In Junior Men, Finn Iles once again showed that he is staking his claim as the top Junior. With one-off line choice and practicing with “smoothing-and-steady” in mind, he stood out in his riding. Sylvian Cougoureax wasn’t far behind though, and is looking to contest for the win, in a big way. It’s exciting to see the Junior Men battle it out in such a talented and deep field this year. The Elite Women are quickly shrinking the time gaps between themselve. Tahnée Seagrave had a controlled and methodical approach to her morning, and it paid off, as she went fastest. Rachel Atherton was close behind, only trailing by .4 seconds. Miriam Nicole is back and shredding, finding third with aggressive and precise riding. In Elite Men, the names were all shuffled up, but in the most exciting of ways. Danny Hart solidly landed himself in the top spot, closely followed by George Brannigan in second place, just 1.870 seconds back. Greg Minnaar in third, Mike Jones in fourth, and Laurie Greenland in fifth. Aaron Gwin had a spectacular crash, but seems unharmed. With a rapidly changing track, and a host of riders threatening the top step of the podium, all three categories are going to a wild show once Finals rolls around.
Jump into the Qualifying coverage below, and stay tuned to see how it all shakes down in Finals!
Backing up his Timed Training result, Top qualifier for Elite Men, Danny Hart put down a smoking run. He went fastest at all the splits, which neither other top qualifier did. Finals is going to be bonkers.
Practice makes perfect; Tahnée Seagrave spent a lot of time dialing in her line choice this morning. It paid off in a big way, going fastest at the fastest first split, and then onto being the fastest Women's qualifier!
This photo doesn't need much captioning. 8th for Brook MacDonald...so low!
This was a gnarly moment: Rachel Atherton blitzed into this section, looking more like a rally car than bike rider, as she backed the bike into this corner at a 45-degree angle, off a small drop, and rode out with speed. 2nd place on the day...whoa.
He's an expert angler, a top grafter, and one of the nicest dudes around. Adam Brayton is the people's champ this season, and slotting into 7th in qualifiers is just further stoking the fire further. .
Romain Paulhan has been riding with poise and style all weekend, while stll going quite fast. 52nd heading into Finals, but with a few less whips and general flair, the results will shed digits quickly.
Admittedly riding comfortably and within herself, Vaea Verbeeck just wants to have fun this weekend as she rejoins the circuit. 13th isn't too bad for casual riding!
Storming into TV rooms around the World last year here in Lenzerheide, Kenta Gallagher showed us all that his 17th place qualifier in 2015 was no fluke, with an 18th in 2016. The yoing Scotsman is one to watch in Finals.
They don't bit (yet), thankfully.
1/1/2/2 in his split times, Sylvian Cougoureux is on pace for a win. 2nd place qualifier, and looking more than capable.
Riding with determination, Manon Carpenter was looking focused heading into qualies; she found 5th with her efforts.
One of the cool underdog stories of 2016, Graeme Mudd has been a fun addition to the mix as he chases his comeback to racing. 21st on the day, and only getting faster.
Riding in unassuming kit and on a grey frame, Mark Wallace has been flying under the radar all week. 13th in qualies has everyone's attention though.
14th in qualifying is not what Gee Atherton was looking for, but after a rough morning, it's more about making it onto Finals, and then putting down the power when it counts.
Fastest in the speed trap, Emilie Steigenthaler was riding very well, but had a gnarly crash on The Pluge. She's ok, and will race tomorrow via her protected status.
Leaving a wake of destruction and using all the travel available, Brendan Fairclough has been riding like a man on a mission, and we're digging it. 24th, but looking Top 10 fast for Finals.
Carrying speed like a shuttle returning to Earth, Troy Brosnan is definitely not lost is space on this wild track. 6th place on the third rock from the sun.
Rupert Chapman held down the fort for this team, going 64rh in Finals, which teammate Eddie Masters crashed out of contention. We know the Kiwi National Champ is capable, so we'll see what he has in store for Finals.
By now, everyone has seen the seat-bounce Plunge huck - Aaron Gwin doesn't know half-measures, but he does know how to find impossible traction to still finish in 19th after a solid wipeout.
