CONFLICT OF INTEREST - Qualifying at La Bresse

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Today at the final round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup DH, there were no points for qualifying. At the previous six rounds, there had been points earned for qualifying which counted toward a racer's seasonal total. While unconfirmed, the rumor is that a potential World Cup overall title being won on qualifying day wouldn't be as exciting as if it happened on race day, so earlier this year, the UCI and Red Bull scrapped qualifying points at the final round. The desire for maximum race-day drama is all well and good, but it just seems odd and I'm not quite sure what I think about it. My gut says it's dumb to make one race in a series different than the others. Rachel Atherton wasn't stoked which you'll hear in her audio interview.

If you were a protected rider in La Bresse today qualifying literally meant that all you had to do was break the timing beam at the start, turn around, ride the lift down and go back to bed until race day. Thankfully protected riders are fiercely competitive and while some minimized risk, none of them opted for the inside mattress line.

If you weren't a protected rider, as Eddie Masters put it, the slippery, tricky and short course was "a two-minute emotional roller coaster." Charlie Hatton (as you'll hear in interview) had like a 45-minute emotional roller coaster as he sat on the bubble, finally qualifying in 60th and making the show, book-ending his teammate Gee Atherton on the results sheet. Gee qualified 1st.

Dig into the photos and audio interviews and think about all the interesting rule changes that have taken place this year what with qualifying and start orders and stuff. We'll discuss all that after the race...which we can't freaking wait for!

​Sven, Boris and Dan do the dirty work.

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