Race preview : 2017 UCI Downhill World Cup Round 5 , Lenzerheide

7th July 2017


Lenzerheide is beautiful! It’s a popular Swiss ski resort 1500 metres above sea level and the team love the scenery, the lakes and the track which having been built in consultation with Steve Peat and Claudio Caluori is unlike any other bike park track! Lenzerheide has only been on the World Cup circuit for 2 years (Rach won here both 2015 and 2016) but it will host the 2018 World Champs and so this round of the World Cup will be the first chance to test out some pre World Champs track changes!

Rachel and Gee are both coming back from Fort William injuries this weekend and both have been very clear that they don’t expect to be back at full power but they are looking forward to racing again.

During the Lenzerheide UCI MTB World Cup stop in Switzerland.

Riders: Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton, Graeme Mudd, Kade Edwards
Support team: Joe Krejbich, Pete Michaliszyn, Sam Farrar (Technicians) Gareth Brewin ( driver) Robbie Meade (Videographer) Tim Morris (Chef) Fi Lundie ( physio) Tom Lloyd .

Bikes: Trek Session 9.9. Gee will be riding the 29er, Rach Muddy and Kade on 27.5

Race guide: The track from the summit (1879m) in a 388m descent to the valley below. It isn’t long (1.53km) but its fast. After track walk today the team had this to report:-

“They’ve taken  away some of the berms at the start so its more like 2015, better but there are still a lot of berms around!! There’s a rock garden thats going to be challenging for line choices ( especially without Dan Brown here this weekend). As you go into the woods there is a series of really technical turns then a drop onto a root section which looks like it might sort out a lot of riders!”


The finish after the cabin hit will include a chicane and a 4m drop then its full on to the finish .Lenzerheide is  pretty prone to big holes and debris so crashes are far from uncommon.

Weather; Todays trackwalk was bathed in sunshine but there are thunderstorms forecast Thursday , Friday and for Saturday’s Finals temperatures in mid 20s.

History Lenzerheide has twice delivered super tense and action-packed racing with the smallest margin of the year here in 206 when Tahnee got to within 0.7 of Rach and Danny Hart took the mens race by just 0.09! Gee has had a pretty positive experience here to date ,5th place podium in 2015 and 15th in 2016 despite a massive struggle with a shoulder injury but in Muddy knocked himself out in his final practice run!

Team perspectives:
Gee: The track looks fast!  I’m definitely not going to be challenging for the top step this weekend but I’m hoping to ride, just going to see what happens in practice, how the hip holds up. Times are always tight here so set-up is going to be crucial the boys are flat out making sure all the bikes are dialed.

During the Lenzerheide UCI MTB World Cup stop in Switzerland.
Rach: Lenzerheide is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever raced a World Cup. Track looks fun, I wish they’d take more berms away though ! It’s so steep that I’m not sure my shoulder will agree its much fun – have been getting my rehab on pretty intensely.  It’s so hard not to be riding on the edge as I come back from injury, for 10 years Ive been chasing the win but taking too many risks right now wouldn’t be clever.
Muddy: Last year I was really stoked on how things were going, the track is good for me, I had qualified 21st and I was happy with how things were going. Then in my final practice run on race day I crashed, knocking myself out. I stupidly went up for my race run had another crash and came down with concussion. I have been looking forward to getting back here this year to make it work and lay down a good result :)
Kade: Track looks fun, can’t wait to ride it! Get my shred on tomorrow!

Don’t forget Qualis Friday, Finals Saturday. Catch all the action on Red Bull TV


Pics Sven Martin


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