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Photo gallery: A day at Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup

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Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) in action on an infamous rocky downhill section

Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) in action on an infamous rocky downhill section
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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An extended giant rock on the downhill course

An extended giant rock on the downhill course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The Costa Rican team washes its bikes

The Costa Rican team washes its bikes
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The podium awaits the winners.

The podium awaits the winners.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A look at the start/finish of the cross country

A look at the start/finish of the cross country
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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There are lots of bridges like this out on the cross country course

There are lots of bridges like this out on the cross country course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A rider on a steep drop on the cross country course

A rider on a steep drop on the cross country course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) powers up and over a flyover

Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) powers up and over a flyover
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) said all the flyovers will take a toll on the legs.

Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) said all the flyovers will take a toll on the legs.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) was recently named to the Canadian Olympic team

Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) was recently named to the Canadian Olympic team
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale)

Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger check out a tire after pre-riding the course

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger check out a tire after pre-riding the course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Downhill world champion Danny Hart (Giant) just before his qualifying run

Downhill world champion Danny Hart (Giant) just before his qualifying run
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) will represent the US at the Olympic Games

Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) will represent the US at the Olympic Games
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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This drop might not look big in the photo, but it is.

This drop might not look big in the photo, but it is.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A rock drop off on the downhill course

A rock drop off on the downhill course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The difference between a downhill in your backyard riding area and a UCI World Cup is orange paint on some rocks.

The difference between a downhill in your backyard riding area and a UCI World Cup is orange paint on some rocks.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A jump high up on the downhill course

A jump high up on the downhill course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The start ramp of the downhill

The start ramp of the downhill
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The start ramp of the downhill

The start ramp of the downhill
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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One of the views from the start of the downhill course

One of the views from the start of the downhill course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A view from atop the downhill course. Look carefully and you can see a rainbow.

A view from atop the downhill course. Look carefully and you can see a rainbow.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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World Cup leader Nino Schurter's number plate

World Cup leader Nino Schurter's number plate
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A rider goes through a culvert that is used for a course crossover

A rider goes through a culvert that is used for a course crossover
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) demonstates the best line for some juniors

Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) demonstates the best line for some juniors
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A rider on the cross country course's only stream crossing

A rider on the cross country course's only stream crossing
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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German national champion Moritz Milatz (BMC)

German national champion Moritz Milatz (BMC)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) takes a drop

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) takes a drop
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Sarah Kaufmann (NoTubes Women's Team)

Sarah Kaufmann (NoTubes Women's Team)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Riders on a steep climb

Riders on a steep climb
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Rocks and roots on course are typical of Mont-Sainte-Anne

Rocks and roots on course are typical of Mont-Sainte-Anne
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A look up to a climbing portion of the cross country course

A look up to a climbing portion of the cross country course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Some workers dial in the pump track

Some workers dial in the pump track
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Two Americans pre-ride the course

Two Americans pre-ride the course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Todd Wells leads Specialized teammate Burry Stander up and over the flyover.

Todd Wells leads Specialized teammate Burry Stander up and over the flyover.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC)

Stephen Ettinger (BMC)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The day before is the perfect time to practice some rock garden sections

The day before is the perfect time to practice some rock garden sections
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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A young Canadian rider practices her line

A young Canadian rider practices her line
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Kris Sneddon (Kona) on a pre-ride

Kris Sneddon (Kona) on a pre-ride
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized) was recently named to the Canadian Olympic team

Max Plaxton (Specialized) was recently named to the Canadian Olympic team
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) leads another rider on a bermy section

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) leads another rider on a bermy section
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC)

Stephen Ettinger (BMC)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Anton Cooper (Trek World Racing)

Anton Cooper (Trek World Racing)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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The cross country course twists around a lot in this section.

The cross country course twists around a lot in this section.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Christoph Sauser (Specialized) nails a quick downhill section of the cross country course

Christoph Sauser (Specialized) nails a quick downhill section of the cross country course
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek)

Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek)
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)
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Mont-Sainte-Anne is one of the most popular World Cup venues among cross country and downhill racers.

Mont-Sainte-Anne is one of the most popular World Cup venues among cross country and downhill racers.
(Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is making its first of two North American stops this weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

High heat and humidity made for a sweaty day of cross country pre-riding and downhill practice and qualifying on Friday.

"It's a little bit on the chilly side," joked Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) to Cyclingnews. "No, really I'm melting. It's been unseasonably cold and rainy in Missoula lately. I'm used to being wet when I ride, but not from my own sweat; rather from the rain."

Schultz, who was recently selected for the US Olympic team, is enjoying the always technical course at Mont-Sainte-Anne, which has hosted cross country World Cup or World Championship action every year but one in the past 20 years.

"It's like a full body workout out there. It'll be great to race," he said. "It's super fun. They changed things up a little bit. Where we had a gravel road climb before, we have full body technical climbing. The back stretch used to be more recovery in the past, but now it's full on. It's going to hurt out there, but if things are going well, it's going to be good."

Schultz's teammate Jeremy Horgan Kobelski shared his impressions of the course after pre-riding it. "This year, the course is hard. Physically it's more demanding than it has been. There are a couple more technical bits in there, mostly climbing," said JHK to Cyclingnews. "It feels like you can't ride anything easy out there. You have to be pushing just to make it through some of the sections smoothly. It's going to be hard tomorrow."

"There is more up and down and they routed one of the singletrack sections the opposite way. It used to be slightly downhill, so you had a lot of rest and you could get into the flow and recover, and now that part is all uphill. It feels like there is no rest anywhere. I feel like this race is always hard from start to finish, so maybe it will just be a bit more of a race of attrition than usual."

The cross country course is exceptionally dry, even covered with powdery dust in some places. An overnight shower would make conditions perfect, but only time will tell if the weather will cooperate.

"I like wet races here, but I feel comfortable either way, wet or dry, and I'll take whatever," said JHK.

Danny Hart (Giant), who was readying himself for qualifying, talked about the downhill course.

"I wasn't too keen on the top section. It's just a straight line like it was a few years ago. Once you get into it, it's good," said Hart to Cyclingnews. "We'll see who can stay off the brakes the most. It's getting rough now and it's dusty. It's good, and I really like it."

"I'd like to see a little rain overnight to pad down the dust, but not torrential rain. I like it like it is. It was a little like this at Worlds a few years ago when I got eighth in my first year as an elite. But last year, it rained and was wet."

The reigning world champion paused for moment, and said, "It's all the same track for everyone. We'll see who can go fastest down it."

In the attached gallery, Cyclingnews captures some of the action of day one.  Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage from Mont-Sainte-Anne.  The elite women will race four laps plus a start lap and the elite men will race five laps plus a start lap on Saturday while the downhill finals will happen on Sunday.