British riders take the Elite wins at the UCI Downhill World Cup in Lenzerheide10 June 2023 | By billy1979
The first UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup of the year went off with a bang in Lenzerheide.
Rachel Atherton masters the new downhill format
In the women’s semi-final, Swiss National Champion Camille Balanche (DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) came out on top, beating Great Britain’s Rachel Atherton (CONTINENTAL ATHERTON) by 1.7 seconds. German National Champion Nina Hoffman (SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) placed in third.
But it would be Great Britain’s Rachel Atherton that adapted to the new format best, edging out Switzerland’s Camille Balanche by a margin of 0.5 seconds, with German Champion Nina Hoffman having to settle for third.
Speaking about her finals win, Atherton said: “A crazy day, I just can't believe it. It's a surprise for sure. Sometimes I think and know I can win but today I had no idea. I just wanted to stay safe and have a good run. It's the most relaxed I've felt at a race because I did not think I could win. A top three would have been amazing but this is so cool. Lenzerheide is a really short, intense track and it gets rougher every year. It's the best track in the best location though. I have no plans for a comeback. Leogang is next week and I am exhausted. I have only trained for two months and everything hurts. I don't think I could race again next weekend. I just want to get to World Champs in Fort William.”
Second place Camille Balanche spoke after the race, saying: "I had three consistently good runs. It was really great. Of course, I would have preferred to win, but Rachel was faster today. I did what I could do and three minutes eight seconds is a time I'm happy with. I'm proud of that. It was close. It came down to zero point five. To be on the podium is great. I was already second last year, so it's a bit of a thrill. We're going to train even harder to win this one.”
Results DHI Elite Women Top 5:
Rachel Atherton (GBR | ATHERTON CONTINENTAL) 3:07:514
Camille Balanche (SUI | DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) 3:08:048
Nina Hoffmann (GER | SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 3:08:301
Vali Höll (AUT | ROCKSHOX TREK RACE TEAM) 3:09:270
Marine Cabirou (FRA | SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY) 3:11:118
Overall World Standings:
Rachel Atherton (GBR | ATHERTON CONTINENTAL) 370 Points
Camille Balanche (SUI | DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) 360 Points
Nina Hoffmann (GER | SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 250 Points
Vali Höll (AUT | ROCKSHOX TREK RACE TEAM) 192 Points
Marine Cabirou (FRA | SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY) 176 Points
Jordan Williams rules the roost in Switzerland
New Zealand’s Lachlan Stevens-McNab (THE UNION – FORGED BY STEEL CITY MEDIA) kept the hot seat warm most of the semi-final. It would be the reigning World Champion Loïc Bruni (SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) to take the first points in the Elite Men’s race crossing the line 0.161 seconds ahead of Austria’s Andreas Kolb (CONTINENTAL ATHERTON). Loris Vergier (TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) would round out the podium in third. The reigning World Cup Champion Amaury Pierron (COMMENCAL-MUC OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION) did not start following a crash yesterday.
Jordan Williams (SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) would get the better of the quick turnaround for finals, taking the first downhill win of the year ahead of France’s Loris Vergier and current UCI World Champion Loïc Bruni. It was Williams’ first race in the Elite category.
Williams had this to say about his first Elite UCI World Cup victory: "This is just insane. Lenzerheide isn't one of my favourite tracks so I just rode as good as I could. I don't know where I found the speed. Certainly having fast riders in Juniors helped push me along before heading into Elite. I didn't focus on trying to win or sending it hard, I just tried to put down the best run I could and see where I ended up. Finn and Loic are great. Loïc's a machine and I was sure he would beat me today."
Third place Loïc Bruni added: “A very good weekend for us. It was a good test for the new format. It's a pretty straightforward track that works well physically. I'm very happy with the result. I was in the battle for victory all weekend so that’s really cool. It's been a productive winter, I think. We're going to work on the details now and clean up some mistakes I made today. Thanks Lenzerheide for a great crowd and great weather. We had a great atmosphere in the team. We took first, third and fifth, so no complaints.”
Results DHI Elite Men Top 5:
Jordan Williams (GBR | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 2:39:222
Loris Vergier (FRA | TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) 2:39:717
Loïc Bruni (FRA | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 2:39:907
Laurie Greenland (GBR | SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 2:40:058
Finn Iles (CAN | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 2:40:232
Overall World Cup Standings:
Jordan Williams (GBR | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 322 Points
Loris Vergier (FRA | TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) 320 Points
Loïc Bruni (FRA | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 305 Points
Laurie Greenland (GBR | SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE) 239 Points
Finn Iles (CAN | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 216 Points
The full results from today’s races as well as the schedule for the upcoming races of the UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Lenzerheide can be found here.