Your Essential Guide to Leogang DH World Cup 2016

Jun 8, 2016
by Fraktiv  
The dust hasn't even settled in Fort William, and yet the World Cup teams are packed and on their way to continental Europe and Leogang, for the fourth instalment of the 2016 season. We saw some epic racing last weekend at one of the oldest, longest and arguably most fan-packed venues on the calendar, and come this Sunday we'll no doubt see even more excitement, albeit on a track that has the reputation of being a bit 'bike park'.

In an attempt to shake off that reputation, last year saw a few changes made to the Leogang track, with new lines being cut through virgin forest. It made for some interesting spectating as riders found their way through the new sections, threading their way through the trees and then onto Leogang's famous motorway section.

Aside from the new sections, the track is dotted with full-speed-ahead straights, rocks, roots and plenty of drops, and it's safe to say that Leogang's offering is now more than just a bike park track, and a befitting challenge to the best riders in the world. This is a track where titles have been sensationally won and cruelly lost. Remember Gee losing the overall here? And what about Loïc who got so close, only to let his ambitions get the better of him, crashing out on one of the steep, blown out sections? Both Greg Minnaar and Aaron Gwin have fared the best here, each winning twice, with one of Minnaar's victories being his World Championship win in 2012.

With Greg resurgent last weekend, will we see the return of Gwin this weekend? Or perhaps we'll see a new face on the top step of the podium? And will anyone be able to prevent Rachel Atherton taking a record-breaking tenth consecutive World Cup win?

This view. I look forward to it every year. It never gets old.

As in past years interupting the hard-pack cruises of the upper section are the man-made bike destroying rock gardens.
From thetop of the track the views are simpy breathtaking.

Rachel Atherton rails the first turn out of the gate high above the inversion layer of clouds in the valley below.



THE TRACK



Full speed off the motorway and it s into some technical woods that have been altered this year by some clever taping.

This section isn t too steep but once riders head into the woods things change in a hurry.

Two of the new tunnels and some stonework make up a new section just above the first section of forest.



WHAT DO THE RIDERS THINK?

What do the riders themselves think about the Leogang track and what's their most memorable section? We asked a few and here's what they said:

Tracey Hannah, Polygon UR
I like the speed of the track here in Leogang and it has some really nice features that make it super fun to ride. I don't like when they tape the track in square angles randomly off course and you have to slow down!

Brendan Fairclough, Gstaad-Scott
Leogang has grown on me as a track over the last years. It's renowned as a bike parky, man-made DH track but it seems to improve every year with new wood sections and fun jumps. I'm looking forward to getting back there to race, especially as I now know we don't need to pedal there anymore! Wink

Katy Curd, Rose Vaujany
My favourite part of the track has to be the first main wood section. There are always so many creative lines going on and you have to be precise and confident to get through it, especially if it rains!

Andrew Neethling, Polygon UR
Leogang might be known as a bit of a bike park track but it makes for exciting racing. I think its cool to have a mix of tracks. You have to be smart and make minimal mistakes as times are super close. It still has some pretty technical stuff down the bottom. The winner needs to have a pretty flawless run!



THE WIZARD HAS HIS WAY


Full tuck and carrying speed without a chain. Gwin went full beast on this track.

In 2014 it was tyre-gate and in 2015 it was chain-gate. Call it bad luck or call it the Hand of God, but somehow Gwin still managed to be faster than everyone else down the Speedster track at Leogang last year. Astonished? Bemused? We were all left scratching our heads as to how he managed to take the win with no chain. Rumours were abound that his Specialized Demo's race capabilities were being constrained by its chain and the bike-boffins soon took to their blogs, trying to explain the technical factors that gave him this win. But perhaps it was just his day, or perhaps being freed from the pressures of a win after hearing his chain snap within a few pedal cranks at the start of his run meant he just decided to have fun and see how fast he could go chainless. Only Aaron will ever know. Before we go on though, let's take a moment to remember that Connor Fearon was just 0.045 seconds away from his first ever World Cup win last year. Could he be 2016's dark horse?



