It was an absolutely awesome day in Lenzerheide with World Championships wins for both Rach and Kade and a 3rd place podium for Mille! What a storming finale to the season!
Finals day dawned hot. The track was the driest it has been all week and conditions were “pretty much perfect”. Lenzerheide is renowned for being tricky and loose with big drops, huge roots, tree stumps and rock gardens – there would be plenty to keep both riders and crowds entertained!
Practise and Qualifying
Both practise and quals were pretty rowdy! Our Atherton Academy rider Mille ( riding for Norway) had a huge practice crash, she landed on top of her close friend Paula Zibasa and had to watch Paula helicoptered off the hill. Come quals she had a bit of a shaky start, stalling four times in the top section, but in the bottom section she was on fire, closing to just 12 seconds behind Vali Holl to go into 2nd.
In the Junior Mens’s race Kade was delighted with a Quals win 8 seconds clear of the field and for the Women’s Elites Rach edged out Tahnee Seagrave who crossed the line 0.66 back. Myriam Nicole was DQ’ed for going outside of a pole.
There were certainly no foregone conclusions going into Sunday!
First up was Mille. She had a strong start but a crash after the third corner cost her valuable time. Mille said “I had a good start and after my crash was a really good run too so yeah I’m happy to be on the podium but sad at the same time!”
And then there was Kade.
We first met a 13 year old Kade when came to an Experience day with his dad and he’s been part of the team since he joined the Atherton Academy in 2014. We’ve believed in him every minute of the way so the entire team were stoked to see his huge potential realized today with a World Championships win in his last ever ride as a Junior. – and by a massive 4.4 seconds!
Kade said “Massive thanks to everybody who has had my back - this season has been tough but today blows everything out of the water!”
In the Women’s race Myriam Nicole put quals misfortune behind her with a scorching run to take the lead by over 5 seconds.
Then just the top three qualifiers were left on course.
Tracey Hannah didn’t make any major mistakes but didn’t quite get in to contention with Pompon , then Tahnee came out flying – 1.2 seconds up by the second split, she rode a little more conservatively in the middle sections, through the site of her qualifications crash , she was 0.2 back by split 4 crossing into the hotseat by just 0.6.
Could Rachel better her closest rival and neighbour to take her 5th Elite gold medal and 6th World Championship?
Yes she could! Rachel was on fire! Going 3 seconds up by split 1 and 6 seconds clear by split 2, her intentions were very clear! She was 8.5 seconds up by split 3 in a total league of her own and she kept on the attack all the way to the line, crossing 9.98 seconds clear of the field!
Rachel said “I’m stoked!! This was the Worlds run so I knew that I had to throw everything at it, I knew it would have to be special, all the way down I thought I was going to crash! Tahnee and PomPon have been pushing me so hard all season, I was watching them all weekend thinking “ I’m going to have to push on… I’m buzzing!”
Gee was devastated not to have been selected for the Men’s team for the first time in his career – despite a storming return to form that saw him finish 9th in the World Cup overall so he was on indispensable line-spotting duties this weekend and come the Men’s Finals the team yelled for our ex team-mate and Atherton Academy star Martin Maes! The race was super tight with less than a second between the top four and Maes-dog’s 2nd place podium was a small consolation. Congratulations to Loic Super-Bruni on the win!
1 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.15.73
2 Tahnee Seagrave +9.98
3 Myriam Nicole +10.67
4 Marine Cabirou ++15.96
5 Tracey Hannah +20.72
1 Kade Edwards GBR 3.03.22
2 Kye Ahern AUS +4.4
3 Elliot James CAN 5.43
4 Thibault Daprela FR 5.811
5 Henry Kerr GBR 5.815
1 Vali Holl AUT 3.39.72
2 Anna Newkirk USA +10.88
3 Mille Johnset NOR + 16.69
4 Nastasia Gimenez FRA+17.29
5 Paula Zibasa LAT +22.7
1 Loic Bruni FRA 2.5.11
2 Martin Maes BEL 2.55.32 + 0.21
3 Danny Hart GBR 255.41 + 0.3
4 Loris Vergier FR 2.55.86 + 0.75
5 5 Aaron Gwin USA 2.56.45 + 1.3
1 Vali Holl 3.59.02
2 Mille Johnset + 12.32
3 Anna Newkirk +14.7
4 Mathilde Bernard +21.97
5 Paula Zibasa +35.433
1 Kade Edwards 3.11.17
2 Patrick Butler +8.2
3 Kye Ahern +9.94
4 Thibault Daprela 10.61
5 Giacomo Masiero +12.12
1 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 3.38.07
2 Tahnee Seagrave +0.66
3 Tracey Hannah +5.44
4 Cecile Ravanel +9.70
5 Marine Cabirou +12.01
1 Brook Macdonald 3.03.20
2 Loris Vergier ).6)
3 Connor Fearon +1.78
4 Martin Maes GT Factory Racing +1.84
5 Aaron Gwin + 2.18