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5 Things We Learned from the Leogang DH World Cup 2024

Jun 10, 2024
by Ed Spratt  
Recce Wilson flying high

The 15th World Cup in Leogang treated us to some incredible racing as the slick conditions pushed the racers to their limits as they tried to put on race pace runs in finals. Before things kick off later this week in Val di Sole for round four, here are a few things we spotted from the third stop of the DH series.

Vali Höll Has a Triple-Win Perfect Weekend for the 4th Time

Vali Holl on top in Leogang

Vali Höll continues to set new records as the 2023 World Cup series and World Champion has now achieved her fourth triple-win perfect weekend since the semi-final format was introduced last year.

Despite being a protected rider through to finals, Vali Höll doesn't show any signs of slowing down too much during qualifying or semi-finals as she now holds four perfect weekends and remains the only rider to achieve this more than once. Currently, only Jackson Goldstone and Benoit Coulanges have also done the triple on a World Cup weekend.

In 2023, Vali Höll became the first rider to achieve a perfect weekend in Leogang before she then went on to do it again in Val di Sole, Mont-Sainte-Anne and now Leogang again. With riders on their way to Val di Sole right now, we could very well see the record be broken again in a few days.

Loic Bruni Has Only Given Away 0.064 Seconds During Finals in 2024

Bruni s splits went back and forth until the last two that put the nail in the coffin.

Loic Bruni must have found the World Cup winning formula during the off-season as since the 2024 World Cup season kicked off at Fort William, he has picked up two wins and a second place. After a 2023 season where we saw different winners at every round until Jackson Goldstone made it two at Mont-Sainte-Anne the 2024 has been dominated by one name: Loic Bruni.

After taking the win at Fort William, a venue that has always eluded Bruni, he went on to fall just 0.064 seconds of a charging Ronan Dunne at Bielsko-Biala for round two. Now after taking a huge win of over two seconds against teammate Finn Iles, he heads towards the fourth round with a massive 330-point lead in the overall standings. Bruni's performance in 2024 is far above that of 2023 where his average finish was ninth with five podiums.

Erice Van Leuven Could Receive More Prize Money from Monster than the UCI

Erice Van Leuven got her first win of the year in Junior Women

While the fact that World Cup prize money is pretty low is nothing new, the latest WynTV highlighted the incredibly poor €200 payout for a junior win. Currently, the total prize purse for the Junior sits at just €745 while the U23 XCO racers share €1,485 and elite DH and XCO riders battle for a share of €10,100.

It's no surprise that it's tough being a junior racer, especially one not on a factory team, when achieving the best possible results would not go any way in covering the expense to attend a World Cup. Interestingly, as a recently signed member of the Monster Army athlete development program, we've spotted that Erice Van Leuven can receive 3.75 times as much money given out by the UCI through its "Paid 2 Podium Program."

The program, which does cover World Cup Downhill racing, offers $2,500 USD for an elite win and a payout of $750 USD for a Junior victory. A second place in Juniors will offer a rider $500 USD and a third place gets $350 USD. The total prize purse for Junior racers sits at $1,600 USD, or over double the UCI's offering, although this only covers places one through three instead of the UCI's top 10 offering. If Monster Energy can afford to pay $750 for a Junior win on its athlete development program, maybe a race series run by a multi-billion dollar company, features multiple high-level sponsorships and runs a pay-to-view service could be a bit more generous.

The 2024 prize money for World Cup DH and XCO racing.

The potential payout for riders on Monster's athlete development program.

There Was a Huge Number of Entries for Leogang

Most of the elite men were trackside puzzling the upper off camber before their chance at practice.

With the return of World Cup racing to Leogang, we saw some massive entry lists ahead of racing as there were 379 riders signed up for finals. Across the categories, there were 196 elite men, 42 elite women, 18 junior women and 123 junior men.

With 42 elite women entering to race maybe the organisers should finally start looking to increase the number of riders who can make semi-finals and finals. If there are 42 women entering the finals, the cut-off should really be greater than 10 riders, especially with the current stacked field of talent.

Bruni & Höll Took Some of Biggest Winning Margins in Leogang History

A dominant win for Vali Holl in front of her home town

Ever since its first World Cup in 2010, Leogang has produced some incredible racing with slim winning margins and only a handful of riders taking multiple victories. This year, the winning runs from Vali Höll and Loic Bruni saw them cross the line with some of the biggest margins we have ever seen since 2010.

For Vali Höll, her winning margin of 7.102 seconds can only be beaten by the absolutely massive 11.368 gap created by Camille Balanche in 2022. The next closest margin to Höll’s win last weekend was from Rachel Atherton in 2016 where she took the win by 5.37 seconds. Percentage-wise Höll’s latest win sits at a gap of 3.23% to second with Balanche’s 2022 victory achieving a gap of 4.58%.

