It wouldn't be a World Cup without a cube ball or two thrown in, and in proper fashion, Lenzerheide did just that on the eve of the race. After days of blistering heat and a track that was literally crumbling to pieces under the riders, the rains came. Thunderstorms, on and off through the night, made sure to throw a spanner in the works of the riders and mechanics who had worked so hard to setup bike and suspension for grip in the loose stuff. Slimy in the morning dry in the middle of the day and back to loose and drifty by the afternoon. A day of constant change in what riders faced for the finals and those who could adapt quickly were the ones who triumphed.
First to tackle the challenge would be the junior men, where once again Finn Iles would show the field why he wears the rainbow stripes of a World Champion. With Matt Walker out due to a crash and concussion, a win would mean Finn could wrap up the overall title with two rounds to go. And today that's exactly what he did. Up at every split and well clear of the field, Finn is definitely in a league of his own.
The Women would take to the track in absolutely perfect conditions, and after the close times in qualifying a day earlier it was clear the final was going to come right down to the wire. Tahnée Seagrave looked on pace to be the first threat for the win, but a washed front wheel right at the bottom lost her valuable seconds and a few steps on the podium by the time she crossed the line. Then it was Emilie Siegenthaler racing in front of her home crowd who would raise the bar with the strongest run we've seen this year from the Swiss rider. Tracey Hannah came close but it wasn't until Myriam Nicole crossed the line that Emile was knocked from the hot seat with one rider to go. Rachel Atherton was up at the first few splits but slowed towards the bottom, and as a result handed Myriam Nicole her second win in a row by just half a second. In addition to winning the race, Myriam now leads to World Cup overall with just two rounds remaining.
Last up it would be the Elite Men. As the temperatures soared, the massive crowds descended along the course and dust once again began to fill the air. As the cheering got louder and louder, the riders got faster and faster, and the times began to fall. The first competitive time would come from Laurie Greenland and rider after rider tried but failed to topple it. After some crashes from riders like Loris Vergier and Mick Hannah, it wasn't until Danny Hart came down that things really began to get wild at the sharp end of the race. First Loïc fumbled and then it was Minnaar's turn. A winner here in 2015 in similar conditions every rider knew Greg would be dangerous in the finals, and once again he proved them all right. Up split after split, Minnaar sailed into the hot seat with what looked to be an unbeatable run. Unbeatable that is until Aaron Gwin hit the course. Aaron was visibly riding sections faster than anyone and by the bottom third of the track was well clear of the competition and looking like he could cruise home for the victory. Then disaster struck. As the track had dried, many of the rocks were starting to come loose once again, and one would seal Gwin's fate in an instant. A puncture with the finish line in sight was heartbreaking and cruel, and it's safe to say just about everyone in attendance felt a bit deflated after such a tight race.
Greg Minnaar now has a more comfortable lead in the overall ahead of Troy Brosnan, but with a second place today, Troy definitely limited his losses. With two rounds to go, it's going be a close one all the way to the end.
In stark contrast to last evening. the skies were clear when the sun burst over the Rothorn.
The lift station becomes a hive of activity on race day with not only racers, but mechanics, trainers, and fans out to search for the best vantage points.
Whilst some riders just absorb into their own expressionless worlds, others get hands on and go through the hopeful motions of their upcoming run.
One last moment to collect your thoughts before blasting down the mountain.
Kaos Seagrave's day didn't get off to the best of starts with a big crash in the top rock garden which resulted in a broken brake lever and a trundle down the fire road.
Moritz Ribarich of the Swiss DH Syndicate, sending it to fourth place in the Juniors.
Joe Breeden has been creeping up in the results all year and finally nailed a podium in Juniors.
Finn Iles drops into the finish arena with the fastest time of the day in Juniors.
Top qualifier, Sylvain Cougoureux, fought a good fight like always but had to settle for third.
Second today for Sylvain Cougoureux. But what could have been if he hadn't come off on the top of the track?
Today's win secured Finn Iles his second Junior World Cup Title. No one can catch him in the last two rounds. Now he can focus on defending those rainbow stripes in Cairns.
The fastest Junior Men in Lenzerheide.
After crossing the line, Paula Zibasa didn't think her run was up to much in her interview with the Lenzerheide commentator... she ended up being quite wrong.
Paula Zibasa tops the podium once again for the Junior Women.
Love you Tahnee.
Vaea Verbeeck scored her best ever World Cup result, hucking into seventh.
Tahnee Seagrave never seemed to find her groove this weekend, and a big mistake near the bottom of the track pushed her back to fifth.
What could have been? Seagrave would have been higher up the podium, but how high is the question...
Emilie Siegenthaler was on home turf this weekend, and racing in front of friends and family. All those extra cheers from the Swiss fans pushed her to take her best result of the season in third.
An ecstatic Emile Siebenthaler in the finish after crossing the line with the fastest time. She would end the day in third, her best result of the season.
