4 Things We Learned from the 2022 Leogang DH World Cup

Jun 14, 2022
by Ed Spratt  
X-rated style from Frixtalon.

Camille Balanche is Unbeatable in Leogang

Another year, another Leogang race, and another win for Camille Balanche. The Swiss rider made history last weekend as she became the only woman to have ever won there three times in a row. Previously, she equalled Rachel Atherton's two victories in 2015 and 2016. No rider has ever won more than three times, with Aaron Gwin being the only other person to have also won here three times in a row. Not only did Camille make it into the history books, but her winning margin was absolutely huge with 11 seconds separating her from Myriam Nicole. A winning margin this big hasn't been seen in Elite Women's racing since Marine Cabirou's Val di Sole win back in 2019.
Another World Cup win to add to Camille Balanche s repertoire.

Junior Are Starting to Rival Elites More Frequently

A theme that we are starting to see more and more this season is Junior riders laying down runs that rival the times of some of the top Elites. In Fort William, Jordan Williams and Jackson Goldstone's times would have net them a top-six finish and now in Leogang, we have another young rider rivalling the world's best.

British Junior racer Phoebe Gale had an incredible run at the weekend as she not only beat the fastest qualifier, Jenna Hastings, by 14 seconds, but she also laid down a run that would have seen her placing fourth in the Elite Women's race. You can argue that she had slightly better conditions, but this is still very impressive. It was Phoebe’s first win at this venue and her third overall Junior win, backing up two second-place finishes this season.
Phoebe Gale returns to the top spot in junior women.

The Fourth Split in the Woods was Crucial

There was one part of the course crucial to the win in Leogang, the tricky woods section. For this year, some work had been done to make it slightly easier in the wet and the trail crew had worked before finals day to clear some of the biggest ruts from the wet practice day. Even so, it was the part of the course that could make or break a run. Some riders would enter the woods in the green only to leave way off the pace.

One interesting thing we have spotted was that in every race, except the Junior Men's, the winner always made up time in the fourth split on other riders. While the top of the course was important, it's interesting to look at Matt Walker's winning run where he was only the fastest in the fourth split. There is one exception to this trend which is Jackson Goldstone. He lost a lot of time at the top of the course with a crash and made up time on the race winner in the fourth split, but unlike the three other races, it wasn't enough to take the win. Without the mistake at the top of his run, it looks like he could have taken another win.
Fourth for Amaury Pierron after coming down fastest with only a few riders to go.

A Disappointing Race for French Riders

Finally, the tricky conditions and course in Leogang seem to have not suited the French riders last weekend as we saw the worst performance in the Elite men's race that we have seen for some time. So far this year we have always seen six French Elite male racers inside the top 20, but Leogang saw this drop to just four. Even in the equally wet and wild Leogang race last year, France equalled other 2022 races with six inside the top 20.

Topping the nations inside the top 20 this time was Great Britain which managed to fit five riders into the top of the results sheet including a top-two finish. Trailing the French riders were three from the USA, and two each from Australia, Austria and Canada among the 20 fastest riders.
Benoit Coulanges could all but taste victory today. The splits were green until disaster struck late in his run robbing him once again.

Author Info:
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Member since Mar 16, 2017
2,722 articles