#TAPEGATE

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As mentioned earlier, the taping of one section of track near the bottom - christened the Stairs of Contrast - has left many a rider disgruntled or much worse, disqualified. In 2014 and 2015 a number of riders fell victim to #TapeGate. In 2014 it was Bernard Kerr's dubious honour when he launched off the drop slightly wider than usual and in so doing, landed outside the tape. Controversially, after the incident the marker post and tape was then put back in a different spot, making the track much wider than before.

The following year, with the wind blowing across the last few tables just before the finish corral, several of the Junior and Elite Women were blown off course and landed either on or over the tape, instantly disqualifying them. #TapeGate's 2015 victim was Manon Carpenter.



PREDICTION

WC R4 Leogang Predictions 2016

bigquotesThe top spot will go to a man who's won here with no chain, pinned it on a rim and podiumed every World Cup in 2016 so far. It's not really a gamble; Gwin for the win. I think Minnaar will take the second step after a big confidence boost at the Bill. Using a fully working bike here for the previous two seasons put him at a disadvantage against the Mob, unless something unfathomable happens again. My third place hope rests on Danny Hart's shoulders, or should that be moustache?

For the women, it's Rachel in first. No explanation needed. If Manon doesn't ride off into the crowd again, she's almost guaranteed second place. Tahnee is unlikely to have recovered from her elbow injury by the time practice starts again in a few days time. I'd like to see Katy Curd finally get into the top three, as the potential has been there for years. - Paul Aston, Pinkbike's World Cup Soothsayer



THE WILDLIFE

Much of the track traverses pasture land where the locals are very friendly and extremely well fed.

There's plenty of wildlife in the area but the problem is that these mountain-dwelling critters are pretty shy, especially when the World Cup and FMB circus is in town. At a nearby wildlife park you can feast your eyes on red and fallow deer, marmots, wolves and even brown bears. As the mountain side of Leogang is generally worked as pastoral farmland, there are also plenty of Pinzgauer cows too. Weighing in at 600 to 700kg each, these bovines are considered endangered because their population is falling by 10% each year. No wonder the farmers keep them penned in their fields surrounded by electric fences...which occasionally give offline riders a sharp shock!



THE WEATHER

WC R4 Leogang Weather 2016



IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT BEING FAST ON THIS MOUNTAIN


The area around Leogang is steeped in freeride mountain biking history, notably the slopestyle events that used to happen over the other side of the mountain in Saalbach-Hinterglemm. These days the 26Trix FMB event is held every year on the same weekend as the World Cup. The finals commence on Saturday afternoon...weather permitting of course! Double the excitement for the fans and double the trouble with the slopestyle lads in town.



WHERE A CANADIAN'S DREAM CAME TRUE


Smith cornering high

That dismount.

Throwback to mid-season 2013 and Gee Atherton was on a roll, leading the overall points race. Aaron Gwin could never quite put it together to bring the challenge to Gee but there was another rider who stepped up to the plate.

2013 was the year of Stevie Smith, but it wasn't until the season's mid-way point that he starting clocking up wins, first on home turf at Mont-Sainte-Anne, followed by Hafjell Bike Park. During that time, he managed to bank enough points to come within a hair's breadth of taking the overall win at Leogang and after qualifying in top spot, he was just ahead in the points. All he needed to do now was win. On 22nd September 2013, Stevie's dream finally came true, crossing the line fastest, with 1.311 seconds between him and second placed rider Loïc Bruni. Gee Atherton, his main title contender, finished fourth.

Stevie Smith, true King of the Mountain, 2013.



ROB'S CULTURAL LEARNINGS IN AUSTRIA


Never one to shy away from being put in extreme situations whilst at work, a few years ago Rob Warner was treated by Red Bull to a trip to Stiegl, home of the World-famous Austrian brew. Following Rob's beer sampling adventure, he had what can only be described as a 'Sound of Music' moment, taking to the wilderness in the nearby Zell am See region for a gentle hike. Dangling from a rope in his underwear and getting naked on a zip wire obviously ensued...a true culturally enlightening experience!



