Finals Photo Epic: Weekend of the OTB - DH World Cup Leogang 2021

Jun 13, 2021
by Nathan Hughes  




Leogang 2021 could justifiably be remembered as the 'year of the OTB'. It's certainly not usual to see the best riders in the world flying out the front door with the frequency and ferocity that we did over this past week. Conditions were mighty tough, or at least they started that way. Somehow the weather behaved impeccably for both qualifying and finals, but that meant to race on the ragged edge demanded riders shake off the ingrained caution of 'survival mode' and opened things up to eye-watering pace... and that's pretty quick when you're wearing goggles.

The nightmarish forest section, first rearing its ugly head in time for some terrible late season weather at the World Champs last year, proved itself again to be the make-or-break minute on this track. Or so it seemed until Thibaut Daprela showed the old guard how much time can be made by surfing his front wheel down the hard-pack upper slopes in what was surely the most exciting run of the day. Top qualifier Troy Brosnan would have the last word, capitalising on Daprela's stall in the woods and threading an immaculate line through the forest. Troy's much deserved hat-trick is finally complete with some generous spacing; Vallnord 2017 and Fort William 2014.

Further excitement came in the form of Amaury Pierron's impressive return to the box after injury last season and top performances from World Champ, Reece Wilson and French national champ, Benoit Coulanges. The women’s race was no less wide-open and no less thrilling as we saw Camille Balanche blast the nay-sayers who doubted her victory here last autumn with a decisive win in the dry; albeit following a devastating eject in the final turn for home-town hero Vali Holl. Monika Hrastnik, Marine Cabirou and Tahnee Seagrave rounded out the podium in one scintillating start to the season that leaves us very much thirsty for more.




It was a misty start to the day but thankfully it soon burnt off and we were treated to a dry day of racing.
It was a misty start to the day but thankfully it soon burnt off and we were treated to a dry day of racing.

Dakotah Norton throwing style over one feature...
Finals day show-boating is the best. Dakotah Norton throwing style over one feature...

...and then the next.
...and then the next for good measure.

The fastest junior women enjoying thiner moment in the sun
The fastest junior women enjoying their moment in the sun.

An Austrian taking a commanding victory Sounds familiar Sophie Gutohrle following in the footsteps of her compatriot Vali Holl with a 10 second victory in the junior women.
An Austrian taking a commanding victory? Sounds familiar! Sophie Gutohrle following in the footsteps of her compatriot Vali Holl with a 10 second victory in the junior women.

Second place finisher Leona Pierrini is looking to take back no. 1 come Les Gets.
Second place finisher, Leona Pierrini, is looking to take back no. 1 come Les Gets.

3rd in Junior Women for Izabela Yankova
3rd in Junior Women for Izabela Yankova.

Oisin O Callaghan was a little further back today for whatever reason meaning he couldn t take back to back wins here in Leogang.
Oisin O'Callaghan was a little further back today for whatever reason meaning he couldn't take back to back wins here in Leogang.

Third place for Denis Luffman on the drying course.
Third place for Denis Luffman on the drying course.

Pau Menoyo Busquets had been looking sensational all weekend but a messy qualifying left him further back. He got it all together when it mattered though for his first World Cup victory.
Pau Menoyo Busquets had been looking sensational all weekend, but a messy qualifying left him further back. He got it all together when it mattered though for his first World Cup victory.

Man of the future junior bicycle phenom Jackson Goldstone takes second place at his first ever World Cup.
Man of the future; junior bicycle phenom Jackson Goldstone takes second place at his first ever World Cup.

The next generation
The next generation.

Ele Farina just missed out on the podium by less than a second.
Ele Farina just missed out on the podium by less than a second.

Things didn t quite click for Tahnee Seagrave this weekend leaving her in 5th.
Things didn't quite click for Tahnee Seagrave this weekend, leaving her in 5th.

Marine Cabirou ended her weekend in 4th
Marine Cabirou fought the good fight, but would end her weekend in 4th

2 race run crashes for Myriam Nicole left her back in 8th.
2 race run crashes for Myriam Nicole left her back in 8th.

Two falls is very uncharacteristic for Myriam Nicole. That s racing sometimes.
Two falls is very uncharacteristic for Myriam Nicole. That's racing sometimes.

3rd for Monika Hrastnik
3rd for Dorval's increasingly consistent, Monika Hrastnik.

