July 08, 2017 (Lenzerheide, SUI) – Canada’s Finnley Iles (Specialized Gravity Powered by Sram) is on fire and took home his fourth victory this season in the Junior Men’s final at Round 5 of the UCI MTB World Cup in Lenzerheide, SUI effectively wrapping up the overall title again.
Greg Minnaar (RSA) Santa Cruz Syndicate earned his 21st career victory and strengthened his lead in the Elite Men’s World Cup standings, while Myriam Nicole (Fra) Commencal/Vallnord delivered back-to-back victories with her second consecutive World Cup win in the Elite Women’s final and now tops the standings.
Overnight rain cleared up for dry conditions as Isles from Whistler, B.C. also the reigning Junior Men’s world champ, powered to his third consecutive win and fourth this season. The talented rider now has 280 points and an insurmountable 140-point lead over his main rival Matt Walker (Gbr) Madison Saracen Factory Team who was not at Lenzerheide. With only two events remaining Walker cannot catch Isles giving the Canuck his second consecutive overall crown.
“I pretty happy with how things went today,” said Isles. “it’s really special to take the overall again. The overall was sort of in the back of my mind all week and I knew I had a chance to take it this weekend. but you have to focus on each race. I was thinking about it during my run and almost blew straight off the first corner. I was just thinking ‘What Am I doing?’ I managed to focus and ride pretty well in the top part after that. It was slippery this morning so you really had to be on it. I fell like I rode pretty good so I’m happy with the outcome.”
Fellow Canuck, Vaea Verbeeck, matched her best result this year claiming 7th in the Elite Women’s final as France’s Nicole went head-to-head for the win against Rachel Atherton (Gbr) Trek Factory who signaled she back with a second place in the final after placing second in the qualifying round as well.
“Yes 7th is my best result this year and also matches my best world cup results from 2014. It’s been a long ride with injuries the past couple of years and it’s good to be back here! My best ever race result would have to be 6th at Hafjell’s World Championships in 2014 as well. I dream of race that track again! It is soon perfect for me,” commented Verbeeck.
Emilie Siegenthaler (Sui) Pivot Factory Racing was third while Tracey Hannah (Aus) Polygon was 4th and Tahnee Seagrave (Gbr) Transition Bikes / FMD Factory Racing took the final podium spot. Canada’s Miranda Miller (Can) Specialized Gravity finished 12th on the day.
Nicole with 980 points passed Hannah at 900 points in the overall standing with Seagrave in third at 819. Manon Carpenter (Gbr) Radon Factory Downhill Team is 4th with 644 points and Atherton is 5th with 637. Verbeeck sits 12th with 215 points and Miller follows in 13th with 197 points.
Laurie Greenland (Gbr) MS Mondraker Team was the first to go under the 3-min mark but Danny Hart (Gbr) MS Mondraker Team went even faster. Minnaar smashed Hart’s time by almost two seconds with 2:57.042 and Troy Brosnan (Aus) Canyon Factory Racing DH looked like he might eclipse him but came up just short.
“It’s not the best way to win as Aaron was having a great ride,” said Minnaar. “But that’s racing it happens… my run started off a bit stiff and I tried to pull back a bit, and I stalled in the rocks. I just thought I really need to work hard to get things going. I pushed hard through the middle and felt like I caught up a bit of time.
“It felt nice, I don’t think I could have done much better. It was a nice solid run. It was a tough track in tough conditions. One of the hardest things is that there were sharp rocks everywhere, so we had to run a higher pressure just to make sure I could get down. It’s not an easy track to master.”