DO RATS DREAM OF MANUALS?


Maybe Ratboy does dream of manuals but one thing's for sure; he can ride most of the Leogang downhill World Cup course pulling them. Josh of course took the win in Leogang back in 2014 and was obviously pretty chilled during practice in this video from last year. At Fort William last weekend, we saw him finish in fifteenth place but his team mate's win will surely spur him to be back on the podium in Leogang this weekend.



FASTEST RUN DOWN THE BIKE PARK GOES TO

ELITE MEN RESULTS - LEOGANG
DATEPOSITIONNAMETEAMWINNING TIMEGAP
20151stAaron GWINSpecialized Racing3:34.354-
20152ndConnor FEARONKona Factory Team3:34.399+0.045s
20153rdRémi THIRIONCommencal / Vallnord3:35.684 +1.330s
20141stJosh BRYCELANDSanta Cruz Syndicate3:18.75-
20142ndGreg MINNAARSanta Cruz Syndicate3:20.024+1.275s
20143rdTroy BROSNANSpecialized Racing3:20.033+1.284s
20131stSteve SMITHDevinci Global Racing3:23.959-
20132ndLoic BRUNILapierre Gravity Republic3:25.270+1.311s
20133rdMick HANNAHHutchinson UR3:25.893+1.934s
20121stGreg MINNAAR*South Africa3:21.790-
20122ndGee ATHERTON*Great Britain3:22.371+0.581s
20123rdSteve SMITH*Canada3:23.004+1.214s
20111stAaron GWINTrek World Racing3:44.181-
20112ndGee ATHERTONCommencal3:46.294+2.113s
20113rdGreg MINNAARSanta Cruz Syndicate3:49.902+5.721s
20101stGreg MINNAARSanta Cruz Syndicate4:05.65-
20102ndGee ATHERTONCommencal4:06.39+0.74s
20103rdAaron GWINYeti4:10.09+4.44s


Gwin may have won the race but Connor Fearon dominated the podium.


ELITE WOMEN RESULTS - LEOGANG
DATEPOSITIONNAMETEAMWINNING TIMEGAP
20151stRachel ATHERTONGT Factory Racing4:04.108-
20152ndTahnée SEAGRAVEFMD Racing4:07.126+3.018s
20153rdEmmeline RAGOTMS Mondraker Team4:07.279td>+3.171s
20141stManon CARPENTERMadison Saracen Factory Team3:42.517-
20142ndRachel ATHERTONGT Factory Racing3:45.216+2.699s
20143rdMyriam NICOLECommencal / Riding Addiction3:46.545+4.028s
20131stEmmeline RAGOTLapierre Gravity Republic3:52.866-
20132ndRachel ATHERTONGT Factory Racing3:53.368+0.502s
20133rdManon CARPENTERMadison Saracen Factory Team3:57.683+4.817s
20121stMorgane CHARRE*France3:50.654-
20122ndEmmeline RAGOT*France3:51.853+1.199s
20123rdManon CARPENTER*Great Britain3:52.144+1.490s
20111stFloriane PUGINScott 11 Team4:29.427-
20112ndRachel ATHERTONCommencal4:32.010+2.583s
20113rdTracy MOSELEYTrek World Racing4:32.119+2.692s
20101stSabrina JONNIERTMR104:52.70-
20102ndEmmeline RAGOTSCT104:56.24+3.54s
20103rdFloriane PUGINSTT104:58.05+5.35s


Your Women s top three here in Leogang.

The finals takes place on Sunday 12th June, with the live broadcast commencing at 14:30 local time.

Stay tuned to Pinkbike.com for all the latest news from the third round of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup 2016 throughout the weekend, including live timing, photo stories and tech content.



