Practice Photo Epic: Big Bike Rodeo - Lenzerheide DH World Champs 2018

Sep 6, 2018
by Nathan Hughes  



Yeeeehaw! It's go time at the big-bike rodeo here in the high mountains of the Swiss Alps and boy, is it going to be one helluva sight to behold. The Straightline course is ironically all about the switchbacks and damn, we almost forgot the insane speed of this place.

Heavy rain on the preceding days left the dirt tacky, with optimum grip levels this morning as elite women and juniors took to the course. After a few hours of hard sun, the skies clouded over and there was some light rain to see out the men's session; moisture that is expected to return with a vengeance tomorrow in time for qualies.

While Vali Holl and Thibaut Daprela are strong favourites in the junior categories, elite women is little less clear-cut in the ever-tightening battle between Atherton and Seagrave. Meanwhile Nicole and Hannah will be right there snapping at their heels, and Miller will enter the ring to defend her stripes. In the elite men, there's too many contenders for gold to pick one with any real confidence, all the more with Minnaar and Gwin's true speed status up in the air after a season of injury. Pierron is here to take his 4th win of 2018, Bruni's out to stop him and defend the rainbows, while Hart goes for the three-peat. Chuck the rest of the big names into the mix; Brosnan, Shaw, Vergier, Greenland.... Macdonald and the wildcards and it's about as wide open this year as it ever gets. And that surely makes for some mighty fine viewing.

Strap yourselves in folks... this is guaranteed to be a ride to remember.



Storms rolled in a dropped some rain at the end of training but it had minimal effect on the track.
Storms rolled in and dropped some rain at the end of training this afternoon, but they've had minimal effect on the track so far.

After a long day on the tools yesterday all bikes were ready to hit the dirt and start getting up to speed.
After a long day on the tools yesterday, it was finally time to get these beautiful machines all covered in filth.

Rachel Atherton making sure her cockpit is exactly to her her liking before getting stuck into practice.
Rachel Atherton making sure her cockpit is exactly to her liking before getting stuck into practice.

Myriam Nicole has never taken the rainbows but she has the speed and agression for gold on the right day.
Myriam Nicole has never taken the rainbow stripes, but she has the speed and aggression for gold on the right day.

An early morning start while it was still dark for Tahnee Seagrave.
Tahnee Seagrave gets prepped in the dark first thing this morning.

Paula Zibasa taking a taxi back to town after a collision with junior riding buddy Millie Johnset. Thankfully she broke no bones and should still be able to race.
Paula Zibasa took an air taxi back down to town after a collision with Junior riding buddy, Millie Johnset. Thankfully she broke no bones and should still be able to race.

Loic Bruni drops in for the first run in his quest to defend the rainbow jersey.
Loic Bruni drops in for the first run in his quest to defend the rainbow jersey.

Round 1 s top qualifier Brook MacDonald might have taken a win this season had he not crashed out and broken his shoulder. Rainbow stripes would be some nice compensation for the Kiwi wrecking ball.
Round one's top qualifier, Brook Macdonald, might have taken a win this season had he not crashed out and broken his shoulder. Rainbow stripes would sure be some nice compensation for the Kiwi wrecking ball.

Laurie Greenland hangs the back out over the high speed stepup.
2016 silver medalist Laurie Greenland hangs the back out over the high speed step-up.

Vali Holl looking at ease in the tricky top rock garden which has caught out many a rider in the past and many riders today.
Vali Holl looking at ease in the tricky top rock garden which has caught out many a rider in the past and many riders today.

Sam Blenkinsop threads it through the tight trees at high speed.
Sam Blenkinsop threads it through the tight trees at high speed.

Tracey Hannah warms up on a chilly morning before the 8am practice session.
Tracey Hannah warms up on a chilly morning before the 8am practice session.

Team rumours are swirling and Charlie Harrison wants a big result to end a season as a mainstay top 20 rider.
Team rumours are swirling and Charlie Harrison wants a big result to end a season as a mainstay top 20 rider.

Connor Fearon cuts to the inside off one of the big drops rather than taking the berm along the outside.
Connor Fearon cuts to the inside off one of the big drops rather than taking the berm along the outside.

Remi Thirion s top result in La Bresse should have his confidence levels back up and ready to charge for the medals at the weekend.
Remi Thirion's top result in La Bresse should have his confidence levels back up and ready to charge for the medals at the weekend.

Scrubbing things clean with Dakotah Norton
Scrubbing things clean with Dakotah Norton.

Tahnee Seagrave will be fired up after being pipped to the World Cup overall.
Tahnee Seagrave will be fired up after being pipped to the World Cup overall.

Finn Iles in some custom gear done up in a Canadian flag theme.
Finn Iles in some custom gear done up in a Canadian flag theme.

Who wouldn t want Blenki to come out and smash it at the end of the season
Who wouldn't want Blenki to come out and smash it at the end of the season?