  • 301 0
 5, was able to watch it for free & Rob was commentating...
  • 18 4
 and Claudio!
  • 96 0
 5. Wyn or lose, we're on the booze.
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 6. Don't manual part of the track you haven't done before (Laurie Greenland).
  • 65 7
 5. Even though this is the last WC race at Leogang we will see for years, it was amazing. RIP downhill mountain biking. Now that its over, Minnaar has sealed himself as the GOAT, Gwin won't be able to win two races this year to meet him. Rachel Atherton remains the GOAT on the womens side. Long live Redbull Hardline Series!
  • 4 57
flag moutnbiker (Jun 14, 2022 at 14:26) (Below Threshold)
 please explain, is this due to the fact that Red Bull Media lost on a new contract and is being taking over by Discovery Sports? If it is, i think is might just be a good thing. Discovery has more cash to throw toward its broadcasting and might make more visible to more viewers.
  • 44 0
 @moutnbiker: Man I hope you are right but throwing cash at something doesn't mean a whole lot and guarantees nothing. Pretty sure Outside has funds and still cancelled beta MTB...
  • 34 0
 @moutnbiker: If you havn't experienced how badly Eurosport that is part of Discovery Sports is with their broadcasting on TV, mediocre commentators and allot of commercials.Yes they have the money but allot of money doesn't mean it will get any better. Red Bull was free to watch but now this will be behind the paywall because the rights are owned by a corperate company that runs the show. There is also no Rob Warner,Claudio,Elliot Jackson etc they are all history.
  • 17 0
 @otterdirt: wait, what? Did they cancel beta mtb? I’ve got a subscription and didn’t know that…
  • 12 0
 @RyanVars: I do too... but considering the last article posted was on May 20, it's not looking good. I was hopeful - otherwise I wouldn't have bought the subscription - but so far I think the execution has been lacking. For one, not having comments and/or any sort of dedicated forum for Beta was a mistake as the platform didn't really encourage developing any sort of community on the site. As a result, there hasn't been a lot of incentive to frequent the site.
  • 10 0
 @RyanVars: friend, this just isn't your day...
  • 6 4
 @moutnbiker: Read the room
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 @RyanVars: ya...employees posted on their social media accounts about it when it happened, Outside didn't address it at all that I saw at first, then touched on it a bit in the recent PB podcast. I also have a subscription. They still haven't addressed/decided what they are going to do for subscribers as far as I know. I emailed them a couple weeks ago, but they haven't responded. Classy lol.
  • 16 0
 @RyanVars: yes they did. You will get a copy of the useless piece of shit Mens Journal as a replacement. I received my first copy last week. One piece of junk mail I throw in the trash without reading. Outside sucks
  • 9 0
 @otterdirt: you will get Mens Journal as the replacement. No refunds, just a worthless mag you could care less about.
  • 10 0
 @IanJF: you will also get an email from Outside with a survey so you can tell all the things you like. Since there was no place for the middle finger emoji, I just deleted it.
  • 7 0
 @endoguru: funny, that was in my POB today and it went directly into the junk mail bin. Would be nice if they let folks opt out of that. I am happier with nothing than that magazine. Lame stuff from Outside.
  • 8 0
 @endoguru: Do they give you a choice or know your gender, or can sexist be added to Outsides list of reason why they suck?
  • 2 0
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 @endoguru: Ah. Thanks. I don't recall seeing an email, but I might have deleted it thinking it was spam. Oh well... I knew the chances of my money going into the nether was high when I bought the Beta membership.

Do we know who on the mtb staff was let go?
  • 1 0
 @IanJF: As far as I can tell, everyone except Ryan Palmer as he is still making an occasional appearance on Pinkbike, but who knows how long that will last.
  • 1 0
 deleted. Not a good month to make jokes about Mens Journal articles. Maybe next month.
  • 51 0
 5. That tire fire of a shitshow AMA with @chris-b-mtb was f*cking hilarious! DH is not in good hands people...
  • 5 0
 What did I miss?
  • 5 0
 Yeah wow that was bad @chris-b-mtb is not a popular guy
  • 17 0
 thanks for the link, I missed it too. I guess none of the A's in "AMA" stands for "answer".
  • 3 0
 Oooof - still smoldering...
  • 34 0
 Top photo is lit.
  • 4 0
 is that Frix Frix? soooo much style
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 @natedawgco: yep, no doubt
  • 29 1
 RIP World Cup DH - at least from a spectator point of view. Was awesome while it lasted.
  • 21 0
 The way Minnaar held it together and didn't blow up on the wall was incredible.
  • 2 0
 That was some huge core strength displayed right there
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 What was it? Did the launch straight into the wallride force him to exit the wallride wrong?
  • 20 0
 #5 - this will be the last year we have high quality live coverage of the Leogang WC races
  • 12 0
 There was a pretty cool feature here in the past, where someone breaks down the sectors, will that be coming back? if not, where does one find the data on all the splits? Cheers!
  • 9 0
 Agreed. That was some top-level nerdiness. I loved it.
  • 11 0
 Can we please stop with the "Wow rider X in Junior would have placed 3rd in Elite". Each year we have this : Finn Iles, Vali Holl, now Goldstone. Turns out it's not that simple, when they go into elite it takes a while for them to get back to their best results as it's the case with Iles and Holl (Daprela is one exception though).
  • 13 1
 Red Bull Hard Line World Series
  • 2 0
 yes please!
  • 8 1
 Chris Ball Ask Me Anything AKA CBAMA AKA Brock Ghislaine CBAMA AKA the day the music died has me so tired I can't even point out that Thing #3, "The Fourth Split in the Woods was Crucial," has been true for two years--the entire existence of that section.
  • 9 0
 Saying without a crash I would of won is like saying if I had different lottery numbers I’d be a millionaire !!!