MENTIONS: @geebeebee / @natedh9 / @paulaston / @mdelorme / @davetrump / @Specialized / @FMBA / @Polygonbikes / @urteam / @RoseBikesUK / @redbullbike / @Fox-Head-Inc / @devinci / @SCOTT-Sports



74 Comments

  • + 121
 I wish Robs Dirty Business was still going Frown
  • + 35
 Agree! I want it back as much as for PB's Tech Tuesday!

Rob's Dirty Business+Claudio's Track Preview, perfect appetizers for every World Cup race!
  • + 1
 @milanboy1986: Don't do with me this. When i'll go to biking then?
  • + 24
 I think everyone misses the old Warner...
  • + 1
 @jissse: Yeah now when I watch the races I go hey thats not Jason Statham..
  • + 7
 lord warner the myth the man the legend
  • + 47
 Really enjoying these essential guides. They are much more comprehensive than the pre-race list that I typically use:
1) TV
2) Beer
3) Chips
4) Extra beer
  • + 45
 we need a ratboy comeback. GOD SAVE THE RAT
  • + 36
 That morning when Stevie crossed the line first and one I was so happy I threw my coffee all over my living room . I was so proud of him, pride of a nation Longlivechainsaw
  • + 12
 That Gee vs. Stevie recap is so emotional... long live stevie!
  • + 9
 That series will always be one of the best in MTB DH history. It's rare to see it come down to the last race.
  • + 38
 Back to back world cups is like Christmas in June.
  • + 27
 Never forget Connor Fearon! Go get yourself a win this year!
  • + 3
 And stay fully in the tape !! Big Grin +pedal harder to compensate the 0.046 seconds that gwin made on your last year s run without a chain !!!!
  • + 26
 Gwins gonna take it.......without a stem Smile
  • + 12
 Without a doubt!
  • - 1
 Just hope his chain does not break this year.
  • + 8
 Gwin loses his pedals and wins with both feet on the saddle !!!!
  • + 1
 @RedBurn: hopefully that style of riding goes better for him than Masters! haha
  • + 17
 still can't believe stevie's gone
  • + 12
 To... 1) Give the competition a fighting chance, and 2) Provide on-board support for the seemingly inevitable mechanical... I propose Gwin does his run with John Hall riding piggyback.
  • + 11
 stevie Frown such an epic competitor.
  • + 9
 Can we please stop adding "gate" to everything? Tiregate, chaingate, tapegate, gategate... frack.
  • + 10
 #scandiumgate
  • + 5
 Frack-gate
  • + 1
 nogategate
  • + 4
 Wastegate. Essential for turbo performance.
  • + 2
 Ratgate
  • + 1
 This post is just another in the endless saga of pinkbikegate...
  • + 2
 @headshot: sagagate
  • + 1
 leogate
  • + 1
 @skintightleather: Gatehate-gate
  • + 2
 Christina Applegate
  • + 11
 Cow.
  • + 3
 Be weird as fuck for cows to auction people and the humans have barcodes punched through their ears.
  • + 1
 @freerideglory: Not as weird as being tossed off by a bull cause he wanted to sell my jizz!
  • + 9
 "I guess you could say it's a once in a lifetime opportunity"

Boom. That hit me. Inspiring stuff.
  • + 9
 I miss you Emmeline, the women field needs you
  • + 8
 Things could get very interesting if it's a wet race, back to back World Cups, YEEHAW!!!
  • + 8
 I miss Ragot on the circuit
  • + 6
 Minnaar has been on the podium 4 out of the 6 times there's been a race here? Unreal how consistent he is
  • + 6
 The weather is gonna be shit. And I was hoping for some beers in the sun...
  • + 1
 Go on Danny boy!!!!
  • + 4
 The only person who can stop Rachel from winning is herself. Although she could allow herself one crash and still come home in front. She is surely the GOAT.
  • + 9
 Anne-caro
9 × dh world champ
5 × world cup overall
2 × dual slalom world champ
2 × four cross world champ
1 × dual slalom world cup overall
1 × four cross overall
3 × junior dh world champ
3 × bmx world champ
1 × bmx olympic gold medalist

Would be interesting to see Anne-caro and Rachel racing against each other. Could happen after Anne-caro gets ridding again after cancer!
Sooo much respect for ALL the women who ride bikes hard. Inspirational!!
  • + 7
 @slowrider73: Funny thing happened after this years' Fort Bill. My soon-to-be-wife ended up watching it with me, because reasons, and was amazed, that there actually was a ladies category in "such a sport", and instantly became a fan of Tracey Hannah ("she looks cute and she seems to know her riding")
By a lucky chance, I am in a process of building a new mid-travel rig, so my old trusty trailbike is without use.