Lucas and Harrison aboard the infamous IFR soul train .
Lucas and Harrison aboard the infamous IFR 'soul train'.

Taking the elite British Champ title at the first time of asking was a big achievement for Matt Walker can he take some more big scalps this weekend
Taking the elite British Champ title at the first time of asking was a big achievement for Matt Walker, can he take some more big scalps this weekend?

Clouds began to bubble up over the mountains around midday before eventually coating the track in a greasy layer of moisture at the end of practice.
Clouds began to bubble up over the mountains around midday before eventually coating the track in a greasy layer of moisture at the end of practice.

Eddie Masters is riding like a bit of a hero here in Switzerland look out for another not-so-shocking result.
Eddie Masters is riding like a bit of a hero here in Switzerland, look out for another not-so-shocking result.

Mark Wallace keeping it low but far from slow.
Mark Wallace keeping it low but far from slow.

What can Finn Iles achieve in his first elite World Champs He has shown he s got the pace to get amongst the established runners.
What can Finn Iles achieve in his first elite World Champs? He has shown he's got the pace to get amongst the established runners.

Luca Shaw has been a major danger man all year and just needs to keep it upright on the big day for a medal.
Luca Shaw has been a major danger man all year and just needs to keep it upright on the big day for a medal.

MS Mondraker s Paddy Butler has the skills to take a medal back to Aus in the juniors.
MS Mondraker's Paddy Butler has the skills to take a medal back to Aus in the juniors.

Angel Suarez opts for the outside while many others went over the drop on the inside.
Angel Suarez opts for the outside while many others went over the drop on the inside.

Whilst most riders were rolling through this section Thibaut Daprela decided to launch it. He s had an amazing first year in junior so anything less than gold will leave him with a bad taste in his mouth.
Whilst most riders were rolling through this section, Thibaut Daprela decided to launch it. He's had an amazing first year in junior so anything less than gold will leave him with a bad taste in his mouth.

Dean Lucas scoping rock garden lines and repping those Mexican themed pinks. Remember he took his first ever podium here back in 2015.
Dean Lucas scoping rock garden lines and repping those Mexican themed pinks. Remember he took his first ever podium here back in 2015.

Tracey Hannah will be looking for world champs redemption after last years race in Cairns.
Tracey Hannah will be looking for World Champs redemption after last year's race in Cairns.

Amaury Pierron took a huge crash in the rock garden at the end of the day but luckily walked away uninjured.
Amaury Pierron took a huge crash in the rock garden at the end of the day but luckily walked away uninjured.

Soft places to land are hard to come by.
Soft places to land are hard to come by.

All the style for Jack Moir over the big table top mid track.
All the style for Jack Moir over the big tabletop mid-track.

Welshman Mike Jones looking to do the GB squad proud.
Welshman, Mike Jones, looking to do the GB squad proud.

Team mates Brosnan and Wallace were firing out hot laps on the Swiss dirt.
Teammates, Brosnan and Wallace, were firing out hot laps on the Swiss dirt.

the rock garden ate more than a few bikes and riders today.
The rock garden ate more than a few bikes and riders today.

Rachel Atherton took her time scouting lines in the rock garden and was looking smoother than most by the end of training.
Rachel Atherton took her time scouting lines in the rock garden, and was looking smoother than most by the end of training.

Kade Edwards with Jamie Edmondson in tow through the first rock garden.
Kade Edwards with Jamie Edmondson in tow through the first rock garden.

The Keswick Kestrel swooping through the fast turns up top.
The Keswick Kestrel swooping through the fast turns up top.

The man the myth the legend. Can the 68 plate go the distance and take his third win in Lenzerheide and his 4th gold medal
The man, the myth, the legend. Can the 68 plate go the distance and take his third win in Lenzerheide and his 4th gold medal?

There weren t many smiles among the photography community when the rain started up again... Happy moments with Seb Schieck.
There weren't many smiles among the photography community when the rain started up again... Happy moments with Seb Schieck.

Danny Hart drops into the switchbacks up top.
Danny Hart drops into the switchbacks up top, always on the lookout for sly inside lines.

Danny Hart out sharking for his hat trick of World Championships.
Hart will be sharking for his hat-trick of World Championships after taking 2011 and 2016.

After springing one of the biggest surprises downhill racing has ever seen Martin Maes will be hungry to get his hands on a medal.
After springing one of the biggest surprises downhill racing has ever seen, Martin Maes will be hungry to get his hands on a medal.

Rogatkin mode for Dakotah Norton after going down hard and then crashing again trying to get down holding his peak in his hand. Hopefully better luck is coming for one of America s top contenders.
Rogatkin mode for Dakotah Norton after going down hard and then crashing again trying to get down holding his peak in his hand. Hopefully, better luck is coming for one of America's top contenders.

Aaron Gwin lit up Lenzerheide last year before a flat tire in the closing moments of the track. He ll be hoping to right those wrongs and in doing so taking his first World Champs victory.
Aaron Gwin lit up Lenzerheide last year before a flat tire in the closing moments of the track. He'll be hoping to right those wrongs and in doing so taking his first World Champs victory.

