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.
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.
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.