This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting mountain bike seasons yet! Hazardous weather conditions, Rachel Atherton’s injury and the «waggon wheel» discussion have mixed up the downhill competition while the cross-country races have witnessed surprising winners in the Women Elite and have seen Swiss rider Nino Schurter dominating the Men Elite category. All of this means, we can look forward to some really exciting race action in Lenzerheide from July 7-9 during the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano
Dominance in Downhill is so 2016 – It’s all about tight racing for the titles in 2017
The competition for the Downhill World Cup Title is closer than ever before! Both Aaron Gwin (USA) and Tahnée Seagrave (GBR) secured their first World Cup wins of the season in Leogang and closed in on the leading athletes in their respective categories. Gwin is homing in on the top spot, which is currently held by 35-year-old Greg Minnaar (RSA). Danny Hart (GBR), who won his first ever World Cup race in Lenzerheide last year and bears the rainbow striped jersey of the reigning World Champion, has been extremely unlucky so far: bad weather, a crash and a mechanical have prevented him from making his mark this season. Maybe Lenzerheide will be a good omen for the rest of his season?
Brendan Fairclough (GBR):
«Lenzerheide is an amazing location with the lake right there. The triple jump line is a difficult one. I haven’t done it in a while. Some guys try it every year, others snap their bikes trying. It’s always great to have cross-country there as well because the pits are full and it is more of a spectacle.»
Loris Vergier (FRA):
«I think Lenzerheide is pretty difficult because the dust appears very quickly. The jumps are amazing. Otherwise, I think it is cool with more spectators. Downhill fans are solely there for downhill, but when cross-country is also happening, there are more girls around (laughs).»
Hannah, Seagrave or Atherton?
Tahnée Seagrave didn’t only get her first win of the season in Leogang, it was also the first World Cup win of her young career. The 22-year-old is hot on the heels of Tracey Hannah (AUS), although the Australian has been nearly unstoppable this season, racing to the podium at every World Cup stop. Normally you would expect to see Rachel Atherton’s name appear on the top of the table, but the 29-year-old has to play catch-up now due to a shoulder injury sustained in Fort William. The Brit will most certainly be back on the track in Lenzerheide and will be gunning to be the fastest to cross the finish line. Talking about the finish: the final track section and other parts will be remodeled in preparation of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2018. The world’s fastest downhill athletes will be confronted with quick bends and a 4-meter-high drop leading into the finish coral after the «Ochsner Sport Cabin Hit». The start will also have a different look and feel to it due to a more direct route without the wide, steep berms – similar to 2015 – and a small rock garden. The skill of the riders will also be challenged in the run-up to «Tschäffs Plunge». This section of the «STRAIGHTline» will not be as direct, has more curves and will be more technical before the tricky plunge in the woods.
Tahnée Seagrave (GBR):
«I did really well in Lenzerheide last year. Each track is very different and Lenzerheide has its ups. I just like fast tracks, I like jumps and I like tracks that are good fun. Saying that, I do prefer tracks, that scare me a little bit as well.»
Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI):
«I want to build up my confidence for Lenzerheide at Crankworx. I can’t wait to go as fast as I can in front of a home crowd. It is obviously a special race for me. I got into the top 5 last year and maybe I can achieve a bit more this year. I am going to try my best and do it for the fans.»