A Tricky Mix of Everything
Who can find a rhythm?
Lenzerheide is once again on the World Cup circuit with riders returning to a familiar track that has seen a few subtle changes over the years. While the track doesn't receive as much praise as some of the gold standard ones like Val di Sole and Maribor, Steve Peat and Claudio Calouri helped design the twisty trail, and it has much more to it than many realize, offering a mix of bike park turns, steep corners, rough stuff, janky tech, and big features. Riders will have to stay pinned all the way through the relatively short but physical track and will be rewarded for finding flow in a place where flow is hard to come by.
Over the five years of World Cup racing at Lenzerheide, Rachel Atherton and Greg Minnaar are the only riders to take repeat wins, but there's a good chance they will be joined by Amaury Pierron, Loic Bruni, or Danny Hart in the men's field and Myriam Nicole or Marine Cabirou on the women's side this weekend. Camille Balanche and Emilie Siegenthaler also have the chance to race in front of their Swiss home crowds and could gain a bit of extra momentum from the atmosphere.
With qualifying Friday and racing Saturday, let's take a look at what we can expect at the Lenzerheide World Cup DH 2021.
The Lenzerheide track has long been known for being bike parky, but each year it seems to get rougher and rawer as riders and the elements continue to tear up some of the sections.
The race organizers made some course changes in 2018 and 2019, adding a sketchy rock garden that has since been removed, as well as cutting in a new steep, wooded section. With plenty of both sun and moisture, the track tends to become hardpacked with tricky, loose gravel and dirt on top, making it quite difficult for riders to commit to the tight, often flat turns.
In case the course itself wasn't awkward enough, the organizers have taped some of the corners quite tightly, limiting the riders in their line choices and forcing them to slow down dramatically in some spots. The drops and jumps, too, are a bit inconsistent, as some are quite easy to overshoot and others have almost no run-in to gain enough speed to clear them.
Through the next two days, we'll see which riders can befriend the tough track and figure out how to flow through it.
2019 // Amaury PIERRON // FRA
2018 // Loic BRUNI // FRA*
2017 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2016 // Danny HART // GBR
2015 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2019 // Marine CABIROU // FRA
2018 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR*
2017 // Myriam NICOLE // FRA
2016 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2015 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
Note, * denotes a World Championship.
What Happened in 2019?
When the World Cup last visited Lenzerheide in 2019, Marine Cabirou took her second World Cup win, backing up her victory from the previous race in Val di Sole. On the men's side, Amaury Pierron took his third win of the season. Rapidly changing weather conditions meant that the riders had to adapt quickly to increasingly slick conditions and plenty of uncertainty about how the course would ride, so the track favored those who could roll with whatever their race runs threw at them.
1st. Marine Cabirou: 3:34.304
2nd. Tracey Hannah: +0.264
3rd. Emilie Siegenthaler: +7.085
4th. Kate Weatherly: +7.478
5th. Camille Balanche: +7.649
1st. Amaury Pierron: 2:49.422
2nd. Greg Minnaar: +0.951
3rd. Loic Bruni: +1.400
4th. Troy Brosnan: +2.160
5th. Danny Hart: +3.222
What Happened at the Last Round?
The last time these riders convened wasn't for the standard fast-but-not-too-reckless riding of the World Cup rounds, but with the winner-takes-all mentality of the annual battle for the rainbow stripes. The Val di Sole World Champs delivered, with Myriam Nicole taking her second world championship title by nearly five seconds over Marine Cabirou and with Greg Minnaar returning to the top of the podium for the forth time at World Champs, bringing him up to 11 World Championship medals in total and just barely finishing ahead of Benoit Coulanges, who has been on fire this season.
1st. Myriam Nicole: 4:06.243
2nd. Marine Cabirou: +4.827
3rd. Camille Balanche: +6.099
4th. Monika Hrastnik: +9.085
5th. Tahnee Seagrave: +9.781
1st. Greg Minnaar: 3:28.963
2nd. Benoit Coulanges: +0.227
3rd. Troy Brosnan: +0.441
4th. Loris Vergier: +1.166
5th. Danny Hart: +1.850
1st= // Myriam NICOLE // FRA // 560
1st= // Camille BALANCHE // SUI // 560
3rd // Valentina HOLL // AUT // 475
4th // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // GBR // 462
5th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 427
6th // Eleonora FARINA // ITA // 420
7th // Millie JOHNSET // NOR // 242
8th // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 220
9th // Mathilde BERNARD // FRA // 167
10th // Emilie SIEGENTHALER // SUI // 165
1st // Thibaut DAPRELA // FRA // 590
2nd // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 353
3rd // Greg MINNAAR // RSA // 330
4th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 316
5th // Laurie GREENLAND // GBR // 295
6th= // Loic BRUNI // FRA // 269
6th= // Benoit COULANGES // FRA // 269
8th // Danny HART // GBR // 266
9th // Max HARTENSTERN // GER // 225
10th // Reece WILSON // GBR // 212
The weather could be tumultuous again this week, perhaps giving us a rerun of 2019's rapidly changing conditions.
Thursday, September 2
- Timed trainingDelightful with periods of sun // 19°C // 51% precipitation // wind 6km/h Friday, September 3
- QualifyingPeriods of clouds and sun with a thunderstorm in the area // 19°C // 51% precipitation // wind 6km/h Saturday, September 4
- FinalsIntervals of clouds and sun with a thunderstorm in the area // 18°C // 51% precipitation // wind 6km/h
Weather forecast as of Wednesday, September 1. Live updates from Accuweather
The ScheduleThursday, September 2
• 08:30-11:15 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 11:30-12:45 // Official Downhill Training - All
• 12:45-15:15 // 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, September 3
• 08:45-10:15 // 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, September 4
• 08:15-09:15 // Official Downhill Training - Junior Women, Junior Men, Elite Women
• 09:45 // Final - Junior Men
• 10:30 // Final - Junior Women
• 10:50-11:05 // Official Downhill Training - Elite Women
• 11:05-12:05 // Official Downhill Training - Elite Men
• 12:30 // Final - Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final - Elite Men
• Awards to followNote: 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 onredbull.tv
. The live broadcast starts on Saturday, September 4 at 12:30pm CEST. Schedule: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Lenzerheide LIVE on Red Bull TV:
Lenzerheide DHI Women: September 4 Live on Red Bull TV 12:30pm CEST
Lenzerheide DHI Men: September4 Live on Red Bull TV 1:45pm CESTAll times CEST, replays available immediately following the races. Times are subject to change at the race organizers' or Red Bull's discretion.
Don't forget to complete your DH Fantasy team! Participating is way more fun than watching from the sidelines.
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