The rain from earlier in the week is all but a distant memory here in Lenzerheide. Things have steadily been heating up both in terms of temperature and on-track action as race day looms ever larger. Danny Hart laid down his claim for the throne today fueled by frustration and motivation on recent close calls. He's been on it all season and a near-permanent fixture on the podium, just not on the step he so desperately craves. A puncture when in the running for the top few places in Val di Sole will only add to that hunger. He could only pull a tenth on Bruni however with the Frenchman seemingly an immovable object at the top of the overall. Troy Brosnan was just 0.8 back and happy after switching back to a full 650b setup this weekend. In behind him were Minnaar, Pierron, Vergier, Trummer, Norton, Iles, and Lucas rounding out the top ten.
Tracey Hannah didn't dwell on last weekend's defeat to Marine Cabirou and will once again come down the hill last. Nina Hoffmann ran her the closest, under two seconds back. Nina lost a little momentum in the last few races with some fairly big crashes but it doesn't seem to be slowing her when she stays rubber side down. Cabirou was back in third, then there's a bigger gap to Widmann, Siegenthaler, Farina, and Balanche. Things are super tight between fourth and eighth places, which bodes well for an intense podium battle - as we've come to expect this year.
Unfortunately, there was the unmistakable buzz of the rescue helicopter early this morning for Group B practice. Last weekend's junior winner Mille Johnset had a big crash and needed to be airlifted off the hill. Thankfully, it sounds like she's just battered and bruised and it doesn't look too serious - we wish her a speedy recovery. That left Vali Höll and Anna Newkirk to do battle atop the junior women with Vali coming out on top. Anna followed in second with Nastasia Gimenez rounding out the top three. In junior men, Thibaut Daprela came out on top with Kye A'Hern a couple of seconds back, while Seth Sherlock continued his impressive season in third. Daprela will be looking to get back on top after a couple of crashes in his recent race runs. A'Hern is no slouch though and will be all out gunning for that top spot. Although there are plenty of other juniors who can get in the mix tomorrow.
With only World Cup finals in Snowshoe remaining once Hart crosses the line tomorrow afternoon, overall points are at a premium and it's Bruni and Hannah who have a strong grip on the number one spot. They've clawed even further ahead today, but they're certainly not going to have it easy tomorrow. Times are tight and the Lenzerheide track is a toughie to race flat out on. Who'll find the right formula on race day?
: @natedh9 @andy9 @rossbellphoto