Qualifying - Lenzerheide DH World Cup 2016

Jul 8, 2016
by Dave Trumpore  



No need to sugar coat things. It is rough and raw out there on the slopes of Lenzerheide, and when the clock started ticking away for real today things really started to get wild. While the track may look basic from afar, it really is a totally different monster up close. Even more so when you point a bike down it while racing the clock. After a sunbaked day of practice, the surface has completely come undone, and where there once was sculpted hardpack is now dust and loose rock of all sizes. Berms end in massive holes and inside lines are littered with marbles, giving rider after rider trouble as they try to push just a little harder each run.

No one said it's easy, and after a quick poll of the top ten, it seems as if no one really feels like they are going all that fast. Most claim to feel as if they are struggling to find flow, and are on the brakes almost the whole way down. That sounds quite remarkable considering that for those stood trackside, riders are coming past at speeds usually only seen at Fort William and Mont Sainte Anne. So whoever can conquer the combination of breakneck speed, shifting rocks, and the constant struggle to slow down will be the one who comes out on top here.

Sun beams and tram lines.
Sun beams and tram lines.

Only in the Junior field did things go to plan, or rather as expected. It was Finn Iles once again on top with the usual crew of French, British, and American youngsters hot on his heals. Times are tight, and with a track that forgives no mistakes, it is still very much up for grabs tomorrow. In the Women's we finally saw an end put to Rachel Atherton's recent dominance, even if only by a slim 0.4 seconds as Tahnee Seagrave took top honors in qualifying. Also in the mix for the first time this season is Myriam Nicole, who came 3rd in her first World Cup of the season to slide in just ahead of Tracey Hannah and Manon Carpenter.

On the men's side things got interesting right from the start as Aaron Gwin had a huge crash over The Plunge after running second at the first two splits, eventually finishing outside the top ten. The ever consistent Danny Hart took the opportunity to pounce and nailed home a scorching fast time to end the day at the top of the result sheet, while everyone's favorite loose Kiwi, George Brannigan, made quick work of the sketchiness to land in 2nd. We also saw a few other fresh faces up near the top, with Laurie Greenland and Adam Bryton showing well. Mikes Jones is in the mix, as well as Troy Brosnan, Connor Fearon, Brook MacDonald and Remi Thirion. In fact, times are so close that the top ten are only separated by a scant 3.5 seconds. So when you factor in Gwin and protected riders like Mick Hannah and Bernard Kerr, who had crashes or mechanicals, it's shaping up to be a big battle for tomorrow's podium.

Strap yourself in, hold on tight, and try not to blink. It's going to be a wild ride here in Lenzerheide tomorrow afternoon.


When things go wrong int he rock garden they often go really wrong.
When things go wrong in the rock garden, they often go very wrong.

Just waiting to be thrashed
Just waiting to be thrashed.

Matt Walker had a bit of a rough start today.
Matt Walker had a bit of a rough start today.

Rachel Atherton qualified second today but you can bet she will be on it for the winning run tomorrow.
Rachel Atherton qualified second today, but you can bet she will be on it for the winning run tomorrow.

Aaron Gwin had quite a ride today but it will be famous for very different reasons to usual. Talk about a must-watch crash...
Aaron Gwin had quite a ride today, but it will be famous for very different reasons than usual. Talk about a must-watch crash...

Finn Iles is once again the man to beat in the juniors.
Finn Iles is once again the man to beat in the juniors.

After going fastest in timed training yesterday Tracey Hannah could only manage 4th in qualis today.
After going fastest in timed training yesterday, Tracey Hannah could only manage 4th today.

Jack Moir drops into the steep and loose switchbacks.
Jack Moir drops into the steep and loose switchbacks.

Manon finished an uncharacteristic 5th today.
Manon finished an uncharacteristic 5th today.

Remi Thirion rounds out the top 10 just 3.5 seconds out of the lead.
Remi Thirion rounds out the top ten, just 3.5 seconds out of the lead.

Gee Atherton is send mode... today he was just 5 seconds back which put him in 14th.
Gee Atherton was just 5 seconds back, which put him in 14th.

Matt Walker cleans the sketchy Plunge for 5th place.
Matt Walker cleans the sketchy Plunge for 5th place.

