Myriam Nicole seen at UCI DH World Cup in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on September 4, 2021 // SI202109040941 // Usage for editorial use only //
Lenzerheide World Cup
Lenzerheide delivered sublime racing to match the stunning scenery, with Myriam Nicole in imperious form and Loris Vergier bringing an incredibly tight men’s race to the perfect crescendo at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup stop.
Nina Hofmann is back from injury and back on the podium with a fourth place; the German Champion managed to hold off the challenge from the home crowd favourite, Camille Balanche, who missed going into the hot seat by just 0.112 seconds to end fifth. Vali Höll finally avoided any major mishap, although she left it to the bottom of the track to shore up a slender advantage through the first three splits and eventually go fastest by 2.334 seconds.
Having won in Les Gets, Tahnée Seagrave didn’t have the best run of luck or confidence through Maribor and the UCI World Championships, but she was back towards the top in Lenzerheide. Seagrave was already 1.250 up at split one and would carry great speed lower down the track to increase that leading margin to 3.453 seconds at the finish; with a time five seconds faster than Nicole’s winning Qualification run, the newly-crowned World Champion had her work cut out.
Nicole, having struggled with the pressure of going fastest in Qualification in the past, was today carrying the confidence that she could translate this into the winning run when it mattered most. The rainbow jersey snuck through split one just 0.369 seconds up, but by split three it was nudging towards four seconds. This dropped to 2.662 as Nicole crossed the line, but the job was more than done.
A rain shower early during the men’s final could have caused chaos, but thankfully it was short-lived and as the weather got hotter, so did the racing. Very stoked to see Dean Lucas keeping the hot seat warm for a good stint after laying down a 2:53.462 as fifth man down, which would eventually land him 20th. After this relative calm, the times really started tumbling and the tension built.
Benoit Coulanges saw the finish gantry go green, then Matt Walker and Dakotah Norton, but the first man to post a podium time was Laurie Greenland – early splits were red, but by the halfway point he was into the green and then suddenly over a second up through the final split to go fastest by 1.749 seconds. With the crowds descending en masse into the finish bowl, the top five began their descent of the track. First up was the World Cup leader, Thibaut Daprela – the 20-year-old managed to eke out tenths of seconds here and there without ever looking on the edge, and his lead went from 0.7 to 0.5 and back up to 0.7 seconds before finally crossing the line 0.898 seconds up to take the lead.
Loïc Bruni pulled a big ride out at Lenzerheide, riding that perfect line between calm and carnage. Bruni crossed the line, turned to see green on the gantry and threw his hands to his head. Danny Hart was next, but a slow first sector meant that, despite holding good speed for the rest of his run, he would finish 1.736 off the pace in sixth. With second fastest in Qualification, Amaury Pierron was quickest through split one by 0.104, but dropped to half a second down at the halfway point, then he clawed back time by split three to come within 0.025 seconds of the lead – he couldn’t quite hold on, and would end third.
It was all down to Frenchman Vergier, who led by one-tenth at split one, and then two-tenths at split two. However, being just 0.413 seconds down at split three put him in fourth position, but Vergier pulled out all the stops to fly through the final split a nail-biting 0.060 seconds down. The final fast berms and big jumps sent Vergier down to the finish line – fastest by 0.197 – with France claiming first to fourth thanks to Vergier, Bruni, Daprela and Pierron as Briton Greenland ended fifth.
Women’s downhill result 1. Myriam Nicole FRA 2. Tahnée Seagrave GBR +2.662s 3. Valentina Höll AUT +6.115s 4. Nina Hoffmann GER +8.449s 5. Camille Balanche SUI +8.561s
Men’s downhill result 1. Loris Vergier FRA 2. Loïc Bruni FRA +0.197s 3. Thibaut Daprela FRA +0.370s 4. Amaury Pierron FRA +0.628s 5. Laurie Greenland GBR +1.268s