65,000 spectators! The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships last year were record breaking, the biggest event to crown the best in the world to date. Eleven months later the world’s best athletes will be returning to Switzerland for the ninth round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Both the Downhill and Cross County elite will be battling it out on the STRAIGHTline and Cross Country course leading down and laid out beneath the Rothorn between August 9-11. The event is not only vital to all competitors for World Cup points, but also marks the final contest on European soil before the world’s MTB elite set off on their journey across the pond. The World Cup in Lenzerheide will be the dress rehearsal for reigning champs Rachel Atherton (GBR), Loic Bruni (FRA), Kate Courtney (USA) and local hero Nino Schurter (SUI) for this year’s UCI World Championships in Canada. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the streets actually were deserted with everyone lining the tracks and cheering on the athletes!

Early Bird Tickets now available

The Mercedes-Benz UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup has already kicked off and the Cross Country athletes are itching to hear that start gun send them off on the first lap of the season. We are at the beginning of an extremely exciting season and have a lot of tight racing ahead of us. In the past four years, tens of thousands spectators have set off on a pilgrimage to Lenzerheide to see the world’s best compete between the alpine blue Heidsee lake and the Rothorn mountain. This year, this beautiful part of Switzerland will again become a hot spot for world-class athletes and world-class fans alike from August 9-11. Everyone wanting to see the reigning World Champions Loic Bruni, Rachel Atherton, Nino Schurter and Kate Courtney compete in their rainbow jerseys for the last time in Europe before having to defend their titles in Canada, can secure Early Bird Tickets online until June 30 and save 25%.

Tight racing and champagne guaranteed

Lenzerheide has seen three men able to conquer the STRAIGHTline with the fastest times in the past four years: Greg Minnaar (RSA, 2015 and 2017), Danny Hart (GBR, 2016) and Loic Bruni (FRA, 2018). Will Loic manage to become the first athlete to achieve the “repeat” and win in Lenzerheide in two consecutive years? He has already proven that he’s had a great off-season and was in great shape during his win in Maribor, but will he be able to relive those golden memories of grandeur in Lenzerheide once again? Or will Greg Minnaar keep his rhythm going after winning in 2015 and 2017 and take the win in 2019? One rider, who has come close multiple times and would surely love to (finally) banish his demons and take the top step is Aaron Gwin. The American was beaten by Danny Hart by 0.096 seconds in 2016 and his 2017 run, which would have surely put him on the top step of the podium, was disrupted by a rear flat. Will he have more luck with his new team in 2019?

Looking at the women’s field it has to be said that Rachel Atherton has dominated on the STRAIGHTline. The Brit won the World Cup races in 2015 and 2016 and threw down a run for the ages during the UCI World Championships last year. By the time she crossed the finish line and sped into the finish corral, the clock showed an astonishing 9.983 second lead, silencing any hopes her opponents had, even though none of the athletes on the hot seat had made obvious mistakes during their runs. Will Atherton dominate once again, this time on a bike of her own, or will the charging Tahnée Seagrave (GBR) and Tracey Hannah (AUS) be able to snatch the win away, like Myriam Nicole (FRA) did in 2017?

Even more excitement thanks to Short Track Premiere

Switzerland is an epicenter of Cross Country craziness. The spectators are certainly in the running to be the loudest in the world (they surely have had more than enough to celebrate thanks to N1NO) and there is no reason to expect it will be any different this year. Fans can look forward to a premiere in Lenzerheide this year, since the Cross Country Short Track (XCC) will be held at a Swiss World Cup for the first time. The exciting sprint discipline will not only decide the starting order for the main race on Sunday, but athletes will already be fighting for vital points in the World Cup title race. Will local hero Nino Schurter already get the spectators stoked and send a message for race day Sunday? His competition will not be leaning back and letting him take the reigns that easily, that is for sure. Whether it will be Mathieu van der Poel (NED), Gerhard Kerschbaumer (ITA), Henrique Avancini (BRA) or Schurter’s fellow countrymen Florian Vogel (SUI) and Mathias Flückiger (SUI), the list of candidates for the upset is long.

If you thought the men’s field was competitive, the women’s field will deliver another huge dose of excitement with a number of athletes having what it takes to climb on the top of the podium. World Champion Kate Courtney (USA) will return to the shores of the Heidsee with a head filled with amazing memories from last year’s thrilling race, during which she was able to find an extra gear, which was enough to let her take the win ahead of Annika Langvad (DEN). Will she be able to repeat last year’s success in Lenzerheide or will the Swiss also be able to celebrate a home win in the women’s field? With Alessandra Keller and Jolanda Neff, they certainly have two very strong candidates, racing in front of their home audience, which should add an extra dose of motivation for them to find the speed necessary to finish first.

For mountain bike fans, the last European World Cup stop of the year, which takes place from August 9-11, promises to deliver a gripping race weekend with absolute world-class athletes.

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Sat 18th May, 2019 @ 12:30 am

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