Tracey Hannah pushed hard today, but could go not better than fourth. She now sits second in the overall.
Tracey Hannah struggled here in Switzerland and it cost her the leaders jersey. Lucky this is a fight that's not over yet.
A disappointed Tracy Hannah.
Myriam Nicole has the momentum in the bid for the overall. She'll relish the two classic tracks coming up next: Mont Sainte Anne and Val di Sole.
As soon as Pom Pon crossed the line, she knew she had nailed a near perfect run.
It looks like Rachel Atherton is getting back up to pace, but she is still struggling with her shoulder towards the end of track - today's splits would pay testament to that.
Rachel Atherton has made a remarkable return from injury to take second on the day. Only half a second back.
Atherton feeling beat at the end of her working day.
After waiting so long for her second World Cup win, the third followed in quick succession.
The ladies cool down the crowd with a shower of their hard earned champagne.
Myriam Nicole was greeted with a hero's welcome as she returned to the Commencal pits as the leader of the Women's World Cup.
The number one plate on the front of Greg Minnaar's bike, ready for battle.
Blenki deep in the pre-race warm up.
Hoping for a napalm-free end to this battle in the woods...
The top gondola station offered a cool retreat from the afternoon sun, as Saracen's Alex Marin found out. He also found out how brutal it can be to get off-line, crashing in the upper rock garden during his final run. Initial reports are that he suffered a dislocated elbow. Heal up soon Alex.
Mick Hannah was celebrating his son's seventh birthday today, but unfortunately wasn't able to celebrate his result as well. A big crash in the upper rocks ended his run before it even began.
Neko Mullaly had a bad day, turned away from the start hut because of trying to race with an inadequate (cardboard) back protector, after practicing all week in a proper plastic one. Dropping from 15 to 24 in the series standings, that has got to hurt.
Adam Brayton eyes up the start ramp en-route to a season's best - thirteenth.
Adam Brayton scrubs the tabletop above the woods.
Jure Zabjek and team mate Rudy Cabirou of Unior Tools both had an awesome day, riding to top ten results.
Straight back from injury and straight back into the top ten for Flo Payet.
Charlie Harrison had his best result of the season with a fourteenth.
A big slide out in this high-speed corner before the step-up would scrub all of Loic Bruni's speed and with it, his hopes of a top result.
Mark Wallace ducked out of the top ten for only the second time this season. Still, twelfth is not a bad score.
After crashing out in turn one, Loris Vergier held on to some valuable points, coming home in 27th.
Jack Moir stops for a breather with team mate Dean Lucas on their last run before things got real.
Jack Moir drops into the finish to the delight of the biggest crowd we have seen all year.
The Bulldog muscled his way into fifteenth this afternoon.
Doing things his own way and with his own style, Phil Atwill has been killing it the past two rounds. Today he may have received a little luck from Aaron Gwin, but that doesn't make his fifth place any less deserved.
Phil Atwill has been quietly plugging away climbing up the rankings, a ninth last time out in Andorra, and was blown out of the water with a fifth (and maiden) podium.
Laurie Greenland really deserves more credit than he gets. The young Brit took a popular podium, which drops his number board into single digits.
Laurie Greenland has been flying under the radar a bit behind team mate Danny Hart, but this weekend there was no mistaking his speed on the track. He held it together to lay down a scorcher of a final run to take fourth.
Just ballin' with Laurie Greenland.
Full gas and onto the podium for Danny Hart, with three other Brit's .
Danny Hart, launching off the freeride sender in front of the roaring crowds.
Danny Hart takes his second consecutive third to get a shady season back on track.
Last week's winner Troy Brosnan was on a charge in Lenzerheide and with his second place finish, he now sit's second in the overall behind Greg Minnaar.
When 0.1 second is the difference between taking the win and being the first loser.
The G.O.A.T. making quick work of the rock garden up top. With his second win of the season and 22nd win of all time, Greg Minnaar adds to his legacy week after week.
To the roar of the massive crowd, Greg Minnaar crosses the line with the fastest time of the day.
Aaron Gwin looked to be on an untouchable run before disaster struck within sight of the finish line.
No words for Aaron Gwin.
Luca Shaw and the rest of the Syndicate crew were the first to congratulate Minnaar on the hot seat.
We've said it before and we will say it again. Never, never, never count Greg Minnaar out. The greatest downhiller of a generation took home World Cup number 22 today.
Aaron knows how disastrous today was for his overall chances.
Aaron Gwin left all of his frustration on the race track. He was all smiles back in the pits moments later, signing autographs and posing for selfies with fans.
As has become tradition, first-time podium finisher Phil Atwill gets the obligatory full spray down from his fellow competitors.
The hunter and the hunted. 160 points separate the two.
Number One in the series and stretching his lead to 172 points is Greg Minnaar.
Like it or not, you had better get used to these big wheels on top of the podium.