Leogang DH World Cup Recap | Presented by SHIMANO

The third round of the 2019 UCI DH World Cup was held up in the big Alpine ski terrain of Leogang Austria. Riders were treated to drier, warmer conditions from the previous round but some revisions to the race track made things a lot more technical than what they were anticipating. Their work was cut out for them. Here is your full race recap.

Loic Bruni performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 // Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
World Champ Loic Bruni squashes the mixed wheel size bike down the tricky ‘Shimano Stairs’ section of the track.

THE TRACK

At slightly under 2,3km long with a vertical drop of 473m the 2019 World Cup track had a few revised sections which increased the technical side of things. The track is ‘full-on’ from the gate as a sharkfin berm shoots riders straight into a rough off-camber. A couple more changes near the top, in the middle of the track and towards the end were implemented to take some of the speeds down and to increase the technical challenge. Ride shotgun with Luca Shaw as he takes a practise run – speeds are pretty close to 60kph here.


RACE SUMMARY

In the ELITE WOMEN’S RACE New Zealand’s Kate Weatherly took the hot seat early on with a superb run. Marine Cabirou, one of the emerging French talents, was on a superb run almost certain to move into the hot seat after a superb top half before pushing the front end and going down. Remounting she crossed the line a mere 2 hundredths behind Weatherly.
Germany’s Nina Hoffman, who had grabbed her own first top-three finish at the previous round in Fort William, was next to threaten the fastest time. Using all of the track and with a loose, super exciting and wild style on the bike she smashed through to the finish line almost 7 seconds faster than current hot seat holder, Weatherly.
The Brit, Rachel Atherton, crashed early on in her run and took some time to compose herself and get back up to speed. A disappointed Atherton crossed the line outside of the top 5. The fastest qualifier Tracey Hannah then set off. Staying super low on the jumps with an aggressive and determined effort she went fastest in all the splits and took the win. The Aussie’s run was perfectly balanced amid the dusty conditions, which she admitted suited her.
Speaking after her win, Hannah said: “I’ve won three World Cups, but none of the World Cups I’ve won Rachel has started in. I’ve finally had the chance to be strong enough and fit enough to give her a run for her money. That means more to me than the World Cup win alone; racing against her and being able to win.”

Rachel Atherton performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019
Rachel Atherton went down early on in her run and soldiered on to salvage what she could towards the overall. 15th place is not where we are used to seeing Rachel.
Marine Cabirou performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019
French women Marine Cabirou was absolutely flying before washing out in a dry turn.
Kate Weatherly performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 10th, 2018 //
Tow time New Zealand National Champ Kate Weatherly sneaks onto her first World Cup podium with a fantastic 3rd place.
Tracey Hannah performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 /
With her domination of all 3 quali runs this year it was just a matter of time before a win in the final went her way. Today Tracey Hannah backed herself and out rode the best there is to take the win. Incredible riding.
Tracey Hannah seen at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019
A resurgent Tracey Hannah celebates her win.

Results:

  1. Tracey HANNAH (AUS) 3:42.107
  2. Nina HOFFMANN (GER) +2.435
  3. Kate WEATHERLY (NZL) + 9.360
  4. Marine CABIROU (FRA) +9.564
  5. Veronika WIDMANN (ITA) +12.085

In the ELITE MEN”S RACE the fastest qualifying time of Saturday was beaten early in the day as the rutted in. Greg Minnaar had gone fastest on Saturday, so the big question was whether he could convert that into a remarkable 22nd World Cup win.
The USA’s Charlie Harrison initially held the hot seat with his wildish run. It was not to be for very long though as Loïc Bruni was on track and absolutely flying. He was stealthy and silky smooth throughout his run and went three seconds quicker than Harrison. In an interview Bruni mentioned he didn’t think the time would hold, but he was clearly satisfied with his performance. An injured Aaron Gwin who doesn’t appear to be gelling with his new bike this season was 2.4 down on Bruni at the line. Danny Hart, Connor Fearon, Jure Zabjek and Amaury Pierron tried their utmost but could not match the time of Bruni at any of the splits. The Australian Troy Brosnan put in his trademark run of smooth, accurate and fast riding good enough to finish within a second of Bruni’s time. Second last rider down the hill, Loris Vergier was on pace with Bruni’s time but slid out near the bottom.
The last man who stood a chance of taking the top spot was Minnaar. Greg was faster towards the bottom of the track, but the damage had been done at the top, leaving Bruni to celebrate the win.
A delighted Bruni commented: “I was struggling on the top section at the beginning of the weekend, then yesterday at the bottom, so maybe today I kind of found the balance. I started the run pretty committed and I couldn’t really feel the grip. It was super-hard because it dried up a lot. I just held on, depended on everything I had – because every detail counts on this track – and it was enough.

