Lenzerheide, Switzerland, hosted the second double (downhill and cross-country) stop of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano 2017 and what a stop it was! Having passed the half-way mark of the season and with incredibly tight standings in the Women’s and Men’s DHI as well as Women’s XCO standings, the race-weekend in Lenzerheide promised to be a deciding point heading into the last two World Cups of the season. In Men’s XCO the standings were anything with Nino Schurter having won all three World Cups leading to Lenzerheide, but this was his home race and the Swiss fans expected a win. No pressure then… These are the 5 things we have learned from the 7th Mountain Bike World Cup of the season:
1. Swiss Fans Are Crazy for Mountain Biking
What a race weekend this was. The stunning alpine location of Lenzerheide, Switzerland hosted the exciting second double (DHI & XCO) round of the season and delivered an instant classic in front of screaming Swiss fans equipped with cowbells, noisemakers and the fan-favorite chainsaws. The active hotbed famous for its outdoor adventures and bike park featured short, physically-demanding and very technical courses with an idyllic crystal-clear lake at the finish line. Lenzerheide served up a great weekend of racing and also gave audiences a preview of the 2018 UCI World Mountain Bike World Championships which will held in the Swiss mountain town next September.
2. Myriam Nicole Wins Back to Back
French National Champion Myriam Nicole (FRA) delivered an inspired, confident and blazing-hot run to win her second Downhill World Cup in as many weeks. She narrowly defeated current World Champion and top qualifier, Rachel Atherton (GBR) by half a second. With her 3rd career World Cup victory Nicole takes over the lead in the season-long overall title chase. Home country favorite Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI) had the crowd go mad as she looked like she could be the 5th winner in 5 races for a moment, sitting in the hot seat as the last riders took to the course. She ultimately ended up in 3rd place with Tracey Hannah (AUS) and Tahnée Seagrave (GBR) rounding off the podium.
3. Greg Minnaar Scorches to Victory
The most successful rider in downhill mountain bike history – Greg Minnaar (RSA) – added to his incredible legacy by grabbing his second win of the season over last week’s winner Troy Brosnan (AUS) and World Champion Danny Hart (GBR). With his victory the G.O.A.T. brings his career World Cup win count to 21 and a jaw-dropping 75 podium appearances and also extended his lead in the overall series. Top-qualifier Aaron Gwin (USA) was on record pace only to flat late in his run and finish 51st after leading at all splits.
4. World First for Last
British Champion Annie Last (GBR) charged from deep in the field to take her maiden World Cup victory over the winningest women in mountain bike cross-country history, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (NOR) and 2017 double winner and current World Cup leader Yana Belomoina (UKR) in an extremely exciting and competitive race. The looming dark clouds could not deter the enthusiastic Swiss fans from cheering on the 75 women from 29 countries in a great race that featured multiple lead changes, muddy conditions, hike a bike sections, punchy climbs, and technical descents.
5. Swiss Perfection Powers to Victory on Home Soil
Even a heavy downpour of rain before the men’s race start could not slow down the Swiss powerhouse Nino Schurter (SUI) from destroying the field at his home country race. In a thrilling competition, with the top ten riders all in striking distance, the reigning Olympic Champion, World Champion, and World Cup leader took on all challengers – including an incredible last lap surge from former Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) – to notch his 4th straight World Cup victory. Anton Sintsov (RUS) who briefly led the race showed great form and delivered the best ever World Cup result by a Russian male finishing third.
Re-watch round seven of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2017 free of charge and on-demand at redbull.tv/uci and get the latest on everything bike related on the Red Bull Bike Channel at redbull.tv/bike.