Danny Hart on the long road to the top ahead of his qualie run.
Danny Hart on the long road to the top ahead of his qualifying run.

Carina Cappellari was solid once again taking 7th spot after a slow er beginning.
Carina Cappellari was solid once again, taking 7th spot after a slow(er) beginning.

Slovenian privateer Monica Hrastnik had the ride of her life today to land in 6th position in the women s.
Slovenian privateer, Monica Hrastnik, had the ride of her life today to land in 6th position.

Kenta Gallagher has proven he has what it takes to go far in DH this season and today he made the top 20 once again.
Kenta Gallagher has proven he has what it takes to go far in DH this season, and today he made the top twenty once again.

If Sam Dale didn t have bad luck he d have no luck at all. The number one plate came a-cropper once again this afternoon with an unfortunate flat up high.
If Sam Dale didn't have bad luck he'd have no luck at all.

A flat tire and eventually a damaged rim ended Mick Hannah s day but if the results from yesterday s timed training are any clue we d say he s right in the thick of it.
A flat tire and eventually a damaged rim ended Mick Hannah's day, but if the results from yesterday's timed training are any clue, we'd say he's right in the thick of it.

George Brannigan loves these loose conditions and is right at home drifting around high speed corners on the inside lines.
George Brannigan loves these loose conditions and is right at home drifting around high-speed corners on the inside lines.

Rachel made a huge mistake and almost ended here day in the second corner then made another one dropping into this steep chute. Definitely not the type of run she want s to be having when it all counts tomorrow.
Rachel made a huge mistake and almost ended her day in the second corner, then made another one dropping into this steep chute. Definitely not the type of run she wants to be having when it all counts tomorrow.

On top of the the result sheet for Tahnee Seagrave today.
On top of the result sheet for Tahnee Seagrave today.

Morgane Charr has a nasty crash over the Plunge.
Morgane Charr had a nasty crash over the Plunge.

As did Emilie Siegenthaler.
As did Emilie Siegenthaler. We are told she'll be ready for tomorrow.

First WC race of the year and Myriam Nicole goes 3rd in qualis.
First World Cup race of the year and Myriam Nicole goes 3rd in qualifying.

Troy Brosnan slipping and sliding into 6th.
Troy Brosnan slipping and sliding into 6th.

Last years winner Greg Minnar moster trucks through this rowdy high line on his way to 3rd
Last year's winner Greg Minnaar monster trucks through this rowdy high line on his way to 3rd.

Backing up his podium on Fort William Adam Brayton needed the day in 7th.
Backing up his podium on Fort William, Adam Brayton finished the day in 7th.

Barnard Kerr had a bit of trouble in his run but as a protected rider will still make it through to the finals.
Bernard Kerr had a bit of trouble in his run, but as a protected rider will still make it through to the finals.

What a run form Danny Hart to take the top spot today.
What a run from Danny Hart to take the top spot today.

First year Elite Laurie Greenland is making his young presence known this season with a 5th in qualifying.
First year Elite, Laurie Greenland, is making his young presence known this season with a 5th in qualifying.

Elliot Heap not having any troubles out there in the rough stuff. Heap qualified third.
Elliot Heap not having any troubles out there in the rough stuff. Heap qualified 3rd.

Andrew Neethling has been looking fast this week. If he tidies things up he could do well tomorrow.
A big crash today means no finals for Alex Fayolle.

Mark Wallace pointing and shooting his way to 13th in qualifying.
Mark Wallace pointing and shooting his way to 13th in qualifying.

Sam Hill sending it through the tall pines and sunshine.
Sam Hill sending it through the tall pines and sunshine.

The old guard and the new... Greenland and Peaty talk lines in the woods.
The old guard and the new... Greenland and Peaty talk lines in the woods.

Connor Fearon hit 3rd at the top split but ended up settling for 9th on the day.
Connor Fearon hit 3rd at the top split but ended up settling for 9th on the day.

Manon Carpenter taking The Plunge to qualify fifth.
Manon Carpenter taking The Plunge to qualify fifth.

Myriam Niocle was cool as a cucumber this morning before practice.
Myriam Nicole was cool as a cucumber during this morning before practice.

Laurie Greenland had a bang on day. He qualified fifth.
Laurie Greenland had a bang-on day and qualified fifth.

