This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting mountain bike seasons yet! Hazardous weather conditions, Rachel Atherton’s injury and the ‘wagon 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. Get your ticket online!
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?
“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.” – Brendan Fairclough (GBR)
“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).” – Loris Vergier (FRA)
Hannah, Seagrave or Atherton? – Modified sections on the STRAIGHTline
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 for 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.
“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.” – Tahnée Seagrave (GBR)
“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.” – Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI)
Will Nino win again? – Additional track length and new possibilities to overtake
Olympic gold medalist Nino Schurter will be returning to a home track and crowd on Sunday, July 10. The Swiss national has been pressured by his opposition in the first races of the season, but did not let himself be deterred and won both in Nove Mesto and Albstadt. While Schurter is dominating the Men’s Elite, the Women Elite category has seen two different winners so far. 24-year-old Yana Belomoina became the first Ukrainian athlete to ever win a World Cup race and also leads in the overall standings. But it is a close call: only 80 points separate her from four others: Maja Wloszczowska (POL), Annika Langvad (DEN), Sabine Spitz (GER) and Linda Indergand (SUI). Indergand will be looking to impress in front of the Swiss supporters and will have 500m more track and additional opportunities to overtake to do so this year. The new loop includes more rock sections, a drop, and a 40 meter long, 22% incline.
Bike Festival with lots of Side Events – E-MTB, Full Gas World Cup Party and DEATHGRIP
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Lenzerheide has plenty more on offer for the thousands of visitors. The Full Gas World Cup Party will bring the stoke off the track to the dance floor on Friday and Saturday. All visitors can also take a closer look at the bikes and pits of pro teams in the Bike Arena and see what the mechanics and athletes are up to. There will also be a FLYER E-MTB Challenge at the E-MTB Center next to the Santa Cruz Corner and a Speed Challenge at the stand of Polar Cycling Computers in the Expo Area for those who also feel the need for speed. Bike fans can also look forward to an all-new Bike Movie Night on Saturday from 9pm. The showing includes the Trail Tales episodes by RIDE Magazine and 53 minutes of pure shredding action during DEATHGRIP the new film by Clay Porter and Brendan Fairclough, which also features superstars like Brandon Semenuk and Josh Bryceland.