Update 1pm 4th August:
Flippin heck, Rachel is nails! She’s put down a qualifying run, which is enough to get her through to finals tomorrow.
Both Rachel and Nina Hoffman were protected riders, meaning that as long as they put a run in for qualifiers, they’d get to race finals. In fact, because there are fewer than 40 women riding all those that completed a qualifying run get through to finals.
We’re hoping Nina and Rachel were both putting in a ‘tick the box’ run, ignoring the time, to give them maximum time to recover. It would be great to see them both on the start ramp for finals.
Vali Holl was fastest in qualification, with Tahnee Seagrave in second. Hot tip for a surprise win, Harriet Harnden, is in sixth. It’s all hotting up for a great final.
Update 7.30pm 3rd Aug, at the end of the article
It’s still only practice, but it looks like Fort William has already claimed some favourites. We’re hearing that Rachel Atherton dislocated her shoulder on the motorway section and has since been spotted in a sling and dodging interviewers.
It wouldn’t be the first time Fort William claimed Rachel’s shoulder – back in 2017 it popped out in a crash and she put it back in on the trail. Gulp. She’s said before that her shoulders are weak, having had them dislocated on more than one occasion, so it’s got to be one of the injuries she knows she’s at risk of getting again.
Sad times, we hope our sources are wrong, but we wouldn’t be publishing this if we didn’t trust that it was true!
Nina Hoffman is also thought to have had a crash and be in doubt for race day.
More if/when we hear it. Live timing action can be followed here, handy for bits that aren’t on TV.
Rachel has taken to Instagram to confirm the news:
😣 I dislocated my shoulder in my first run this morning 😫😳 I came short on one of the middle jumps at the bottom: I cleared the first few, even cleared the big one and thought “oh sweet” so I just tucked and didn’t pedal and cased the next one, I love a good pencil 😬 and as my front wheel slapped down the force just must’ve gone to my dodgy shoulder wrong & it popped out the bottom,
I didn’t even crash I just felt the pain & rolled the next jump thinking OH MY GOD my shoulder ,
then jumped off my bike swearing & trying to get it back in, my fingers went into the socket so I knew It was out
exactly same as last time here in 2017, I thought NOT AGAIN as I stood on my hand and pulled like fuck to try to relocate it, i felt it move back but it still felt awful so I didn’t know if it was in or not,
Pissed off I didn’t have my @gopro on yet to film it again 😮💨😂
then @nina.hoff96 was there and she helped pull, but we think it was back in place by then 😣😣😣
Thanks so much Nina ❤️love ya.hope your head is ok 😳
Gutted doesn’t come close. So Devastated.
So Pissed off.
It’s Too painful to really consider trying to ride but maybe there will be a miracle overnight 🥷😮💨 @gee_atherton thinks I’ll be fine!!!!
I walked down with the medics & saw my brothers who’d come to find me, I hadn’t even seen them yet at this race & I was already injured 😣sorry bros ❤️
After many many tears of frustration I can smile again.
This sport is so addictive but the injuries make you question everything. Your whole life choices come into question!
I can’t seem to find a peaceful way thru this life, the things i love also seem to bring the most pain & suffering but without them I feel lost.
Got my new T shirts tho & I love em, hope you like them & want to wear them! I’ll show you tomorrow 🥰
As Rachel mentions there, and we’d heard in rumours, Nina Hoffman hit her head in practice. She’s waiting it out to see if she’s fit to ride tomorrow:
Obviously not what I want to share after a few sweet runs this morning… Ended my last practice run head down on the floor. Heavy crash on the back of my head and I‘m not sure if I‘m gonna ride tomorrow. The doc gave green lights today but we‘re deciding what we gonna do after a night of sleep. Fingers crossed no concussion symptoms develop – I‘m fine for now!
Oof. Hope to see everyone else safely across the finish line tomorrow.
While you’re here…
NEW! Singletrack Resort Guides
Whistler: A Singletrack Destination Guide
Innsbruck | MTB Resort Guide
Graubünden | Singletrack Magazine Destination Guide
Try Singletrack digital membership for only 99p for the first month.
Or only £2.99 with a copy of the latest Singletrack magazine, worth £10.