Bull Dog teaching the roots a lesson on his way to an 8th place finish.
Bull Dog teaching the roots a lesson on his way to an 8th place qualifying position.

Blenki diving into the lower section of the track.
Blenki diving into the lower section of the track.

Union break. It s good for life.
Union break. It's good for life.

Wheels they are in high demand today. All the mechanics were busy building them today.
Wheels are in high demand today, and all of the mechanics were busy building them.

After a hard day fixing broken this that and the other it s time for the mechanics to enjoy a beer.
After a hard day fixing broken this, that, and the other, it's time for the mechanics to enjoy a beer.

Nate getting the low down for all you tech heads out there.
Nate getting the low-down for all you tech heads out there.

Danny Hart was on it today. He slayed the steeps to qualify first.
Danny Hart was on it today. He slayed the steeps to qualify first.

Mike Jones running through light and shadow to a fourth place qualification result.
Mike Jones running through light and shadow to a fourth place qualification result.

Adam Brayton hucking his way to seventh place. Brayton is super fit and looking to repeat his Fort Bill success.
Adam Brayton hucking his way to seventh place. Brayton is super fit, and looking to repeat his Fort Bill success.

Greg Minnaar. What can we say Absolutely killing it. Third place in qualis.
Greg Minnaar. What can we say? Absolutely killing it. Third place in qualifying.

This man. George Brannigan stoked on the day as well he should be.
This man. George Brannigan stoked on the day, as well he should be.

Gotta keep them wheels a rollin .
Gotta keep them wheels a rollin'.

Final prep for Rachel Atherton s Trek Session.
Final prep for Rachel Atherton's Trek Session.

Nik Nestoroff kept in consistent with another 4th in Juniors.
Nik Nestoroff kept it consistent with another 4th in Juniors.

Markus Pekoll going full huck on the gnarly rock garden gap.
Markus Pekoll going full-huck on the gnarly rock garden gap.

Greg Williamson unfortunately had a mechanical on his run but will be on the hunt for his first podium tomorrow as a protected rider.
Greg Williamson had a mechanical on his run but will be on the hunt for his first podium tomorrow as a protected rider.

And people only get excited for his skills when it rains... Dan s on it this year whatever s going on overhead..
And people only get excited for his skills when it rains... Dan's on it this year, regardless of what's going on overhead.

What a ride for George Brannigan.
What a ride for George Brannigan.

Brook MacDonald has had a rough weekend but muscled through for 8th.
Brook MacDonald has had a rough weekend but muscled through for 8th.

Eliot Jackson all smiles and laughs with his mates after making it through to the finals on a rough and blown out track.
Eliot Jackson is all smiles and laughs with his mates after making it through to the finals on a rough and blown out track.

Could Tahnee be the one to end Rachel s 10 race wining streak
Could Tahnee be the one to end Rachel's ten-race winning streak?

Even without Loic Bruni the Specialized Gravity Republic is getting by just fine in the overall rankings with Finn and Loris.
Even without Loic Bruni, the Specialized Gravity Republic is getting by just fine in the overall rankings with Finn and Loris.

Will anyone be able to take this number plate off of Finn Iles bike
Will anyone be able to take this number plate off of Finn Iles' bike?

Loose and blown out tracks often call for some cut down mud spikes as riders try to find grip on the hardback below.
Loose and blown out tracks often call for some cut-down mud spikes as riders try to find grip on the hardpack below.

Get. Refreshed. Kolia Schmidtt helping the cool down process at the Fox pit.
Get refreshed. Kolia Schmidtt helping the cool down process in the Fox pits.

Dougie Fresh works away on Ratboy s ride before the big day.
Dougie Fresh works away on Ratboy's ride before the big day.

For only the second time in his career Danny Hart qualifies in pole position ready for the biggest dry race of his life.
For only the second time in his career, Danny Hart qualifies in pole position and is ready for the biggest (dry) race of his life.

Lots of ice was being passed around the pits after todays battle.
Lots of ice was being passed around the pits after today's battle.

It s been rough one for bikes and mechanics as well this week.
It's been a rough one for bikes and mechanics as well this week.

Minnaar and Shaw head to the beach after a hard day at the office.
Minnaar and Shaw head to the beach after a hard day at the office.


