Round Seven, Bike Park No Longer
Underestimate it at your peril.
Despite only being on the World Cup circuit for four years, Lenzerheide has seen some significant changes over the years. First designed with help from Steve Peat and Claudio Caluori, the track has morphed from a machine-built bike park bore into something far more challenging. A loose, marbley surface, and deeply eroded track mean the rocks have come to the surface and there's a good helping of technicality to go along with the high speeds. This is a track that now requires some serious thought and evidence of that comes from the fact that this track favors the more experienced riders - Greg Minnaar and Rachel Atherton have taken the most wins here and the average age of the top ten here last year being higher than all the World Cup rounds apart from the new tracks - Losinj and La Bresse.
Looking back through history, this track has seen some classic races including a near 10-second destruction from Rachel Atherton, Danny Hart's first-ever World Cup victory and Greg Minnaar's record-extending 22nd, and most recent, World Cup win. Let's hope for another momentous weekend this weekend in Switzerland, here's everything you need to know to get up to speed:
Coming straight after Val di Sole, the Lenzerheide track might actually suit the 'snake' moniker better. Tightly wound switchbacks weave down the open face of the mountain while riders slither over the loose, gravelly surface. Lenzerheide is a trap for the unwary and after four annual batterings, it's far from a simple bikepark anymore.
The two sections that tend to get the most attention are the rock garden near the start and The Plunge, a slow speed drop in the lower woods. These two features have ended many a race run at previous weekends here but they will only lose you the race, not win it. Instead, precision and accuracy through the many nadgery turns and will allow for the greatest exit speed and a much faster race run.
Last year we saw a new loam section cut in for the World Championships and we've seen pictures of another one cut in for this year too. The woods here have always offered so much potential and it's great to see it being mined after four years of visiting here.
2018 // Loic BRUNI // FRA*
2017 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2016 // Danny HART // GBR
2015 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2018 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR*
2017 // Myriam NICOLE // FRA
2016 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2015 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
Note, * denotes a World Championship.
What Happened in 2018?
Last year Lenzerheide hosted the World Championships which meant custom kits and bikes were out in force. It also meant the racers came here in September, not high summer as normal, with a season of racing in their legs and the constant pressure of the World Cup replaced by a one-run, leave it all on the hill, style race.
After a season disrupted by injury, Loic Bruni got his first win of the year and his third year in the rainbow stripes. Martin Maes, fresh off humbling the World Cup field in La Bresse, nearly did it again, just 0.2 back. Hart and Vergier were also within a second of Bruni, for one of the tightest World Champs races ever.
The opposite was true in the women's race as Rachel Atherton put the field to the sword in her last race on Trek Factory Racing. Only Tahnee could get within ten seconds of Rachel, who claimed her fifth World Championship title.
1. BRUNI Loic 2:55.114
2. MAES Martin +0.213
3. HART Danny +0.305
4. VERGIER Loris +0.749
5. GWIN Aaron +1.341
1. ATHERTON Rachel 3:15.738
2. SEAGRAVE Tahnee +9.983
3. NICOLE Myriam +10.676
4. CABIROU Marine +15.963
5. HANNAH Tracey +15.966
What Happened at the Last Round?
The Val di Sole track was at its most vicious and a downpour in qualifying really shook things up. On race day, we saw four first time World Cup winners - Marine Cabirou, Laurie Greenland, Mille Johnset and Tuhoto-Ariki Pene.
1st. Laurie Greenland: 3:37.819
2nd. Loic Bruni: +2.854
3rd. Loris Vergier: +4.882
4th. Amaury Pierron: +5.167
5th. Danny Hart: +6.849
6th. David Trummer: +6.923
7th. Greg Minnaar: +7.170
8th. Remi Thirion: +7.318
9th. Baptiste Pierron: +7.651
10th. Troy Brosnan: +8.021
1st. Marine Cabirou: 4:25.790
2nd. Tracey Hannah: +11.776
3rd. Camille Balanche: +18.324
4th. Veronika Widmann: +20.522
5th. Emilie Siegenthaler: +26.593
6th. Kate Weatherly: +28.123
7th. Monika Hrastnik: +28.802
8th. Eleonora Farina: +30.699
9th. Melanie Chappaz: +32.181
10th. Carina Cappellari: +35.691
1st // Loic BRUNI // FRA // 1132
2nd // Amaury PIERRON // FRA // 1000
3rd // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 939
4th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 754
5th // Danny HART // GBR // 723
6th // Laurie GREENLAND // GBR // 636
7th // Greg MINNAAR // RSA // 596
8th // Brook MACDONALD // NZL // 446
9th // Mark WALLACE // CAN // 419
10th // David TRUMMER // AUT // 407
1st // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 1250
2nd // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 1080
3rd // Nina HOFFMANN // GER // 739
4th // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR // 730
5th // Veronika WIDMANN // ITA // 669
6th // Kate WEATHERLY // NZL // 559
7th // Mariana SALAZAR // ESA // 493
8th // Camille BALANCHE // SUI // 486
9th // Eleonora FARINA // ITA // 465
10th // Emilie SIEGENTHALER // SUI // 452
We could be in for another wet one with storms forecast all weekend in Lenzerheide
Thursday, Aug 8
- Timed TrainingIntervals of clouds and sunshine, a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 20°C // 60% precipitation, 5mm // wind 7km/hFriday, Aug 9
- QualifyingIntervals of clouds and sunshine, very warm; a thunderstorm around in the afternoon // 25°C // 40% precipitation, 1mm // wind 7km/hSaturday, Aug 10
- FinalsSunshine and some clouds, a shower or thunderstorm; warm // 24°C // 56% precipitation, 3mm // wind 7km/h
Weather forecast from Accuweather
as of Wednesday August 7.
The ScheduleThursday, Aug 8
• 08:30-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 12:00-15:15 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 15:30-17:00 // Downhill Timed Training Session
• 17:00-17:45 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and TeamsFriday Aug 9
• 08:30-10:00 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 10:15-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 12:15 // Seeding Run - Junior Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying Round - Junior Men
• 13:30 // Qualifying Round - Elite Women
• 14:00 // Qualifying Round - Elite Men
• Followed by // 30 minutes On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and TeamsSaturday Aug 10
• 08:15-09:15 // Official Downhill Training - Junior Women, Junior Men, Elite Women
• 09:45 // Final - Junior Women
• 10:15 // Final - Junior Men
• 12:30 // Final - Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final - Elite Men followed by Awards ceremonyNote: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.
Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team in Switzerland this week. Tune in to Pinkbike to catch photo epics, videos and results from Timed Training, Practice, Qualifying and Finals, as well as tech bits and news.
You can also watch the seventh round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup free of charge, live or on demand, on redbull.tv
. The live broadcast starts on Saturday, August 10 at 12:30pm CEST. Schedule: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Lenzerheide LIVE on Red Bull TV:
Lenzerheide DHI Women: August 10 Live on Red Bull TV 12:30pm CEST
Lenzerheide DHI Men: August 10 Live on Red Bull TV 1:45pm CEST(all times CEST, replay available immediately following the races)
Don't forget to complete your DH Fantasy team before the Elite Women's qualifying starts on Friday. Check out our analysis of the season so far here
The Fantasy Downhill League is Presented by Trek and SRAM.