Nothing but gold today for World Champion Camille Balanche
Nothing but gold today for World Champion, Camille Balanche

Balanche takes an eager look back as she begins realizing she may have pulled off the win again on the same track and similar conditions as Worlds in the fall.
Balanche takes an eager look back as she begins realizing she may have pulled off the win again on the same track and similar conditions as Worlds in the fall.

So nearly putting wrongs to right... After breaking her leg on her home track for Worlds Vali H ll was ready to storm to victory.
So nearly putting wrongs to right... After breaking her leg on her home track for Worlds, Vali Holl was ready to storm to victory.

Speechless at the finish Vali s misfortune with her home track continues.
Speechless at the finish, Vali's misfortune with her home track continues.

A day she d like to forget Vali who had the win in the bag until disaster struck in view of the finish jump was far enough ahead to gather herself for second.
A day she'd like to forget, Vali who had the win in the bag until disaster struck in view of the finish jump, was far enough ahead to gather herself for second.

Doing the stripes proud Balanche takes the win after a wild weekend in Austria.
Doing the stripes proud, Balanche takes the win after a wild weekend in Austria.

Camille Balanche backing up her World Championship win with a World Cup win on the very same track.
Camille Balanche backing up her World Championship win with a World Cup win on the very same track.

Two wins in a row at Leogang for Camille Balanche
Two wins in a row at Leogang for Camille Balanche

Skills with Kade Edwards
Skills with Kade Edwards

After winning here so many times Loic Bruni was looking for more than 10th
After winning here so many times, Loic Bruni was looking for more than 10th

It wasn t to be for Loris Vergier on his Trek debut with a mechanical taking him out early in his run.
It wasn't to be for Loris Vergier on his Trek debut with a mechanical taking him out early in his run.

Greg Minnaar was 4 seconds back in 12th.
Greg Minnaar was 4 seconds back in 12th.

Spare a thought for TRF s Chuck Harrison. In the form of his life coming into the race but now headed home from Europe for surgery on Monday. We look forward to the come back later in the season.
Spare a thought for TRF's Chuck Harrison. In the form of his life coming into the race, but now headed home from Europe for surgery on Monday. We look forward to the come back later in the season.

Finn Iles is bound to find himself on the top step soon enough. He qualified high and his split times show his strength. Unfortunately a few bobbles had him out of contention on the rutted track.
Finn Iles is bound to find himself on the top step soon enough. He qualified high and his split times show his strength. Unfortunately, a few bobbles had him out of contention on the rutted track.

Matching his plate number is Remi Thirion with a strong eighth place finish.
Matching his plate number is Remi Thirion with a strong eighth place finish.

Hometown hero of the mens race David Trummer rode to a top 20 for the local fans.
Hometown hero of the men’s race, David Trummer, rode to a top 20 for the local fans.

Eddy Masters was showing mostly green splits until the very end of his run landing him just out of the top 10.
Eddy Masters was showing mostly green splits until the very end of his run, landing him just out of the top 10.

Greg Williamson bringing his blend of Scottish style to the mountains with a 13th place finish.
Greg Williamson bringing his blend of Scottish style to the mountains with a 13th place finish.

Matteo Iniguez off the final jump
Matteo Iniguez off the final jump

Charlie Hatton was in touch through the first few splits but would lose time towards the bottom. 15th is still a great result for the young Brit.
Charlie Hatton was in touch through the first few splits but would lose time towards the bottom. 15th is still a great result for the young Brit.

Greg Minnaar putting in pedal strokes wherever he could fit them.
Greg Minnaar putting in pedal strokes wherever he could fit them.

Brook Macdonald shaving time off and keeping it low on the motorway.
Brook Macdonald shaving time off and keeping it low on the motorway.

MacDonald crossing over with some Redbull break-dancing in the last turn that took down Hoell.
MacDonald crossing over with some Redbull break-dancing in the last turn that took down Hoell.

Today was a rough one for Brook MacDonald
A top ten qualifier yesterday and a brilliant run right up until the crash made it a rough one for old Bulldog.

The Redbull drones are getting out of hand..
These Redbull TV drones are getting out of hand.

Angel Suarez was in touch today and had Amaury holding his breath on the hot seat. That dreaded third split had him down and out frustrated for more.
Angel Suarez was in touch today and had Amaury holding his breath on the hot seat. That dreaded third split had him down and out, frustrated for more.