MENTIONS: @davetrump / @natedh9 / @mdelorme




79 Comments

  • + 120
 lets cut to the chase, adam brayton qualifying in 7th, after tearing apart fort william in what was an absolutely crazy podium run is just awesome. He's is the heart and sole of DH. I mean that dude busted his ass for years, on what i would imagine was a pretty meager budget. And with every ounce of mental and physical will power in his body he lays it all on the line in fort bill and claims 4th. And then in his interview he says. " honestly dude theirs was no skill involved it was just pure strength". I mean that's the funniest shit ive ever heard, I cracked up. Adam your the man, and i hope you absolutely kill it on sunday.
  • + 21
 There are few people left who appropriately represent what downhill should be (and was 15 years ago) and Adam is definitely one of them
  • + 4
 Where did he say that line, gotta see it!
  • - 40
flag scott-townes (Jul 8, 2016 at 19:41) (Below Threshold)
 Whose Adam Brayton? Is he like Aaron Gwin's cousin or something?
  • + 2
 @xTwoSnakesx: I think it was in a Wyn TV
  • + 6
 Big team contract for him next year? Got to happen.
  • + 3
 @racer06: can't see him leaving hope though.. they seem pretty tight
  • + 2
 you're never in any doubt watching the kestrel that he's leaving anything out there are you, absolutely ripping it. #gastoflat
  • + 5
 I read in a dirt mag interview some years ago that he made electrician worker by winter time to pay for wc season..Adam is the man and totally deserves it..
  • + 1
 The Kestrel (best name ever) has battled his way there alright www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew79QZAo_mU
  • + 1
 My buddy and I rode the lift with him at windham last year and he's such a nice dude also. Wish him the best of luck today should be a fun race!
  • + 38
 I feel like, when Danny finally wins, he'll start winning a lot. He's been flirting with it for years now.
  • + 5
 As the tracks get m more difficult and the speeds get higher the better he does. They say he is a steep specialist but I also think he's a high speed specialist too
  • + 1
 I think you are right! Not that he was slow before, but he's looked extra dangerous ever since jumping on that Mondraker.
  • + 1
 @Creg: not that looks make a bike faster but, I think the Mondraker is one of the best looking bikes out right now. But that's just my opinion.
  • + 1
 Ok, there it is. Let's see if I'm right.
  • + 27
 You guys watch that Gwin crash?! Holy S**T that guy's balls must hang so low they drag the ground.
  • + 12
 Took it like an absolute champ. Prepared as best as he could and sent it. Massive high five up top to the Gwizz
  • + 8
 @RedBurn: Can't believe the spectators are laughing! They should be encouraging the riders! Go Gwin!!
  • + 5
 Surprised they're still attached.
  • - 1
 @MTB-Colada: Its pretty damned entertaining, that's for sure, haha.
  • + 10
 Who the f*ck heel clicks DURING a wreck???? Gwin. That's who.
  • + 3
 @MTB-Colada: kind of agree, but they are called "hecklers," eh?
  • + 7
 @MTB-Colada: Unfortunately that's the attitude of many in this country. They will laugh at other's imperfections while they themselves do absolutely nothing for fear of being laughed at. It paralyzes people to the point of acting like robots who all run on the same program (windows) and then they wonder why so many expats are hired in creative, think out side the box kind of jobs. We call them Bunzli and its a mental illness that affects 70% of the Swiss population with Zurich as the Capital of Bunzli land.
  • + 1
 @RedBurn: Insane Crash... that was a funny blooper not more...
  • + 2
 @MTB-Colada: It's laughter of disbelief
  • + 26
 You photographers really prove that photography is not just about pressing a button. Killer stuff, ya'll.
  • + 25
 Tahnee Seagrave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • - 23
flag anchoricex (Jul 8, 2016 at 17:02) (Below Threshold)
 This is why I'm excited. Really hoping to see her take 1st, she's my favorite female rider to follow, really really good sport. TAHNEE IF YOU'RE READING THIS CAN WE GO ON A DATE
  • + 3
 I want to believe her potential is greater than rachael's ever was. Taking nothing from how bad ass rachael atherton is of course. This girl is just a monster. I love seeing transition bikes give a large company like trek some super solid competition in this segment.
  • - 6
flag anchoricex (Jul 8, 2016 at 17:45) (Below Threshold)
 @Jobedo: I give the athertons a lot of shit for not being the kind of mountain bikers I like, mostly because of Gee/Dan... but I will not deny that Rach is absolutey savage at what she does. Quite frankly I'm glad the bar is where it is because of where Rach has set it. I'll also add that Rach is the only Atherton I like. Tahnee is still very young and I'm SO thrilled that Transition stepped into DH with her and Kaos. Such a sweet combo, the TR500 is a badass bike and I love watching Tahnee crush on it. Rachel even posted that she expected Tahnee to eventually grow to dethrone her in time.
  • + 7
 @anchoricex: Do you know the athertons well do you?

