in audio - The final jump has a wooden kicker this year to send you over this the mountain in the background. $100 to the first rider who gets backside.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>The start points straight down this year into a wet, soft, steep first straightaway. No more mini-drop to left berm. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>The best and worst of Leogang. The best backdrop contrasting with the bike park-ing of this World Cup. Four different surfaces; UK Trail Centre hardpack, covered by cement, covered by rubber ski mat ending with a wooden kicker.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Any roots encroaching on the track are severed. The track has a really man-made feel this year, just like the past few, with 90% of the course being the same.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Team Devinci and Bernard Kerr check out the rocks.</b> @Maddogboris

<b>Many wet days of riding has flicked plenty of mud into the high ceiling of this tunnel. Riders will want to be shedding as much of the clay off their bikes as possible.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Emmeline staying warm she's always happy and always smiling. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Track tuning and trimming for the TV crew...is this an omen for the chainsaw massacre that could go down this weekend?</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Skate shoe surfing down the slick clay surface. Most of this top section has been armored in gravel which only helps to reinforce a bike park feel.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Slick clay and slick soles for Claire Buchar. Tire choice is going to be interesting for riders. Spikes for the clay but something fast-rolling for the bike park mid-section.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>First straight on the track and the bike's going to gain 10lbs. Rain and snow has battered the work done to the course. Wonder if anyone is using Never Wet this weekend? #worthashot</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>No hiking? Here? Leogang lunacy.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Spotting and planning a clear line through the rocks is tricky during the scheduled course walk time.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Last year there were two line choices, now there's just the one, more difficult main line.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Anka Martin opts out of the gondola, squeezing in some Trans Provence training. Joe and Sven's training is going equally well on the schnitzel and beer program.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Custom Marsh Guard treatment for Josh Bryceland. They reckon the aerodynamic benefits keep that front wheel planted. Or not. The real question is, dry tires for Bryceland tomorrow?</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The entrance to the new, fake rock garden is full of soft, goopy mud. It may prove a tricky set up for the rocks.</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Our two favourite Austrians *cough* raiding the pits for anything free. Rims, cheese and beer. #ipanhandleforfreeshitbro</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>A new twist to a mid-track turn. It looks straight forward, but the exit near the tree pad, lower right, will prove to be the problem. </b> -Sven Martin

<b>Jon Cancellier's BlackBox treatment. One in the pink...</b> -Sven Martin

<b>Here is a timeline of GT mechanic, Mark Maurissen's day. Muc-Off for a quick wash, lube after wash, a quick bike polish, a nice coffee and then a rewarding Duvel. Gee's mechanic, Pete in audio.</b> @Maddogboris

<b>#propertrack - Adam Brayton seriously schralping schladming.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>$100 if you can bar drag at Leogang. Scraping trees or tunnel walls don't count. #weloveSchladming</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Trucking from Norway to Austria in the Syndicate race vehicle. Posh Spice-approved.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Straight through the boulder pile. This is the one and only line through. </b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Various seasons of chicken wire on the wooden wall ride look tired from the track's full season use as a "freeride trail"</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Snow melt rushes through track drainage tunnels, overspilling into one of the many generous crash mats that line the course.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Our favorite media cripple finding another use for those Renthal grips.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The clouds roll in across the track during one of those rare moments in course walk where the track is empty.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>The mountains are the only constant here in Leogang. The track and weather will change tremendously over the next few days.</b> -Duncan Philpott

<b>Fitting wind-down to the World Cup season with the first of the winter snow dusting the mountains across the valley. Vital is here to bring you the story of the final runs of the 2013 World Cup downhill season, so stay tuned!</b> -Sven Martin

The 2013 World Cup Downhill title is up for grabs among the Elite Men, Elite Women and Junior Men this weekend. Gee Atherton and Steve Smith, essentially the only two battling for the overall, are in a virtual tie in the Elite Men's category, separated by only 17 points. As the final race of the UCI World Cup descends on Leogang, Austria, get ready for action as each rider has one last shot to make their final mark on the 2013 season. Sven Martin, Duncan Philpott and Joe Bowman will be delivering the goods from this epic weekend.

WIN A ROCKSHOX VIVID - VITAL OTB, LEOGANG


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