Fan Perspective on the Lenzerheide World Champs

Sep 15, 2018
by João Fânzeres  


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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The place where a dream starts or where a nightmare is over.


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.

Vali passing through the rock garden with confidence and precision just before the sunrise.


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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Anywhere on the track we could see that the pace of this kid was on a higher level.

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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Anyone in the Top 10 could literally have glided into Silver or Bronze.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
These two dominated the whole year but today wasn't theirs.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Mitas Wall was one of the key sections where the ones who managed to keep the momentum and build speed succeeded.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Stylin.


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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
She knew that everything was under control.

While others were taking precautions on the rock garden, Rachel was flying flat out.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Tahnée Seagrave chose to play it safe and beside fast, rode very controlled during the event. This approach took Tahnée on a line choice that's unusual for her - apparently slower lines.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Myriam Nicole came with a very solid and consistent performance through the entire venue.

The defending World Champion Miranda Miller - efficient and controlled but wasn't fast enough to compete with the top girls.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Tracey Hannah came with a consistent run but 5 seconds off pace from the podium.
UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The end of Cecile Ravanel's hope for a medal.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - Awards Ceremony
In the end they were proud of their achievements.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - Awards Ceremony
We had sweat, tears and champagne.


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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Loic Bruni 10 seconds away from his third World Championship gold medal. It's amazing that when there're medals on the table Loic seems far more consistent and precise in every section.

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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Martin Maes mind riding the course and getting everything dialled just a few moments before flying to silver.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Martins came "for the Enduro Spirit" and proved to all of us that the last World Cup win wasn't a mistake. Beside his mechanical problems on the qualifying and some health issues the morning of the race, he managed to ride to second place. I believe that this young rider is a step ahead of others and will bring new things to how we see, prepare and compete in the downhill racing. Definitely we have to look more to the other disciplines of mountain biking because they're all connected and only together they will envolve individually.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
There's no surprise that Danny Hart is a contender at World Chmps. He made everyone scream with joy in last year's race at this venue and is a strong candidate for the medals with a bit of luck, bad weather and rough track. This time, a few meters of pace put him in third.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Gwin has the pace and the ability to fly super low but wasn't enough for the gold that he truly deserves.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Luca Shaw on a solid performance to 6th place. Isn't the best that he's done but for a World Champs and with such huge pressure on everyone, it is a very good result.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Laurie Greenland came steady and not so wild as we're used to seeing, but still had a good run.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
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.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
This guy has delivered consistently for many years and it's impossible no to count Brosnan as a medal contender.

Very, very hard weekend for Amaury Pierron. He was only for the gold and nothing more.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
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.

Another crash on his race run ended his dreams of being World Champion and World Cup champion.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Dean Lucas and Jack Moir delivered some very good final runs.

The young Finn Iles confirmed once again why he is the future of our sport, and with style.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The medal for the best privateer goes to Magnus Manson who finished in the Top 20.

Magnus Manson on a crucial section before the Motorex Plunge. This was another key section where riders had to predict how the track would change on the next run. The roots and braking bumps appeared everywhere and they could take you down in a blink of an eye.
Laurie Greenland pointing to the ever-changing first roots section.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Good things will come to this young rider.

Alex Marin keeping it low and fast to Top 20.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Francisco Pardal - one of the big surprises of the day.

Definitely felt like a podium for Francisco Pardal, who conquered his best result and best Portuguese result at a Downhill World Championship.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The track suited him and the result came as a result. One to remember.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Fully recovered from the Fort William injury and attacking the rock garden to 24th place.
UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Very similar line choice on the race run from Emanuel Pombo to his fellow Francisco Pardal.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
On the other side of the Portuguese nation was Emanuel Pombo.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Despite all the effort and determination, Sick Mick and Blenki finished out of the Top 20.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The young Irishman Jacob Dickson putting it all together for a solid run.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Andreas Kolb pointing and shooting the rock garden very easily. The Swiss athletes were the most applauded by the 20,000 fans but after them, the Austrian and the French riders were also cheered on very loudly.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Angel Suarez Alonso was on Aaron's pace every single run in every section but some bad luck on the final run took him from a possible podium to 38th. If Angel finds some consistency on his riding, I'm sure that he will be a tremendous threat for the top riders.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
I bet Brook Macdonald was wishing his race run was his timed training run two days earlier.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The Bulldog couldn't replicate his time from Friday and battle for the win.

I was hoping to see some Wyn wheelie this turn at 60 km/h.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
The Canadian Henry Fitzgerald on the second turn of the track.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - FINALS
Despite a huge crash on the first day, Vasco Bica found the way to a good and steady finish time.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - Awards Ceremony
The heroes of the day.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - Awards Ceremony
Pour la France!
UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - Awards Ceremony
Like in Elite Women's, we had sweat, tears, and champagne to celebrate.

UCI Downhill World Champs 2018 - Awards Ceremony
That's it... the Golden Pope, Period!


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.

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14 Comments

  • + 13
 it's as good as the PinkBike race report keep going caralho!
  • + 6
 Really well put together article João.. keep at it for next season.
Beer
  • + 4
 Fantástico João, é realmente uma outra perspectiva do "World Championship"!
Cheers mate!!
  • + 3
 Brook like Luca, it's not if but when it explodes in the finals.
  • + 3
 Hey @pinkbike, here's your new photog. Rad shots dude.
  • + 2
 Thanks by the words @Dudeclimbsrocks! With or without Pinkbike will be there next season to bring us more a diverse content Wink
  • + 3
 Excelente trabalho Wink siga em frente
  • + 2
 altíssimo nível de fotos!
  • + 3
 Muito bom! Good Job!
  • + 2
 ????impec!! Awesome job!!????????????
  • + 1
 Boa meu, grandes fotos e grande experiência que deve ter sido. Congrats!
  • + 1
 Obrigado pela partilha. Excelentes fotos.
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