Whoever makes the least amount of mistakes wins !
  • 5 0
 Check out the new podcast "the IN and OUT girls" from Emilie and Camille.


BTW: suprised with what "bad" of a team Vali Höll has to deal with. The mechanic doesn't want to set up the bike to her liking and rather asks her to adapt her riding to the bike; and there seem so be antother guy at the top talking shit to her making her feel insucre instead of the opposit (see in comparison Andrew Neethling's latest podcast with Alan Milway).
I suggest she switches team :-)
  • 5 0
 Yeah that sounded terrible. The guy at the top who made her insecure was also Mat Gallean, her mechanic. She sounded really pissed about that. Has nothing to do with the team though, Mat has been her mechanic since 2017, when she was still riding YT.
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 @Nuss-95: Thank you for the clarification. I must say I do not know Mat Gallean or anyone else on her team.

Being interested in the phschology of racing it was baffeling with what a "wrong" environment a super star of the sport is supposed to deal with.

Maybe people like Mat still know her as a "child" and still treat her accordingly like back in the day. Sometimes it is not easy to change that old dynamic (I know from first hand experience, working inmy dad's company)
  • 2 9
flag hellanorcal (Jun 15, 2022 at 9:48) (Below Threshold)
 @Nuss-95: Sounds like she won't sleep with him.

or even worse, DID sleep with him, and now shut him down.
  • 9 1
 #5. I'm in love with Camille and Myriam.
  • 7 0
 the Norton/Gwin combo on those prototype Intense bikes is an interesting story.....
  • 13 5
 #5; Claudio was back in the booth, which is a good thing.
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 >”While the top of the course was important, it's interesting to look at Matt Walker's winning run where he was only the fastest in the fourth split”

And he was running DHRs front and back, which sort of stands out given how muddy the woods were. Curious to know whether the rest of the field went that way or were running cut spikes. Did the DHRs give him better braking, or just less sketchiness over the roots?
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 #2 - On the post race show of the downtime podcast, Neko Mulally said, that the track became dryer and quicker with time, so the conditions were not necessarily better for the juniors.
  • 5 0
 Save Rob! He brings so much excitement to the series.
  • 2 0
 Has a junior ever beaten the time of the no.1 elite?
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 Juniors won races when they all raced together. If I recall correctly Brosnan had an overall top time when he was a junior. But, I don't know if its happened since they separated the two - conditions being equal.
  • 4 0
 Yes, Anne-Caroline Chausson did it at a World Champs once (Vail, '94, and raised a big stink about it).

Nico did it a couple of times as well, I think.
  • 2 0
 I think osighn callaghan was junior world champ and i think he had top time in french races besting all the top french like loic loris and amaury and Benoit ..and then Daprella did it as a junior in qualifying he had beaten all pros with top qualifying run as a junior like 3 years ago
  • 11 0
 @aaronjb: It was 1995 Kirchzarten Germany, her time was faster, but back in the day the Juniors went later in the day, elite women in the morning, Leigh Donovan (my wife) won, ACC won Jr' later that day, course got way faster (rained night before), I believe Cedric was also faster than Elite winner Nico that day.
ACC beat leigh elite to elite at the 96' world champs, in Cairns, only by .18 seconds, so that began a bit of a grudge match.
  • 1 0
 @stiksandstones: Thanks for the correction. I was at that race in Germany, what an event. For some reason I thought the beef started the prior year.
  • 2 0
 @aaronjb: If I remember correctly 1994 saw Nico take the top time whilst being a junior; Francois Gachet won elites. And Nico was not happy!
  • 2 0
 @stiksandstones: Thanks for sharing some mtb history!
  • 1 0
 I believe Sam Hill posted the fastest time of the day at Lugano in 2003, but it may have been in qualifying.
  • 1 0
 @fjm35: That's right - that's the 1994 event I was thinking of.
  • 1 0
 Finals was 3rd with a crash. hmmmm.
  • 2 0
 That scrub is just ridiculous
  • 1 0
 Love the articles with data, thanks y’all!
  • 1 0
 The key section was not this key
  • 1 0
 The key of the key section is that it is key to say shimano 3 times as the riders pass though the key section
  • 1 0
 Opening Pic best action shot of the year! Rad!
  • 1 0
 F-Yeah Death Grip!

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