Under a blazing sun and with the fast track running in ideal conditions, Leogang once again put on an exciting race. With the time right and the margin for error zero, those who were able to hang it on the ragged edge of control for a full run came out on top.
In the juniors, Finn Iles was able to bounce back from a rough week in Fort William and a slow qualifer to nail the run he was after when it counted. With Matt Walker hot on his heals in second, there is now a rivalry for the overall heating up. In third we saw Atherton protege and World Cup rookie Kade Edwards on the podium for the first time.
With Rachel Atherton out, once again all the attention has shifted to Tracey Hannah and Tahnee Seagrave. With Tracey leading the series and setting the fastest time in qualifying she was certainly the favorite. But Tahnee has been so close so many times, and on the wrong side of luck even more than we can count with injuries over the years. No one would ever deny she has the potential to win, it has always been a question of when. This afternoon, however, that wait came to an end. In a nail biter of a final that came down to the very end, and a winning margin of just over half a second, Tahnee's day finally arrived. With three races and three winners this year's women's World Cup is shaping up to be one of the best ever.
Not to be outdone, the men's race too had some of the closest racing we have seen all year. Times were super tight with only seconds separating the top ten before Loris Vergier blew everyone's doors off with a blazing race run. The others tried as they might, but neither Troy Brosnan or Greg Minnaar could raise their game to challenge. It wasn't until Aaron Gwin, the final rider down the hill, that Loris really started to sweat it out on the hot seat. Gwin's splits were up, then down, then over a second clear after carrying blistering pace down the motorway in a speed tuck. Aaron nailed the final steep section of track to extend his lead, eventually roaring across the line with one and a half seconds to spare. Just as in the women's race we have now had three different male winners is as many rounds, and the incredible tight points race is going to make the 2017 World Cup a wild ride.
See you again in three weeks time as we head to the steep and infamous venue of Andorra.
It was a scorcher today in Leogang. Hot and hazy at the top of the mountain and brutally hot at the bottom.
Sadly a crash in training yesterday ruptured a vein in Loic Bruni's thigh. The injury did not fully show itself until late in the evening when his leg became extremely swollen and he was admitted to the hospital overnight for further evaluation.
Tracey Hannah making some last minute adjustments to deal with the bone dry track that was running even faster than in previous days.
Loris Vergier's results this season have seen him in high demand amongst the various media outlets.
Manon's race weapon getting prepped for finals.
Troy Brosnan's Canyon relaxing in the pits before getting ridden straight onto the podium.
Nothing but hot and hard summer here all day long in the Austrian mountains.
The hills are alive with the sound of, er, turns being railed and buzzing feehubs.
Trek's young gun Kade Edwards ticked off his first podium spot today, which will surely open the flood gates for many more.
Kaos Seagrave missed out by less than a second in making the double Seagrave podium today. 4th for Kaos.
After disappointment in Fort William, Finn Iles was back on the top step again here in Leogang.
Finn Iles, first at every single split... 2.3 seconds the winner.
Finn knew he had a good run bit had to wait it out until Matt Walker came down.
Matt Walker kept things interesting in the title chase finishing second to Finn Iles.
Kade Edwards, Finn Iles, and Kaos Seagrave sweat it out on the hot seat during Matt Walker's run. Unfortunately for Kaos it would be a run fast enough to bump him from the podium.
Two familiar faces and one first timer in Kade Edwards on the junior podium.
We heart the mountains...
Tracey Hannah taking a few minutes to enjoy pinning the number one plate onto her World Cup leader's jersey. It's been a while since we've seen anyone but Rachel Atherton in this piece of kit.
Tracey was happy to get this silly little crash out of the way in training rather than the finals.
Latvian rider Paula Zibasa holding down the top qualifier and roaring to victory in the junior women's race.
Emelie Siegenthaler hitting the podium once again here in Austria.
Another podium for Manon Carpenter.
Manon Carpenter was in the scrap for the top step today, but had to settle for fourth in a close match, only 2.9 seconds from going fastest.
Myriam Nicole sending hard for 'Mitch' - that's Remi Thirion - and coming away with 3rd place.
Myriam Nicole was third, just 2.5 seconds back to make this one of the closest women's races we've had in some time.