Number one for a reason.... Loic Bruni will be firing on all cyclinders this weekend to defend the rainbows and he s already well up to pace.
Number one for a reason... Loic Bruni will be firing on all cylinders this weekend to defend the rainbows and he's already well up to pace.

Happy enough with the WC overall or still pinning for more We think we know what Pierron s into.
Fast and low, but still sideways for the 2018 champ.

Happy enough with the WC overall or still pinning for more We think we know what Pierron s into.
Happy enough with the World Cup overall or still pining for more? We think we know what Pierron's into, scoping lines in the rain at the end of the session.

Mechanics had a busy morning putting the last touches to their race machines.
Time to get prepped for the first real show of cards tomorrow with the thrills of qualifying.



58 Comments

  • + 49
 I’m not saying anything....
But Rachel looking like the terminator
That pic of Tahnee in the dark
And the one of Tracey warming up
I’ve never been more excited for the girls race.
  • + 20
 Wolowitz is that you?
  • + 11
 *never been more excited for the elite womens race

fixed that for you
  • + 35
 would be nice to see minnar take the win but I want gwinn to win his first ever world champs, it's long over due.
  • + 28
 Ben Cathro's video please...
  • + 1
 He’s not doing this one Frown
  • + 18
 That Dak Norton shot tho!!! Git low! Wow.
  • + 1
 Best shot in the bunch
  • + 14
 WhyTF does Blenki have gloves on?...is it a UCI rule?
btw Im really digging the white kits Myriam, Remi and Finn are rocking, looks dope
  • + 1
 Yeah , what was that about?
  • + 9
 especially with those graphics on his bike.
  • - 2
 Pretty sure the track was wet mate..
  • + 19
 Almost certainly a Regional rule.
  • + 3
 I think they are mandatory in Switzerland
  • + 8
 ask Neko Mulally about it, he should know a thing or two about this Wink
  • + 15
 Vali Höll trying to make rock explode by looking at them...and succeding.
  • + 6
 She has the fierce, determined eyes like Gwyn!
  • + 5
 She belongs on the Mob. No doubt!
  • + 2
 Ironically, she's one of their longest running athletes. And definitely poised to change the world of downhill if she continues to stay motivated for the next half dozen years.
  • + 4
 That is an EPIC pic of her!
  • + 14
 I miss Manon, i wish she was on this race. Frown
  • + 7
 I miss Ragot. Beautiful beast who was always a threat.
  • + 10
 2018 --- year of the pant
  • + 7
 TIGHT.
  • + 1
 White tight pants.
  • + 6
 Anyone know if Cathrovision is on the scene ? He’s a staple for wc dh at this point
  • + 4
 Can’t remember a more exciting DH season. So many potential outcomes for the men’s field. And a solid few contenders in the women’s. Yes!
  • + 6
 If you can just make Bulldog win, that'd be greeeeat.
  • + 5
 Mr. Norton should be the new Mr. Clean
  • + 4
 What about the upstart M's??? I'd like to see Maes or Masters win this!
  • + 3
 And Monica (for Women). Smile
  • + 2
 so excited for the world champs, wrapping up another season, but also sad because there will be no more dh racing Frown
  • + 1
 "While Hart goes for the three-peat"

Da Fuqt? Don't think that's the word you want.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-peat
  • + 2
 watch out heres the grammer police..
  • + 1
 Can't decide if it's more "Rogatkinesque' to have a gnarly crash and get up from it unscathed or to remove one's visor in said crash.
  • + 3
 Bruni!
  • + 1
 Did anyone else scroll down and guess all the riders before looking at the caption?
Just me?
Well, I had a good time anyway.
  • + 2
 "Full Rogatkin" after crashing and breaking off the visor, lol.
  • + 3
 Please heal my heel!
  • + 2
 Fookin epic photos, thank you!
  • + 1
 Gwin run Fox 49 at 275 Tues??
  • + 2
 He rides a 29 now.
  • + 1
 yeah, check the news bro its a 29" tues, they probably manufacture it where you live...
  • + 1
 What's with the all-white kits ?
  • + 1
 They'll be hoping to keep the kit clean, so less likely to crash Razz
  • + 1
 Blackout in Canada like last year? Sad to not be able to watch.
  • + 2
 My guess is we blame It Rogers Sportsnet. Not sure who pays for broadcast rights, but they used to run Dh race coverage 2 years ago, maybe they still have broadcast rights? NordVPN here I come!
  • + 2
 Blenki in gloves?
  • + 0
 " Myriam Nicole has never taken the rainbow stripes, but she has" brown stripes.
  • + 1
 Maes will rock and roll here!! Mark my words.. GO MARTIN!!!
  • + 1
 Loving those elbow pads
  • + 0
 THAT SCRUB Eek
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