Connor Fearon performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019
Connor Fearon used the flat pedals to good effect through the loose washed out turns. The Aussie floated into a 8th place finish on the day just 0.8 off of a podium position.
Aaron Gwin performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 //
Injured for sure, not quite one with his new bike one will never know. Regardless, it’s certainly just a matter of time until the American is back to his winning ways.
Danny Hart performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 /
It’s a new Danny Hart of late. The guy is calm and composed on the bike and blindingly quick on any track. We have an eye on him for the overall this year.
Troy Brosnan performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 // Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool // AP-1ZKJB3XG12111 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
Troy Brosnan – incredibly impressive on virtually any race track and through his consistency and clean riding is a deserved
Greg Minnaar performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 // Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool // AP-1ZKJB484D2111 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
How sweet a win would have been for Greg and all his fans. He was very close to it today, just 0.324 away. He is not sitting too badly in the overall either, – it’s not over yet. GM is back!
Loic Bruni performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria on June 9th, 2019 // Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool // AP-1ZKJB227N2111 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //
The World Champ showing pure pedigree by recovering from a big crash a week ago and taking his second win of the year. Loic is not a danger-man, he is THE man to beat this year.

Results:

  1. Loic BRUNI (FRA) 3:16.132
  2. Greg MINNAAR (RSA) +0.324
  3. Troy BROSNAN (AUS) +0.746
  4. Danny HART (GBR) +1.994
  5. Aaron GWIN (USA) +2.418

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

THE GOOD: GM is back! What could possibly be more exciting than having Greg Minnaar go P1 in qualifying on Saturday and then P2 in the race on Sunday. Well, yes, you might say seeing him take the win on Sunday and we would agree. But, for now, after some horrid luck over the last 12 months of World Cup racing it’s very satisfying to see SA’s hero up on the podium and moving up into 5th in the points. High 5’s and fist pumps to you Mr. Minn!

THE BAD: All the hating that the Leogang track has received over the years for being a dumbed down World Cup track, or for being little more than a Bike Park. The truth is that it offers some very unique challenges to racers from a bike setup point of view, how to carry speed where it counts and perfecting the art of the tuck. Even before the this year’s tweaked (and more technical track) it’s always provided something uniquely challenging to riders. Seeing how many of the world’s best crashed in their race runs reiterates just how technical the track is.

THE UGLY: South African riders Theo Erlangsen just not making it into finals and Stefan Garlicki being airlifted off the track after a crash.


TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

  1. This weekend’s wheelsize war was won by the 29er’s with a total of 7 of the top 10 men on 29er’s. Two riders were on 29er/27.5er combo and then Troy Brosnan was the only all 27.5 rider inside the top 10.
  2. The keys to the race had to be fast rolling rubber options. Harder suspension settings with some slower rebound to cope with the high speed booters.
  3. Carrying speed into the motorway is absolutely crucial at Leogang – as is knowing when it’s faster to tuck and having the patience in a race run to actually stop pedaling and tuck.
  4. Greg Minnaar has perfected the art of ‘slowing down to go faster’. The guy is unbelievably calm and smooth on the bike through the whole track. He puts the power down when it counts, brakes smoothly, nails all the landings perfectly and has truck loads of race craft which shows in his ability to read and react to a changing track. What an incredible athlete.

OVERALL RANKINGS after Round 3

ELITE WOMEN

  1. Tracey HANNAH (AUS) – 650 points
  2. Rachel ATHERTON (GBR) – 500 points
  3. Nina HOFFMANN (GER) – 475 points
  4. Marine Cabirou (FRA) – 440 points
  5. Veronika WIDMANN (ITA) – 307 points

ELITE MEN

  1. Troy BROSNAN (AUS) – 520 points
  2. Loic BRUNI (FRA) – 515 points
  3. Amaury PIERRON (FRA) – 450 points
  4. Danny HART (GBR) – 435 points
  5. Greg MINNAAR (RSA) – 321 points
  6. Loris VERGIER (FRA) – 297 points
  7. Matt WALKER (GBR) – 274 points
  8. Mark WALLACE (CAN) – 263 points
  9. Aaron GWIN (USA) – 262 points
  10. Charlie HARRISON (USA) – 244 points

NEXT UP: Round 4, Andorra 6th & 7th July


Super Bruni.

With thanks Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull, UCI and Shimano SA / Coolheat.


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