With this story, I don't want to replace or compete with the impressive Pinkbike photo epics from this type of venue. My intention is to give you another viewpoint from the how incredible this event was. Rather than based only on facts, this is a reflection, a personal observation that wants to give you a tale from the inside - where everything happened.
Once the World Cup season is over, riders and teams can finally focus on the most important race of the year. This is the race where riders could put an end of a good season or where riders could simply play with some magic and literally save the whole season with just three perfect minutes. This is a race that more than ever riders must have their brain prepared to handle with such pressure - doesn't matter if they have the power and the technique, if their mind isn't yet set, well... then forget about that, they're done!The bikepark style course with switchbacks following the cable car line until the lake.
First gold was for Valentina Holl, the golden lady from Austria who won the Junior Womens and once again confirmed her superior level of performance. It's clear to everyone that Valentina is on another level.
On the other side, the Junior Mens wasn't so easy to predict and a few riders could make it happen. There was the World Cup domination of Thibaut Daprela and Kye A'Hern, but Kade Edwards proved his dominance on this course. Elliot Jamieson was one of the big surprises of the day - from nowhere to Bronze.Kade knew every piece of rock here. He stopped multiple times to check and find new lines and every time he sent that with speed and perfection.These two dominated the whole year but today wasn't theirs.
Pretty similar with the Junior Women, the Elite Women had only a few possibilities for the medals but just one or two real contenders for the gold. If Rachel Atherton could put it together, then it was hers. Like our predictions, Rach smoked everyone by almost 10 seconds.Myriam Nicole came with a very solid and consistent performance through the entire venue.
No doubt that the Elite Mens' race was one of the most exciting races that I can remember, simply because this year we had so many new World Cup winners. The crowd was very divided guessing who could take the gold - I literally heard more than 10 different names. As we headed to the afternoon and the temperatures rising to what we can call a beautiful Swiss Alpine summer day, the crowd were going wild as the fastest riders started their path to glory.
Loic Bruni would end up taking another gold medal for the books.The Pope showed a very solid performance through all the venue, without any problem to report. Seemed that beside the tight finish times he had almost everything under control, or at least knew what he needed to win.Very disappointing day for Loris because everyone could see in his eyes that this kid was in it for the win. He was as consistent as his fellow Frenchmen during the whole weekend but simply the last section of the track took him from first to fourth. I'm sure that his time is going to come. Through the weekend Aaron Gwin was shown riding much and kept those secret lines for himself. 5th and just 1.3 seconds back - can you imagine a World Championship be more exciting than this, with the Top 10 separated by just 3 seconds.What a disappoint for Greg, clearly he wanted more than 8th place. He knew the recipe to win but wasn't able to put it together. Mr. Precision charged very hard during the event but he may not be 110% recovered from the injury.You could see in his eyes, how determined he was. Despite the bad luck and some crashes, he was the guy who did more runs than everyone. Definitely a true charger that deserves the glory.Dean Lucas and Jack Moir delivered some very good final runs.Despite all the effort and determination, Sick Mick and Blenki finished out of the Top 20.
With this one on the books, it's time to these heroes return to their home nations, rest and focus for what's next as we will continue to watch this season on replay until the next one knocks on our door.