The Fight for the Rainbow Jersey on Red Bull TV
LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND – SEPTEMBER 4, 2018 - Everything is set for the grand finale of this year’s Downhill and Cross-Country race season at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships presented by Mercedes Benz this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday all past race results count for nothing. Only the results from this weekend will determine who wins the fight for the coveted Rainbow Jersey and the title of World Champion. Can Swiss Cross-Country stars Jolanda Neff and Nino Schurter defend their respective titles in front of their home crowd? Will the title in the Men’s Downhill go to a Frenchman once again, or will the old guard in form of Aaron Gwin (USA) and Greg Minnaar (RSA) strike back after an unlucky season? Will the title in the Women’s Downhill be decided between the two Brits, Rachel Atherton and Tahnée Seagrave, or will we see another surprise victor like last year?
Watch the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships presented by Mercedes Benz live from Lenzerheide, Switzerland on September 8-9, on Red Bull TV!
After three World Cups over the past three years, the 4.2km-long “STRAIGHTline” in Lenzerheide will now host a World Championship for the first time. Not everything is the same though as the high-speed track will greet the athletes with a brand-new section in the woods in the lower third of the track. After an intense and exciting World Cup season, the competition in the Men’s Downhill is as fierce as it has ever been. Next to the young, yet extremely strong, roster of Frenchmen like World Cup Overall Champion Amaury Pierron, reigning World Champion Loic Bruni and young gun Loris Vergier, who have all won at least one World Cup this year, all eyes will be on the old guard. Both Greg Minnaar (RSA) and Aaron Gwin (USA) were sidelined with injuries for much of the World Cup season and once healthy again, have shifted all their focus specifically on the race in Lenzerheide. Especially Aaron Gwin, who has dominated the sport in recent years, won 17 World Cup races and five of the last seven World Cup Overall titles, will be eager to win the Rainbow Jersey, a feat that has eluded him thus far. Other red-hot favorites include two-time World Champion Danny Hart (GBR), Enduro star Martin Maes (BEL), who sensationally won the last World Cup of the year in La Bresse just over a week ago, young American Luca Shaw, Brook Macdonald (NZL), Troy Brosnan (AUS) and Laurie Greenland (GBR).
The women’s field saw a fierce battle between the two Brits Rachel Atherton and Tahnée Seagrave during the last few weeks of the World Cup season. Both will travel to Lenzerheide as clear-cut favorites for the title, but last year’s World Cup Overall winner Myriam Nicole (FRA) will likely be fully recovered from her mid-season injury and bring the fight to the two Brits. The surprise victory of Miranda Miller at last year’s World Championships also proved the point that anything can happen in the biggest single race of the year, which means that only one thing is certain: the racing in Lenzerheide is guaranteed to be hard fought and exciting.
The Cross-Country athletes will be greeted with the same brutally exhausting and demanding track from last year’s World Cup. With 188m of climbing to be done in each 4.2km-long lap, the course is guaranteed to bring athletes to the limit. The Swiss fans lining the course in Lenzerheide will especially be looking forward to Nino Schurter. The reigning World Champion and World Cup Overall Winner has the chance to defend his title on home soil and will heading into the race as the big favorite. However, contrary to his historical perfect season last year, Schurter has had to fight off a strong charge in this year’s World Cup season. Mathias Flückiger (SUI), Gerhard Kerschbaumer (ITA) and Sam Gaze (NZL) all managed to defeat the Swiss XCO dominator during the course of the season. While Gaze will not be able to start in Lenzerheide due to an injury, Kerschbaumer and Flückiger are sure to bring the fight to Schurter. Other riders who have the legs and lungs to potentially beat Schurter in his backyard include Mathieu van der Poel (NED) and the strong French contingent around Maxime Marotte, Jordan Sarrou and Titouan Carod.
Just like in the Men’s field, the Swiss fans will be cheering especially loud for one of their own. After winning the World Cup Overall Title, Jolanda Neff will be more than just motivated to defend her World Championship title in front of her home crowd. Her biggest competition in the fight for the title will likely be the same it has been all season long: Annika Langvad (DEN). Neff and Langvad will however also have to fend of the charge of the likes of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (FRA), Maja Wloszczowska (POL), last year’s Overall World Cup winner Yana Belomoina (UKR) and young guns Anne Tauber (NED), Emily Batty (CAN) and Kate Courtney (USA).
Watch the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Championships presented by Mercedes Benz free of charge, live and on demand, on redbull.tv/uci. The live coverage kicks off with Cross-Country on Saturday, September 8 at 12:00 CEST, while the world’s best Downhill riders will be taking the trail on Sunday, September 9 at 12:30pm CEST.
Please note that the broadcast will unfortunately be geoblocked in certain countries. Due to licensing agreements between the UCI and national/local broadcasters, Red Bull TV will NOT be able to provide a broadcast or VOD in the following countries:
Algeria, Argentina, Bahrein, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Palestine, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Uruguay, UAE, Vatican City, Venezuela, Yemen