Yesterday I took her for her officially first backcountry ride on a dual-suspension bike. We are now looking forward to a lifetime of riding together. DH WC is amazing shit, I tell you.
  • + 1
 @yxbix: love ya work mate! The world needs more ladies like your other half! My wife is the same. Shes a female firefighter in a metro area and is only one of 12 out of 800+ males. RESPECT!

.......Enjoy your riding with your girl. Good stuff
  • + 4
 @yxbix: Such a compelling story. My girlfriend hit a tree and got mad with me. You win
  • + 2
 @slowrider73: You have the facts right there. AC is the real GOAT. Hell, her stats put any of the men to shame as well (Minnar, Vouilloz etc).
AC = GOAT simple as that.
  • + 1
 @Skootur: ......amen to that. I didnt put her EWS stats in either! She just keeps going. I dont think this "cancer" thing has got much of a chance against her either!!
  • + 2
 I miss the Mythic Racing track walks Adam and Scott used to do for our entertainment.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=csVjyqYYaAo

Old Brayton is strictly business I'm sure, since his trip to the boxes last weekend. Would be good to see the band back together tho...
  • + 2
 Danny Hart does not have a moutstache. Rather a poor collection of bumfluff glued to his top lip. Please someone give him a quiet talking to about his facial hair!
  • + 1
 I disagree - it's a rad Chavstache
  • + 2
 Rat has the fastest winning time of all the WCs held at leogang, hope he takes this one.. I miss the sydicate post win parties! "we railed berms in Leogang!"
  • + 3
 Brendog's said it all... "especially as I now know we don't need to pedal there anymore! Wink"
  • + 2
 Speaking of the tapegate, in Fort William it seems some riders have gone out of the tape and didn't return to the track from where they went out, but they still got result?
  • + 3
 I reckon Troy will be hungry after a ( for him anyway ) not such a good result at ft bill. Gonna be ON!!
  • + 3
 The return of Gwin? Jeebus, he's first in the standings and got second place in Fort Bill.
  • + 5
 Return ? He never left
  • + 1
 Bike park track or not it's better to watch on TV then fort bill, I find fort William makes the riders look slow when watching in telly no sense of the actual speed there going. Crowd at FW is mental though which makes it!
  • + 0
 Especially since the new wood section was a lottery. Luck seemed to be the deciding factor there. I hope they don't race that section again next year.
  • + 3
 He probably could but Im pretty sure he did like 1 manual
  • + 0
 check out my fort bill write up, not as fancy as the pros but who doesn't love more pics!! Theres one from Lourdes too.... double win!!

1behindthetape.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/costa-del-bill
  • + 2
 Maybe gwins handlebars will snap this year and he will win it just holding onto the stem
  • + 1
 Gwin is actually Chuck Norris - no disguise necessary...
  • + 3
 By the way, what happened to Floriane PUGIN?
  • + 3
 This is going to be simply epic!! Can't wait!!!
  • + 0
 @geebeebee

Tapegate happened at the so called Hollywood Section. Stairs of Contrast is the very steep and technical section which comes right before it Smile Just sayin'
  • + 3
 Floodgate
  • + 3
 That could very well happen!
  • + 1
 Omfg that vid robs cultural learnings in austria absolutely hilarious!!!
  • + 0
 There are few things I watch frequently; Godfather I,II, Snatch and Gwin`s run from Leogang.
  • + 1
 Gonna be there in Mountain Germany 3
  • + 1
 stole Connors first win ????

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