Looking at elite men’s wins on the Leogang course, the run laid down by Bruni this year was the third biggest winning margin at Leogang and the third time in 15 years where the gap has been over 1% to second place. The only wins to have a larger margin than Bruni’s this year were Reece Wilson’s 2020 World Champs run and Aaron Gwin’s 2016 victory.

Other facts:
• Anna Newkirk went onto the elite World Cup podium for the first time after placing second in qualifying, semi-finals and finals. With Newkirk in second and Höll in first, we saw a repeat of the 2019 Junior top two at Leogang.
• Myriam Nicole took her first podium since 2022.
• Josh Carlson brought some great energy to the commentating booth, hopefully he can be given more time on the mic at future races.
• The tricky conditions made for exciting racing with many of the world's best struggling through the lower woods. Bernard Kerr, Ronan Dunne and Amaury Pierron had some of the most impressive saves.
• Brook McDonald marked his 100th World Cup
• Finn Iles finished second after skipping qualifying and semi-finals due to a hand injury. Check out the latest Story of the Race with Ben Cathro for his theory on this.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,233 articles

  • 157 0
 Other facts:

Anna Newkirks Contra BR200 is the first steel DH bike on an elite podium in like 20 years.
  • 16 2
 I could see a steel Frameworks bike on an elite podium in the next couple of years.
  • 20 0
 @mallenger: "Frameworks, the second steel DH bike on an elite podium in like 20 (plus a couple of) years" doesn't have the same ring to it.
  • 4 0
 @mi-bike: and its not fully steel, but could be first front triangle steel, rear triangle carbon bike on a podium tho
  • 10 0
 So you’re saying me and my Rootdown have a chance?
  • 13 1
 I think it’s important to consider the achievement of Anna and Evan with Contra Bikes, here you have a micro sized team and budget that has taken on the biggest players in the bike business and proven without a doubt that they have come up with a better solution. Imagine you are the head of design at some of the big players, right now you should be asking yourself what the hell are they doing with that bike and that program to kick ass with no budget, then you should be asking for some phone numbers to get them on your team..
  • 5 0
 @macca208: it’s about selling to the masses for the big companies. Why do you think Minnaar had to tinker every year with his V10 so heavily with aftermarket links and chainstays etc.
The engineers ain’t just going yes sir yes sir yes sir to the racers and making exactly what they want. The bike still has to be sold to the masses

Now Evan… he is making exactly what he wants! Same with Neko
  • 9 0
 Other facts:

First podium on an electronic gearbox high Pivot beltdrive bike with Mike Huter riding the Gamux Sego into 3° in juniors..
  • 71 4
 Bring the hate, but I can see a case for increasing the women's elite field to 15 riders on finals day, but it should not increase beyond that or get close to the proposed 30 like the men's field. The time gaps within the top 10 women on finals day are already crazy high.
  • 1 0
 Proof positive PB can read minds, thanks Ed Spratt!
  • 17 0
 Statistically speaking only about 15 percent of the men got into the elite finals. If all were equal that would only be 6 or 7 women. While that is what the numbers say I like the idea of more women getting into the finals. 15 could be the sweet spot for now though. We just need more junior women racing so the total number of elite women increases in the future which will drive a more fierce competition and additional slots will have to be added to the finals for the women. I was on the edge of my seat for the last 3 or 4 runs of the Women's finals. Stoked for Anna Newkirk with the 2nd place.
  • 7 0
 If there were 196 men and 42 women, then as a percentage nearly 25% of women make the final (10), but 25% of 196 is 49 men when only 30 get to race the final. I'm confused.
  • 6 5
 Here’s a fun exercise: check out the prize list for the latest pga tournament. The Memorial this past weekend. Making the cut and finishing dead last gets you $51,000 usd. Being the Logic Bruni of golf this last weekend got you $4,000,000. Four days of swinging a club.
  • 2 3
 Here’s a fun exercise: check out the prize list for the latest pga tournament. The Memorial this past weekend. Making the cut and finishing dead last gets you $51,000 usd. Being the Logic Bruni of golf this last weekend got you $4,000,000. Four days of swinging a club.
  • 8 0
 Definitely seems there would be more of a case for increasing the mens field. Not only a bigger field but times are tighter, for instance in the semi finals Men from 30-35th place they were only up to one second off.
  • 6 2
 @tremeer023: legit confused on why he even suggests that the women’s final count should increase (based on the entry size) as you’re right. Makes no sense.
  • 3 1
 I think the higher number of finalists could increase support for female riders and therefore make it more competitive in the future. right now it cant change, because its vali and the rest. if she crashes, someone else wins, if shes doing good its just a question of by how much she wins.
  • 8 1
 From the 196 Men, 15% were allowed in the final.
From the 42 Women, 23% were allowed in the final.

