Posted by Editoress on 07/9/16
Some new records were set at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Saturday for the fifth round of the Downhill World Cup. Rachel Atherton (Trek Factory) won her 11th consecutive World Cup for the women, adding to her record-breaking run. Danny Hart (MS Mondraker) won his first World Cup in the men's race, after five second places, finishing less then a tenth of a second ahead of World Cup leader aaron Gwin (The YT Mob). Canada's Finnley Iles (Specialized Gravity p/b SRAM) took the Junior Men's win, with a time good enough for the top-30 in the Elite men. Magnus Manson of Canada was eighth in the Junior men. Vaea Verbeeck was the only Canadian woman racing, finishing 16th, while Mark Wallace (Devinci Global) was the only Canadian Elite man, finishing 34th.
The 2.2 kilometre Lenzerheide track had dried out significantly, making it very rough and loose. Emilie Siegenthaler (Pivot Factory) set the first sub-3:45 time for the women, a time that would hold up until Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen) knocked over a second off with five riders to go. The next rider, Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR), was on track to beat it until a crash took her out of contention (she would finish eighth). Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Vallnord), in her first World Cup of the season after a broken collarbone at the beginning of the year, started third from last and went below 3:40, but Atherton was next, and smashed the leading time by 5.71 seconds. The final rider, Tahnee Seagrave (Transition Factory/FMD), came close to Atherton, only 0.707 seconds back, but it was the world champion again with her fifth straight win of the season.
"I was not at all confident of winning here," said Atherton. "I struggle with this track, I don't know why. This year, Tahnee had some good lines in her qualifying run so I went back up the track and looked, and changed a few things. it was really exciting, and it's been a long time since I've sat at the bottom and someone's been that close. we were just neck-and-neck the whole way; it's amazing and that's the way racing should be. through the history of racing there has always been someone out in front and someone catches up. Right now it's me, but the girls are catching up ... Tahnee's a product of my own brilliance! i've known her since she was a little girl, and she's always said that she's coming to beat me, and you could see today that she's coming."
Atherton now has 1220 points to Carpenter's 825, with Seagrave moving up to third at 765. Miranda Miller is the top Canadian in 16th (down from 12th after not racing in Lenzerheide). Verbeeck is 29th and Jaime Hill 42nd.
Ruaridh Cunningham (Unior Tools), 36th from the end to start, set the first time with any staying power, at 3:10.93, which would eventually be good enough for ninth. Cunningham stayed in the Hot Seat until Brendan Fairclough (Gstaad-Scott) knocked a couple of tenths off at 15 riders to go. However, the next rider down was Gwin, who had crashed in qualifying, thus staring earlier than usual.
Gwin's time was an incredible five seconds faster than anyone else, and he looked to be in line for his 17th World Cup victory, as rider after rider failed to surpass it. Defending Lenzerheide winner Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) came closest at one and half seconds back with three riders to go, and the second from last rider, George Brannigan (Commencal/Vallnord) was well off the pace, leaving only Hart. Through all four splits the 2011 world champion was close but behind Gwin, and it looked like the American had won, until Hart made up the time in the final 500 metres, to win by a mere 0.096 seconds.
"I don't know what to say, it's absolutely unbelievable," said Hart. "My run was so sketchy, I messed up a bit at the top where it was so loose ... it's so hard to beat these guys, because they go so fast. Minnaar and Gwin, they are up there every weekend, and it's tough ... this is unbelievable."
Gwin continues to lead the standings with 976 points, while Hart moves into second from third with 768 points. Troy Brosnan (Specialized Racing) drops to third at 765 points. Mark Wallace jumps two spots to 25th with 262 points.
In the Junior men, Iles took his third win of the season, and now leads the standings with 220 points, followed by Gaetan Vige (Commencal/Vallnord) at 165 points and Matt Walker (Madison Saracen) at 120.
Women and Junior Men
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|