Chris Kilmurry was running numbers on the side of the track, scoping out line choices and speed. Here, Gwin is the fastest between two points.
The light cloud cover kept the heat at bay and lighting ever-changing. But, it was still another lovely day in Lenzerheide.
Some of the looses riding all week has been thanks to Remi Thirion, to no one's suprise. He's looking his only self more and more at each race. 10th.
His bottom splits show that Gaetan Vige may have a little more to offer for Finals than his 6th place in qualies. The young Frenchman knows how to win, so Finals should be a good battle.
Carina Cappellari has been looking steady and precise all week. The controled approach landed her in 7th going into finals.
What a madman...Laurie Greenland has been riding with the "SEND" dial turned to 11. Hucking the triple, and holding impossible inside lines, it only makes sense that he qualified in 5th.
Harry Health has been riding this weekend like his self of old. It's great to see the former Privateer sending it hard out here into 27th.
Loris Vergier had a solid bobble in a fast corner low down on the track, and with times so tight, it's easy to lose spots with a simple mistake. 35th for #5, we reckon he'll have a little something extra for Finals.
Nikolas Nesteroff was putting on show in the early morning light, gapping the rough bits and making the worse section of track look simple. 4th in Junior Men, he is one to watch come Finals.
17th for #17, Florent Payet is one of those riders who just crushes it with consistency and efficient riding. He's been steady climbing the results sheet, and he is looking very capable for Finals.
Find a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life...working hard, or hardly working?
Every once in a while, someone comes out of the woodwork and throughs themselves into the mix. Monica Hrastnik has done just that here in Switzerland by blasting around the outside into 6th!
Mariana Salazar Palomo is not a house-hold name, but she shreds and has seriously competitive form on a bike. 8th.
Tegan Molloy has been finding her way back to race pace, and it all seems to be sorted out now; onto the main event in 18th after missing out in Leogang.
Matt Walker qualified in 5th, but if he cleans up a messy final two splits, he'll be right on for podium contention.
Steve Peat qualified in 42nd place here in the land of cheese and chocolate, at 42 years old. Badass.
Greg Minnaar has one of the most brutally stiff suspension step-ups on the circuit, so to be pushing this bike this hard, you know he want #20 here in a big way. 3rd place by 1.898 seconds, if someone can find that time, it's the G.O.A.T.
She's back and looking aggresive as ever! Miriam Nicole has been riding like a woman possessed all weekend. 3rd place heading into Finals, we look forward to seeing her put down a scorcher!
Josh Bryceland is riding renewed, and with that, he's looking fast as usual. 11th on the day, if he cleans up his top two splits, he'll be well inside the Top 10 where we usually see him.
Stitches in his knee didn't phrase Greg Williamson one bit today. The flat tire in his qualifying run though, that was a litle harder to make up for; protected, so the 150th place doesn't matter, and he'll get to race in Finals.
Anyone who was surprised to see George Brannigan in 2nd place at the end of the day, clearly hasn't been paying attention. The Kiwi is looking ridiculously fast, and is loving his new bike/team. A happy rider is a fast rider.
Going 5th at the first two splits, Morgane Charre had a big OTB off of The Plunge drop about 5 seconds after this photo was taken - just after Emlie. She's ok, but will also use her pretected status to race tomorrow.
In his second year as an Eilte, Luca Shaw is quietly crushing it. Consistency is key in this sport, which he is showing he has in spades. 12th for the #12.
Amaury Pierron isn't just back from injury, he's in 15th going into Finals. That's pretty badass considering he was in dual wrist casts the last time we saw him.
Styled out and pinned, Connor Fearon had the fast speed trap today, which put him into 9th in qualifiers. He's a favorite among many this weekend, and we are all exicited to see his race run.
Tracey Hannah's main complaint today was that she has to take a Maths class in Uni soon. We feel you on that one Tracey! 4th heading into finals.
Sam HIll has looked unphased all week by the ever-changing track. He could be a wildcard for Finals after qualfiying in 26th.
A little early on the Finals celebration, but we appreciate the enthusiasm!