Seems pretty fair distributed to me? Especially as there is the protected rule?
  • 1 0
 @cro-magnon: I’m no mathematician but ???

Also Women have P status as well based on percentages of racers I presume
  • 4 1
 @natepage1: Golf industry worth in the us alone is over 100 billion a year. Mtb Global worth 12 billion. Numbers make sense to me.
On another note it is too easy to qualify for a world cup DH.There needs to be a higher standard to race,196 racers is crazy.
  • 1 0
 @natepage1: I love MTB and don't care to watch golf other than the occasional far putt highlight but what's your point? Millions of people time in to those boring golf tournaments and create billions in ad revenue etc.
  • 5 0
 @natepage1: The PGA is broadcast on network television and sees viewership numbers approaching 8 million in the US alone. Downhill mountain biking is broadcast in a semi-obscure corner of the paid streaming world and sees viewership numbers that are maybe in the 600,000 range worldwide.

Golf is dumb and bikes are awesome, and the prize money for bike racing is certainly low. But with eyeballs comes money, and the eyeballs aren't there.
  • 1 0
 @natepage1: True. But I've got more chance of being a World Cup Downhiller than I do of getting onto the PGA Tour. How many people play golf vs riding DH? And the key is how many people watch (and pay to do so) golf on TV vs downhill?
  • 1 0
 I see a case for havin 3 female riders in Fantasy team
  • 42 0
 Monster and Red Bull have done more for the sport than people give them credit for. Epic work, even if you want to carry on about the healthiness of their products.
  • 7 0
 Yeah, really gets the heart pumping.
  • 38 0
 And Pompom is back!!
  • 8 0
  • 34 0
 That prize money is a frikken joke.
  • 28 0
 Isn’t the real learning of the weekend that Ronan Dunne is in possession of one of the most LOL Ratboy impressions ever?

Also, Josh Carlson should be put in the booth +guest full time.
  • 10 0
 Carlson did a brilliant job , steering the ship like a real captain , controlling the tempo while bouncing off the guests in the booth and throwing in a bit of comedy here and there.
  • 10 0
 I think he did a very good job and will only get better. He may have talked over his guests occasionally, but nothing compared to Ric and his obnoxious droning chain-saw voice. I really hope this was not a one off hosting job and they put Ric out to pasture.
  • 2 0
 @the-smith: Way better than Ric, but I fear it'll be back to Ric this weekend.
  • 2 0
 @the-smith: Completely agree. I also love the commentary provided by Gwin and Seagrave and other riders.
  • 19 0
 Out of curiosity is there an entry fee to race? If there is then the UCI should be required to have prize money be at the very least some portion of what they are taking in fees alone.

My personal feeling is there are just shy of 380 people who got screwed by the UCI this weekend.

The UCI annual report is very interesting. They don't appear to have a page for DH at all. There are multiple pages for indoor cycling but DH seems missing when I look. $40M in reserves feels like they could pay out a little more than current for these people performing probably the riskiest thing the UCI covers.

  • 26 0
 Yes, there are entry fees:
Elite UCI Downhill World Cup: € 150.00
Junior UCI Downhill World Cup: €80