Rach is a boss, simple
  • - 1
 @russthedog: Did you even read my post? You know, the multiple parts where I mentioned that Rach is a savage at biking, and that she's the only Atherton I like? I'm allowed to dislike the rest of the clan.
  • - 1
 @russthedog: Are you still not reading my comments?
  • - 2
 @russthedog: So I don't need to remind you that I've stated MULTIPLE times that I *LIKE* Rachel. Or did that still go over your head? Got it? Jesus christ.
  • + 1
 @anchoricex: Obviously desperate and wasting my time
  • - 2
 @russthedog: lol, yeah. Thought so. Next time read slowly, you f*cking moron.
  • + 19
 Damn, Shaw is probably heading to the Syndicate
  • + 5
 Either that or its just Greg being the top bloke he is. He always gives time to the younger riders for advice etc, he is such a nice guy honestly couldn't think of a better dude to be GOAT of our sport.
  • + 14
 downhill mtb has robbed me of the ability to care about other professional sports i look at the first sequence of the rider laying it down in the rock garden and i know that the rider got up and pushed on how am i supposed to sit and watch chris paul or anderson varejao or any of the world cup soccer players flop about feigning injury for an advantage and give a shit, when there are real athletes like this laying it all on the line for love of the game
  • + 9
 Danny Hart is actually DISQUALIFIED because of the visible gap between the top of his knee pad and the bottom of his shorts. Clean it up, Danny
  • + 9
 Laurie Greenland well on his way to making it as the midget with the little digit!!
  • + 4
 The boys got energy. Always looks super amped just to be part of the days racing. Not to mention absolutely spankin it!! Liking him more and more!!
  • + 6
 Troy Brosnan and the Giant Mechanic gotta be related!
  • + 2
 I thought it was Troy at first glance haha
  • + 6
 GO MYRIAM NICOLE!!!
  • + 3
 5:30 am race start here on the west coast and the beer will be cold. Lets get this thing started!!!
  • + 2
 I've been making ice all night just to be sure!
  • + 2
 @wuttupausten: What a race! Now I'm buzzed at 8 am on Saturday and I'm not even in Vegas or Cabo.
  • + 0
 I've gotta be honest how does Danny Hart look so cool on a bike yet come across in interviews as the most boring man on the planet. How is that even possible?

On another note though: Tahnee and Pompom are both back. The women's race just got a whole lot more exciting
  • + 2
 Ha ha, certainly every photo of him is unreal, style for miles. He doesn't get interviewed that much so it might also be we just don't see too much of him
  • + 1
 @russthedog: I don't think any one looks cooler on a bike
  • + 2
 He expresses himself through dance, erm I mean bikes. He, he whips his bike back and forth
  • + 1
 Amazing photos! You guys just keep elevating the bar, thank you and keep doing what you do! Smile
  • + 3
 So many killer pics!
  • + 2
 Nice coverage once again. Well done.
  • + 1
 How does a rider become protected just encase they place outside the top 80?
  • + 1
 I think top 30 riders are protected no?
Based on points
  • + 6
 @pav4: Top 20 are protected.
  • + 2
 Awesome shots nathan!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 Where can I see Aaron's crash?
  • + 4
 @citizensnips: thank you very much.
  • + 3
 This man is a true badass! (Gwin)
  • + 1
 Is anyone else not able to watch the race on redbull? It keeps telling me there's been an "Application Error"? HELP!!!
  • + 1
 Can't wait to see this race.
  • + 1
 ill back first time winners this weekend
  • + 1
 The second last photo is good ammunition for the gear box brigade.
  • + 1
 some rocks in the rock garden are bigger than 29'' wheels
  • - 2
 Morgane charr and Danny hart look like the same person
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