Friday night in Lenzerheide saw some big thunderstorms which left the track pretty slippery for practice this morning, Kade had a small practice crash because of it, but it dried out pretty fast and all in all the riders welcomed the extra moisture which would help the track hold together (a little!) better as the day progressed – it still got pretty blown out and once again there were plenty of crashes as the added moisture made the track run “horribly fast!”
Kade was first up for the team. He’d been looking forward to racing and putting right his disappointing quals run but perhaps a little unnerved by his crash in the top section yesterday and this morning’s spill he didn’t quite hit the pace required. A crash in the bottom section just a few corners from the end of the course put paid to this weekend’s hopes – and knocked him back in the rankings from 3rd to 5th.
Kade said: “The run was chilled but the surface here is super slippery, especially in the last couple of turns – I didn’t quite go in to them right and it punished me and put me down! I wasn’t that keen on the track and was pretty frustrated all week. Onward and upwards to MSA”
Next up were the Women. Marine Cabirou was in the hotseat when the top 5 qualifiers came on track. Tahnee Seagrave went storming into hot seat in 3.32.62, bettering Cabirou by 1.5 secs but her stay in the top spot was fleeting as next rider Emilie Siegenthaler blazed ahead of her by a convincing 3.3 seconds with Tracy Hannah next on track.
Tracy slotted into 2nd, 2.15 back from Emilie, would Myriam have what it takes? She did! 2.38 seconds clear and into the hotseat. Only Rachel was left on track but despite her brave show in quals she was still suffering after that shoulder dislocation – a brave attempt just 0.5 seconds off the win and into second place!
Rachel said: “ Thanks so much to the whole crew for getting me here , that was a team effort for sure, getting my bike dialed, my body patched and my mind in a good place! What a mental track, horrible, so fast, its all a blur!”
By the time the Men came on track even the most manicured turns were full of holes.
Gee had promised the team he’d take it easy and concentrate on staying on his bike rather than risk further damage to his hip – even so he managed 3.06.25 - enough for a top 30 spot. Muddy bettered his quals run by over 4 seconds 3.07.61 - enough for 41st but not at all where he wanted to be on this track.
Muddy said “ It’s a weird feeling to get my best finish of the season so far and be the most disappointed! I was confident today, I thought I’d be in for a good race but I bobbled a couple of turns in the first split and struggled to pull it back – goal was top 30, or 10 secs off the win - 10.57 I got - massive respect to Geeman – he got it!”
The Brits made a very strong showing with 15th qualifier Phil Atwill and 13th qualifier Laurie Greenland taking turns in the hot seat until he was deposed by Danny Hart, so it was a Brit 1,2,3 until 3rd place qualifier Greg Minaar was on course. Ahead by 0.07 by split 1 he extended that lead to 0.7 at split 2 and 1.5 seconds at splits 3 and 4 - fastest by almost 2 seconds with just two riders left on course. Last week’s victor Troy Brosnan was in the red for the first 3 splits but not by much, by split 4 he was into the green by 0.09 and the crowd were wild but he couldn’t quite match Minaar’s sector 10 performance, crossing into second by 0.16.
Only Aaron Gwin remained on course. He accelerated all the way down the track, in the green all the way leading by 1.5 seconds by split 4 when he had a flat and his race ended in disaster!
1 Finn Iles Specialized Gravity 3.09.743
2 Joe Breeden Intense Racing UK 3.10.87 +1.134
3 Sylvain Cougoureux 3.13.80 +4.06
4 Moritz Ribarich NS-Bikes Factory Racing 3.16.14 +6.39
5 Nicolas Nesteroff Intense Factory Racing 3.16.46 +6.72
15 Kade Edwards Trek Factory Racing DH 3.24.49 +14.75
1 Myriam Nicole Commencal/Vallnord 3.26.89
2 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.27.40 + 0.51
3 Emilie Siegenthaler Pivot Factory Racing 3.29.27 +2.38
4 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 3.31.42
5 Tahnee Seagrave Transition Bikes/FMD Factory Racing 3.32.62 +5.73
1 Greg Minaar Santa Cruz Syndicate 2.57.04
2 Troy Brosnan Canyon Factory Racing 2.57.20 +0.16
3 Danny Hart MS Mondraker Team 2.58.87 1.82
4 Laurie Greenland MS Mondraker Team 2.59.98 +2.9
5 Phil Atwill Propain Dirt Zelvy 3.00.83 + 3.7
30 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.06.25 +9.21
41 Graeme Mudd Trek Factory Racing DH 3.07.61 + 10.57