Imagine paying 80 euros to race and only getting 200 when you win...
  • 21 0
 Also, if you don't know, UCI does not issue the prize money at all. The Prize Money is funded completely by the event host. UCI set the minimum value amount to be given, but do not shell out any $$ for the riders...
  • 13 0
  • 9 0
 @Two-planker: Most definitely. The UCI are a corrupt governing body who only care about road cycling. The sooner DH can break away the better.
  • 3 0
 @OKdeeboy: That doesn't make it any better, actually worse lol.
  • 2 0
 @yoimaninja: Agree, much worse, it shows the UCI does very little give back to result awards. Just a series jersey? or World Champs Jersey? and the sends a chief commissaire. The rest is paid for by the host.
  • 8 0
 Wyns privateer money is worth more than the UCI gives a winner, 500euro and pit support. Tbere really isva need to take back our sport. The specravle and charavter of DH is totslly different to xc. Msybe redbull or monster combining with ixs for a 15 race international series, with good coverage and prize money us the way to go.
  • 9 0
 Why was Josh announcing this one? I think he has some small stuff to work on but like him in the booth with Gwin.
  • 4 0
 The Irish guy was unwell so josh sat in for him.
  • 10 0
 @scottlakesmtb: I would be too if the PB comments were constantly calling for my head.
  • 3 0
 @scottlakesmtb: That's really too bad if Ric is back this weekend.
  • 7 0
 Didn't Chris Ball say their goal was to increase prize money?
  • 4 0
 Chris Ball is ancient history…
  • 35 0
 Yes, but Chris Ball meant his prize money.
  • 4 0
 Nice work PB for pointing out rider pay and the absurdly low rider count for finals. Not like any of the UCI F U C K ' S read this. They are too busy sippy expensive drinks on the yachts.
  • 3 0
 They just keep trimming the amount of actual coverage event by event?! The coverage of the elite women is an example ... most of the ladies finals runs were just the first few seconds out of the starting hut and then a cut to "live" coverage of their last 30-40 seconds?! Lame!
  • 8 3
 #6 Vali is still the only person with Kashima RS Boxxers
  • 2 0
 Yeah, what’s that about
  • 5 0
 @Monkeyass: Foxxers maybe ?
  • 7 2
 It's not kashima it's just anodized
  • 4 0
 It's not "Kashima" coating (aka molybdenum disulfide) though. The stanchions of that particular Boxxer are titanium nitride coated.
  • 5 1
 Did we learn anything from the EDR race or are we not talking about that cuz Richie won again hahaha
  • 6 4
 Who cares. So many of us cannot watch anymore because of the Woop paywall. Would love to know how many people are now actually watching compared to when it was with red-bull. In South Africa it only a handful.
  • 3 0
 You really can't find a way to pirate this by now? This year I'm watching on Max, but last year it took about 10 minutes to find a way to watch for free.
  • 2 0
 I do...get a Staylive subscription. Around R115 pm.
  • 1 1
 Love back-to-back race weekends, let's go! Coverage is still pretty poor though. Watched the replay on Discovery+ and they kept running ad breaks during the race! So when it cut back to the action, you'd missed a couple of riders. The replay also didn't start from the beginning, not great. On a positive note, Arron Gwin is great on the commentary!
  • 3 0
 you probably picked the wrong one, they have a few different replays to choose from. My guess is the eurosport2 is with commercial. I always have without breaks and commercials.
  • 1 0
 As @Korbi777 said, for almost every sporting event there are multiple options when picking a stream (same for live or replay). One is your regular TV feed with ads from Eurosport 1 or 2 and the other are ad-free eurosport player streams. You can tell the two apart by the symbol in the top right corner of the streams discription (under the picture). If there is a E1 or E2 Logo it's the TV feed, if not then it's an ad free stream.
  • 1 0
 @Korbi777: I’m accessing Discovery+ on the Amazon Firestick, there was definitely only one replay available for men/women.
  • 1 0
 @brucemacd: you can check on the website as well, there are 2 options. i watch with amazon fire tv app and also have 2.
  • 1 0
 @Korbi777: Thanks, it wasn’t apparent on this occasion, but I’ll keep an eye out for Val di Sole.
  • 3 0
 anyone have a somewhat accurate idea of how much a winning bonus from a factory team might be?
  • 1 0
 Regarding prize money, I know the mass following isn't the same but when knowing that at a tennis grand slam tournament men and women get 81'500 $ for loosing at first round and 3'000'000 $ for winning the tournament...
  • 2 0
 "Isn't the same" really doesn't begin to state how large a difference there is in audience size.
  • 2 1
 Men’s should go back up to 80 and Women’s to 25 or 30.

The coverage is bad enough that the increase wouldn’t hurt either set of finals - do away with the semis and just back to qualifying
  • 1 0
 Nice writeup. I hate to be pedantic, but the "Other Facts" segment at the bottom often includes opinions, not facts. Maybe change the segment header to "Other Points" or something similar.
  • 4 1
 And UCI and! Monster do not pay enough for a win
  • 1 0
 #6: Forgetting your hiking boots at home is not a good idea for a visit in Leogang... / slippery worn fivetens are not ideal for the muddy forest section...
  • 3 0
 #6 Going late is an advantage after an overnight downpour.
  • 1 0
 Uci is a joke, $200 for a junior win? I think the entry fee is more than the prize
  • 1 0
 80€ junior entry fee.
The UCI ought to raise the minimum prize purse, but the event hosts really need to read the room and have no need to wait until the UCI impose a higher amount to give more to the prize winners.
  • 1 0
 How many career World Cup wins is Bruni at now?
  • 1 1
 According to MTB data, 19 World Cup wins, 5 World Champs mtbdata.com/riders/loic-bruni
  • 1 0
 He said in that interview that he was at 10 (elite) World Cup wins now.
  • 1 0
 That should read ‘an interview’, I think it was WynTV.
  • 1 0
 Why is Vali racing Gee’s 2009 fox 40??
  • 1 0
 Is Holl using the same lock out set up as Bruni?
  • 1 0
 She is using flight attendant
  • 1 3
 Let's start by asking for more entries in Elite Men... only 15% made it to the final versus 24% in the Elite Women final.
  • 3 5
 Josh does not offer great energy. I find him irritating.

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