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.
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
In the ELITE WOMEN’S
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.”
- Tracey HANNAH (AUS) 3:42.107
- Nina HOFFMANN (GER) +2.435
- Kate WEATHERLY (NZL) + 9.360
- Marine CABIROU (FRA) +9.564
- 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
The last man who stood a chance of taking t
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.
- Loic BRUNI (FRA) 3:16.132
- Greg MINNAAR (RSA) +0.324
- Troy BROSNAN (AUS) +0.746
- Danny HART (GBR) +1.994
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Tracey HANNAH (AUS) – 650 points
- Rachel ATHERTON (GBR) – 500 points
- Nina HOFFMANN (GER) – 475 points
- Marine Cabirou (FRA) – 440 points
- Veronika WIDMANN (ITA) – 307 points
- Troy BROSNAN (AUS) – 520 points
- Loic BRUNI (FRA) – 515 points
- Amaury PIERRON (FRA) – 450 points
- Danny HART (GBR) – 435 points
- Greg MINNAAR (RSA) – 321 points
- Loris VERGIER (FRA) – 297 points
- Matt WALKER (GBR) – 274 points
- Mark WALLACE (CAN) – 263 points
- Aaron GWIN (USA) – 262 points
- Charlie HARRISON (USA) – 244 points
NEXT UP: Round 4, Andorra 6th & 7th July
With thanks Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull, UCI and Shimano SA / Coolheat.