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If you asked us to give you the name of one MTB World Cup location that best sums up the raw power of cross country (XC) and the high speed of downhill (DH), we’d certainly have one location at the top of our list: Lenzerheide. Far away from the sport’s roots in North America and tucked into the Swiss alps, this small alpine resort is 1,500 meters above sea level with just 3,000 inhabitants, where nature borders on wilderness.
Let’s start with racing. Its XC offering is best described as “a complete course.” Neither too hilly, nor sitting at a high altitude, this means that it needs the complete rider to win there. Someone who is both fit and fast but also as technically sharp as a razor. Those short punchy climbs lead into fast technical descents, where the rider’s heart rate will have little if any opportunity to drop. Universally embraced by fans, it’s a spectator-friendly course with a lot of high-octane antics.
For DH, the course is technically challenging with a mix of natural and man-made lines. Riders are faced with a barrage of key sections right from the gate so they can’t let their concentration slip. What we like best about this track is that it sits both on the long side of short and the short side of long, meaning that the difference between the Rainbow jersey and an also-ran is microscopic, leading to open-brake, on-the-edge riding. Another one for the fans.
Oh, and did we mention its idyllic alpine location? It’s nestled deep in the beautiful Graubunden canton, which boasts over 4,000km of mountain bike trails. In what can arguably claim to exist as the current heartland of mountain biking, there’s no doubt that the crowds will be big!
The riders and staff agree:
Marc Gullickson, USA Cycling’s Performance Director for Mountain Bike.
“Attending the World Championships is always a special honor for our USA riders but when the Worlds are held in Switzerland it just adds to the importance and prestige of the event since Switzerland is probably the strongest nation when it comes to XCO mountain biking. Our riders are fired-up and ready to head over to race with the best.
I am confident we will have a strong World Championships. Many of our elite riders have raced well on the Lenzerheide track in the past so that gives them extra confidence. I love taking teams to Switzerland.
The events are very well run and the courses are always complete and comprehensive with tracks that test our riders in all aspects of XCO racing. The people are friendly and helpful and, of course, the mountains are spectacular as well.”
Filippo Colombo, Swiss Cycling, Swiss U23 Champion 2018.
“I’m always stoked to be selected for the World Championships and the opportunity to ride for the Swiss team — especially because this year’s race is in Lenzerheide. It’s a great track that has absolutely everything for mountain biking: nice, short, hard climbs that mix with man-made and natural descents. It’s going to be exciting.”
Chloe Woodruff, Elite Women XCO, USA Cycling.
It's very easy to fall head-over-heels in love with Lenzerheide. I'm actually staying here up until the World Championships and have just returned from my first ride here since 2016. I couldn't have picked a better location to be for the next couple of weeks. There are signs everywhere for mountain bike trails, walking paths, and there are plenty of small paved farm roads to keep off the main roads. The mountainous backdrop is just incredible and there are plenty of other outside activities to do aside from riding (but seriously, the riding is so good here!). I'm feeling confident in my form after another solid World Cup result in La Bresse last weekend. This next weekend I'm jumping into the Swiss Cup in Basel to fine-tune things a bit more. In the meantime, we'll be enjoying our training rides in Lenzerheide (and chocolate!).
With the countdown to the race now coming to its deafening crescendo, our preparations are winding down. The kits have long been sent to both USA Cycling and the Swiss Cycling Federations, our cowbell has been polished, and our chainsaws have been tuned. We will be coming live from all the races throughout the week so stayed tuned to our social media channels for all the behind-the-scenes action from our partners at the Swiss and USA Federations.
We’ll also be on site with Swiss Cycling so drop by our stand for a coffee, a chat, and a sneak peek at something super special on the mountain bike front.
Lenzerheide: WE ARE READY!!!!
Time Table -
Wednesday 5/9 — XC Team Relay
Thursday 6/9 — Junior Women XCO/Junior Men XCO
Friday 7/9 — U23 Women XCO/U23 Men XCO
Saturday 8/9 — Elite Women XCO/Elite Men XCO
Sunday 9/9 — Downhill Men/Women (Junior/Elite)
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