Aussies show strength in timed runs at the Cairns World Championships
After days of dusty walking, playing with bike setup, and posting photos of custom painted bikes on the beach, riders for the 2017 Mountain Bike World Championships finally took to the downhill track today to hit it under full gas for seeding.
As you'd know, conditions are dusty, loose, and ever-changing. The dust cloud hanging above Smithfield builds through the day - but everyone prefers this to the opposite which would be tropical mud.
The fastest man down the mountain today was none other than local hero Mick Hannah, posting a time of 3:30:62 on the course. Loic Bruni was only just over a second behind with AMB cover star Jack Moir getting his big-wheeled Intense down in 3:32:87.
But the likes of Aaron Gwin, and France's Rudy Cabirou are right behind, with Shaw, Blenkinsop and Atherton breathing down their necks. Who kept their race lines under wraps? Who has more to give? We can't tell, but we'll know on Sunday.
One thing we know is that Sam Hill was stomping in the first parts, and looked to shut it down for the end of his run. Will his choice to run his enduro rig pay off?
Rachel Atherton - DNF in Timed Practice
With an ambulance trip for defending champion Rachel Atherton, it was more than a dust cloud hanging over the women's timed practice. We don't know if she's just dislocated her shoulder or done worse. Tahnee Seagrave got down in 4:03.42, almost 3 seconds ahead of Myriam Nicole and around 7 seconds faster than Tracey Hannah. This is about what we'd expect given recent World Cup results - but it's little more than a line in the sand.