The second-to-last stop of the 2021 World Cup season took us to Lenzerheide, Switzerland this past weekend, and it provided no shortage of excitement. Each discipline was filled with nail-biting action as racers focused on stacking points for the overall rankings. It was the last European stop of the 2021 season before the whole circus flies across the pond for World Cup finals at Snowshoe, West Virginia.
Crowds cheered for hometown Cross Country favorites, recent Olympic champion Jolanda Neff and Nino Schurter, fresh off his World Championship victory. Unfortunately, neither would wind up on top of the podium at Lenzerheide. Fellow Swiss rider, Sina Frei would have moments at the front, but after an unfortunate flat on the final lap, came through the line in fifth place. The other Swiss favorite, Mathias Flueckiger had plenty of time leading the men’s race as well, but could only pull off a third place finish. At the end of the day, it would be Frenchman Victor Koretzki and Englishwoman Evie Richards at the front of their respective races. Series leader Loana Lecomte finished in fourth place, but locked up the overall title, after Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, who was sitting in second overall announced her withdrawal from the rest of the season before the race. Both victories were hard-fought, with numerous riders jockeying for the lead throughout each race. Koretzki’s victory wasn’t sealed until the final stretch of the last lap, with Schurter launching a last-ditch effort to catch the leader, culminating in a spectacular pass of Flueckiger. But it wasn’t quite enough for the World Champ.
The downhill course was fast, loose, and required a level of precision riding that the French wound up dominating. For the women, Myriam Nicole took top spot, while Loris Vergier sealed the win in the men’s race. French riders would actually wind up taking the top four spots in the men’s race, incredibly, with just over half a second separating them. The top ten were separated by only 3.3 seconds. For the women, Tahnée Seagrave, who qualified second and who’s finished second in Lenzerheide twice before, put down a blistering run to beat, but Myriam Nicole, fresh off her World Championship win in Val di Sole, couldn’t be bested. She pulled out every stop and finished with a comfortable 2.6 second lead.
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