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Matt Simmonds during practice - photo by Duncan Philpott.

Qualifying is over in Meribel, and there's a familiar face at the top of the standings. We're talking about Rachel Atherton of course, because in the men's, Matt Simmonds put down the fastest run of the day to take the number 1 qualifying spot for the first time in his career, just ahead of Josh Bryceland! Other noteworthy performances include Loic Bruni making a mockery of his lowly Vital Power Ranking by landing the third fastest time on the day, Remi Thirion making good on the Power Ranking call with the 6th fastest time, and Brendan Fairclough making the most of the decidedly non-bike-parky track here in Meribel to bag himself 11th! Portugal's national champ Francisco Pardal stormed back from 17th at split 1 to claim 4th on the day, shaking up the established order at the top in the process. The big loser of the qualifying session is Troy Brosnan who was in touch at split 1 but had a flat later in his run which left him over 1 minute back and without any points from qualifying, further widening the gap to Josh in the overall standings.

In the Junior's, Luca Shaw had an uncharacteristically bad qualifier, opening the door for Loris Vergier to challenge his overall lead tomorrow. Juniors don't earn points in qualifying, so the standings are unchanged with Luca holding a 14-point lead over Loris at this point. The winner in the junior's takes 60 points with 2nd place 40, so it's all very much to play for here still.

By our calculations, this is what the standings now look like heading into tomorrow's finals:

Men's

  1. Josh Bryceland 1047
  2. Troy Brosnan 964
  3. Aaron Gwin 943

Women's

  1. Manon Carpenter 1220
  2. Emmeline Ragot 1140
  3. Rachel Atherton 1110

With 200 points up for grabs for the winner, Troy would have to win with Josh finishing 5th or lower, or Aaron would have to win with Josh 6th or lower to stop Ratboy from claiming his first World Cup overall title. In the women's, Emmeline would have to win with Manon finishing 5th or lower to inverse the standings here, with Rachel facing an even more improbable scenario of needing to win and Manon coming in 7th or lower to make her bid. (Other scenarios apply of course, but our supercomputer is down and our abacus is in pieces).

Bring on the racing - we can't wait for Saturday!!!

Don't forget to make your OTB calls to try and win a pair of SRAM Guide RSC brakes!

2014 DH World Cup Meribel, France - Men's Qualifying Results (full results)

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2014 DH World Cup Meribel, France - Women's Qualifying Results (full results)

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2014 DH World Cup Meribel, France - Junior Men's Qualifying Results (full results)

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