The fifth round of the UCI Downhill World Cup took place in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, over the weekend where Elliott Heap and Mike Jones were back in action.
Team CRC Mavic Manager Nigel Page brings us this report:
The track is pretty steep and very fast, a bike park type track with a few natural sections but a track where times are very tight due to the high speeds and lack of very technical sections, so you have to go flat out. It’s quite short also around the three minute mark for the top elite men.
Mike and Elliott both had good practice but Mike stamped his foot pretty hard into a big rock just adding to his wrist injury but both riders made it through safely to Sunday’s finals.
Mike did the best he could just not able to get up to mid season top World Cup pace and finished in 54th position which was disappointing for the rapid young Welshman but it is so hard to come back on pace mid season not fully 100% after an injury, so Mike has to keep healthy working on his recovery and stay positive for the last races of the season. We still have two more World Cup rounds to go in Canada and Italy with a few weeks’ break.
Here’s Elliott’s rundown of his weekend:
The track was so dusty and loose all week – I was struggling to find grip and when qualies came around a lot of riders went down due to the massively dusty conditions. I had a steady run – nothing wild – and just got down the hill and managed to qualify 43rd which is mid-pack and away from that bubble that I seem to find myself in quite a lot throughout this year. I was happy to make it through qualies comfortably.
Race day came and we had some rain which made the track way better. The woods were slippery which made the track way more technical. I had two good practice runs before it was time for race runs.
I set off out the gate and had the first two turns well; managed to struggle my way through the wild rock garden up top and once I’d got through this wild group of obstacles I knew I could put the hammer down and try and claw back some time. I came through the finish and wasn’t happy with my top section but somehow I managed to come through into first place which was a shock!
As the top riders came through I got pushed back and I ended up in 24th place which is somewhere close to the top 20! I’m getting closer and closer to that goal of hitting the top 20!
I’m looking forward to the next round at MSA. A huge thank you to my dad for taking time out of work to come and help out as a mechanic and being there to support me and Mike, also massive thanks to Brooks for being a top mechanic and having my bike running tip top all week.
Young Elliott Heap gave it his all and put in a storming race run to post a time of 3:05 getting faster as he got further down the track. This time put Elliott on the hot seat for a while and he eventually finished 24th which is an amazing position for his first year in Elite men. Something to build on with confidence for the future. Well done Elliott amazing results.
A big thanks to Elliott’s dad for going along to help out whilst I was away at another event and also to Brooks as team mechanic and all our sponsors for their support.
[All images by Fraser Britton]