HIGH STAKES: Leogang World Cup Qualifying Slideshow

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In 6th grade, my English teacher would say, "T.P.I.O., The Pressure is On," whenever a student would hesitate with an answer to a question. Some 25-years later, it is clear that correctly answering a question in 6th grade English class is not pressure. Trying to win the UCI World Cup Downhill overall, with only one run to go, when you're in a virtual tie with your only competitor and the entire MTB world watching is some god damned pressure.

Gee Atherton and Steve Smith are now separated by 3 measely points after qualifying today and they each have one, single, solitary run ahead of them to determine who will take the most coveted crown a downhill racer can earn. There can be no mistakes, there can be no hesitation. Hell, they can't even mis-time a blink of their eyes during their run or it could be all over.

But wait! There's more. The Women's title has not been sewn up and neither has the Junior Men's. In Leogang, Austria, it will be all-out war on downhill bikes on Sunday. Until then, see how we got into this dramatic mess with some epic qualifying action and 4X World Championships. Sven Martin, Duncan Philpott and Joe Bowman, capture the chaos no matter what the pressure!
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  • CombatMutt

    9/22/2013 8:20 AM

    Shot number 16, is that a carbon wheel?

  • judgerider68

    9/22/2013 6:24 AM

    and ONCE AGAIN vital delivers the BEST photos... and NO photoshop !!!!!! NOOOO disrespect to stevie and gee, but im rooting for sik mik
    to take the win..he deserves at least ONE win this year. : D !!!!!!!! this is TRULY the way the last race of the season should go down !!!!!!!!! and i agree with got shovel..that pic of rach..
    AWESOME...... DEFINITELY one of the best. THANKS VITAL !!!!!!!!

  • GotShovel

    9/21/2013 10:44 PM

    That last picture of Rachel.. Just amazing. The best I've ever seen of her.

  • thebyker

    9/21/2013 9:30 PM

    great photos

  • sideshow

    9/21/2013 9:28 PM

    This is one of the most hotly contested years in some time. Most excellent. Perfect ending shot too!

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