Team: Santa Cruz Syndicate
Riders: Greg Minnaar, Luca Shaw, Loris Vergier
Lenzerheide Track Preview with Greg Minnaar
Team: Canyon Factory Racing
Riders: Troy Brosnan (AUS), Mark Wallace
Fifth World Cup for the Canyon Factory Team, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Troy Brosnan did an amazing run and finish 2nd. Mark Wallace takes the 17th place. Next stop for the team, Mt St Anne – CANADA
Team: The YT Mob
Riders: Aaron Gwin, Neko Mulally
Last year in Lenzerheide Aaron Gwin came within 96/100ths of a second of winning his first World Cup on Swiss soil, and was highly motivated to take the victory this weekend at Round 5 of the World Cup series. A last minute crash on Thursday saw Aaron in the doctor’s surgery requiring 4 stitches to his right knee yet despite this injury, he went on to win the qualifying race and set the tone for the weekend. Mr Gwin meant business. On finals day, as the last man down, Aaron turned the interval clocks green from the outset, up at sector 1 and 2, and then impressively up by 1.5secs at sector four before a puncture brought his run to an end
Oh man, well, we battled through a tough weekend and got into the finals with a solid shot at the win. Unfortunately I cut a hole in the sidewall of my tire about ¾ of the way down the track. The tire was going flat quick but I pushed it as long as I could. I broke the rim soon after and then everything came apart a few turns later. That’s racin’, sometimes things don’t turn out as you’d hoped, but at the end of the day if you’re content with the effort that you put in, it’s still a positive. The crowds today were massive and it was so cool meeting so many people who appreciate what we do. Good times were had, and I wish we didn’t have to wait nearly a month until the next World Cup, can’t wait!! – Aaron Gwin – The YT Mob
Team: Norco Factory Racing
Riders: Sam Blenkinsop, Joe Smith, Henry Fitzgerald
As most World Cup riders would agree, it would not be fair to label Lenzerheide’s purpose built World Cup track as very ‘bike park’. It may have multiple berms and man-made features, but it’s a very technical and demanding track as well. Due to the high speeds, loose terrain, and top rock garden alone, it test both rider and bike at peak levels. You do not hear many comments about the track being simple or easy. The word wild and sketchy are more often shared amongst the top downhiller’s on the planet.
From day 1 of practice, it was all about getting a handle on the limits of the track. To be fair, this track seems to catch a few riders off-guard. More specifically, sometimes it hard to know whether one is going quick or not on this track. Maybe this is what makes this track so difficult mentally. It’s just hard to know whether you’ve got a hold of the beast or not.
Enter Friday’s qualifying, and all 3 riders were looking ready to rumble. Starting with Sam, just being outside of top 20 protection, there’s a pressure to have a run that satisfies both speed and preservation (of both rider and equipment). Despite a small leak in the rear tire, Sam was able to qualify 39th, he was moving on to the finals. Next up was Joe. With a steady charge, and run he considered less than ideal, he surprised himself with a season best 12th place qualifier. Very impressive, especially with a partial injury. Last up was Henry. Confident in his plan, using ‘modern technology’ (his LITPro GPS timing system) to improve continually improve his performances, the momentum was there. As we agree, numbers don’t lie. For Henry, we believe it’s been a key tool. With a time in mind, Henry came down with a solid run, and qualified for his first World Men’s Elite final. Well done.
For Saturday’s finals, there’s not much to say. All guys had a good practice, and with it being just being past the ½ mark in the World Cup season, strong finishes and points are on the line. With Henry up first, it was great to see him racing in the finals. Unfortunately, the top rock garden (maybe the toughest of the year) decided to pull him off his bike. Getting back up, he finished his run with a decent time considering a big fall. Hank finished up 75th on the day. Next was Sam, simply put, this track’s been tough over the years (never finishing inside the top 20). As some of you can appreciate, sometimes you just can’t get a handle of certain tracks or trails. With a steady run, Sam came down an impressive 6 seconds quicker than qualifying, finishing 33rd on the day. Last was Joe, steady and slightly conservative (his words) might summarise his run best. So this made his season best 19th place finish even more impressive. A good day.
The team is now off for a few weeks, besides Henry racing Canadian National Championships in 2 weeks, the remainder of the team gets a bit of a chance to rest and recover after a 6 week straight race tour. Next big events, Mont Sainte Anne World Cup, and Crankworx Whistler, including EWS Whistler.
Team: Team Dorval AM Nicolai
Riders: Mélanie Chappaz, Mariana Salazar, Benoit Coulanges, Maxime Ciriego
(Translated from French)
A rather mixed race; the day of qualifications went very well, all the pilots were motivated to do better Saturday at the final.
Unfortunately, the team had some bad luck on Saturday; Mariana Salazar fell on top and lost a lot of time to get his bike and go back. It ends in 13th grade.
Boys Benoit Coulanges & Maxime Ciriego know every 2 a puncture on the middle of the track and end up their run.
Despite everything, the good point of the week: Mélanie Chappaz finishes at a beautiful 2nd place very close to the first and she accentuates her advance on her opponents to the overall of the World Cup.
Now a bit of rest for the pilots before going to the French Championships at Carroz in a few weeks!