It's been a long time coming, but Tahnee finally put all the pieces together.
Tahnee just a few seconds from her first World Cup win.
With one rider to go the nerves set in on the hot seat.
Tracey Hannah, last on track.
Just over half a second separated Tracey Hannah from back-to-back victories; she still holds onto the overall lead, though.
Follow My Dream... FMD racing is a family affair and the first people to congratulate Tahnee on her big win were her brother Kaos and her father Tony. One fine, long-awaited day.
What a day for Tahnee, Tracey, and Pom Pon in Leogang.
The paparazzi gets cooled off by the fastest ladies in Leogang.
Congrats Tahnee Seagrave.
What's the best way to wash off a bit at the end of the day? With champagne of course.
Red Bull halftime entertainment done in style.
The racing on track was as hot as the temperature with riders doing their utmost to keep cool before dropping in.
George Brannigan snagged himself a nice and secluded spot for warm up, tucked away from prying eyes.
The man with the best hair in downhill; Faustin Figaret.
In just over three minutes it'll all be over.
13th for the Bulldog.
Jure Zabjek had been killing it at the iXS rounds, taking multiple rounds, but has never put a good score down at the World Cup... until today. 12th for the Slovenian.
Ride of the day from Jure Zabjek? The Slovenian national champ rode consistent splits and was rewarded with an excellent 12th.
A disastrous start to the season for the World Champion saw little improvement today with a snapped a chain, but at least 11th brings him closer to protected status.
Danny Hart hasn't been able to find the form that saw him dominate in 2016, and would have to settle for 11th.
Mick Hannah has a fantastic run going, but a slowly leaking puncture slowed him down after the motorway to lose precious time.
Marcelo Gutierrez found himself 9 seconds back today which set him outside the top 20.
That'll do, Phil. After a protest run on his hardtail in practice, Atwill meant business and duly delivered with a 16th.
What a day for Bernard Kerr. After being denied a podium at Worlds in Val di Sole by one spot, he finally got on the box for the first time in his career.
The first taste of World Cup podium for Bernard Kerr. We've seen the Brit consistently climb up the rankings year after year.
Jack Moir plunges into the final chute en route to 9th.
Jack Moir has still got it... Another top 10 this afternoon (with a crash) for the most chilled out man on the mountain.
Some of team GB watching the top 20 in the fight for the podium spots.
Laurie Greenland making light work of the roots and ruts that lead onto the long motorway. A mere two tenths off the podium.
One fine day on the mountain for the Syndicate squad.
After a rough start to the season, Luca Shaw finally put down the run everyone knows he is capable of to land himself in 7th.
Luca Shaw entering the finish arena and the top 10.
Its crazy to think that Luca Shaw was the lowest placing Syndicate rider in 7th!
Big wheels and big views with Loris Vergier.
Loris Vergier riding like an animal to a career-best equaling 2nd place.
Times were super tight until Loris Vergier came down and blew it wide open.
A very happy Loris Vergier.
Troy Brosnan speed tucking into the darkness.
Not the top spot, but Troy was super happy to cross the line and know he would be on the podium.
Can Greg Minnaar respond to Aaron Gwin's pace in Andorra, or will someone else get a look in?
The final speed tuck from Greg Minnaar.
The hot seat was genuinely sweltering today, the top three could do nothing but look on as the last splits flashed green.
Aaron Gwin making the earth rumble as he smashes the first corner.
After tight splits, Aaron threw it down on the bottom half of the track to coast into the line with time to spare.
The undisputed king of Leogang makes it three from three in Austria and leaves sitting second in the overall...
Since the blown tire debacle of 2014, Aaron Gwin simply can't miss here in Leogang.
Today's winner, Aaron Gwin makes it three in a row.
17 wins in total for the American who pitched up late in 2009 for a quick go at bicycle racing.
These three guys put on one heck of a show.
Win or lose they're on the booze. That's the Syndicate.
Only missing the Leogang podium once in the race's history, Minnaar still leads the series by a whisker.
Your 2017 Leogang gangsters; Gwin, Vergier, Minnaar, Brosnan and Kerr.
Man the champagne mirror.
The men decided to jump off the podium ad spray down the crowd who had been standing in the hot sun all day.
It's impossible to get tired of the views in this part of the world.