Greenland was thirsty for more but reluctantly settled off the podium in 7th.
Greenland was thirsty for more, but reluctantly settled off the podium in 7th.

Danny Hart looked like he would be getting a long awaited Leogang podium but would miss out to Coulanges by a couple of tenths.
Danny Hart looked like he would be getting a long awaited Leogang podium, but would miss out to Coulanges by a couple of tenths.

Two green splits for Danny Hart to start the run but just couldn t quite hold it together in the pesky woods. Just outside the podium for him today in sixth.
Two green splits for Hart to start his run, but just couldn't quite hold it together in the pesky woods.

Returning to the scene of the crime. Reece Wilson back up his World Champs win with a 4th place in very different conditions.
Returning to the scene of the crime. Reece Wilson back up his World Champs win with a 4th place in very different conditions.

Just like Camille Balanche Reece Wilson silenced any doubters today. 4th place for the Scotsman.
Just like Camille Balanche, Reece Wilson silenced any doubters today. 4th place for the Scotsman.

Benoit Coulanges has always been a threat and today he finally got that elusive World Cup podium he d been chasing.
Benoit Coulanges has always been a threat and today he finally got that elusive World Cup podium he'd been chasing.

It was great to see Amaury Pierron back between the World Cup tape. He didn t need long to get up to speed and took third place today.
It was great to see Amaury Pierron back between the World Cup tape. He didn't need long to get up to speed and took third place today.

After missing last year due to injury Amaury Pierron is definitely back
After missing last year due to injury, Amaury Pierron is definitely back

Now we really can t wait to see Daprela s run on home soil in two weeks time.
Now we really can't wait to see Daprela's run on home soil in two weeks time.

Thibaut Daprela lunging for the line. He d displace his teammate from the hot seat but would then be beaten by Brosnan.
Thibaut Daprela lunging for the line. He'd displace his teammate from the hot seat but would then be beaten by Brosnan.

Daprela had all the answers today except for split four which would be his eventual demise. There s no doubting he ll be in and around the hot seat from now on.
Daprela had all the answers today except for split four, which would be his eventual demise. There's no doubting he'll be in and around the hot seat from now on.

A huge mistake in the lower woods cost Thibaut Daprela his first elite win today
Just the one mistake in the woods cost him his first elite win today.

The most stressful seat in the house.
The most stressful seat in the house.

Much deserved long awaited. TB finds his way back to the top step after a 4 year hiatus.
Much deserved, long awaited. Troy Brosnan finds his way back to the top step after a 4 year hiatus.

Insanity on the verge of eruption as Troy gets the well deserved win.
Insanity on the verge of eruption as Troy gets the well deserved win.

Mr Consistency wasn t fooling around today turning it up to 11 as his run wore down.
Mr Consistency wasn't fooling around today, turning it up to 11 as his run wore down.

Win or lose the top riders always celebrate the achievements of their peers. Not a common site in so many other forms of sport
Win or lose, the top riders always celebrate the achievements of their peers. Not a common site in so many other forms of sport

The fastest men in Leogang
The fastest men in Leogang

Some fizz to celebrate a rare Monster 1 2 3 on the mens podium.
Some fizz to celebrate a rare Monster 1,2,3 on the mens podium and Troy's long awaited hat-trick of World Cup wins.

Drinking it all in
Drinking it all in



56 Comments

  • 117 1
 Daprela's run was bonkers. Shame he got hung up in the woods. Brooks gap to the wall ride was damn nuts too. I literally stood up because of that move. Dude is a legend.
  • 40 1
 it was very well recorded too, he might've been doing that since practice and the camera guy noticed it and got prepared for Brook's run, kudos to the camera man too.
  • 4 2
 Dakotah Norton I think was the first person I seen do that a few years ago. Not convinced it's faster. It looks like you can pump into that wall ride faster just speeding onto it instead of how landing the gap seem.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure Ed Masters did it before too.
  • 2 0
 @locoola:
Hart did it too few years back
  • 54 1
 Brook Macdonald wins the smoothest move of the weekend landing in that wallride
  • 14 1
 Yeah but his most awesome move really was when he tried to get back on his bike after his wee lie down. That was wicked.
  • 3 1
 @Madfella: after what he's been through a crash like that must be pretty scary in the moment, all the more impressive that he jumps straight back on the bike like that!!
  • 36 0
 I'm just so stoked for Troy. I still remember this run from 10 years ago when he did a similar thing, nailing the bottom section to land on the elite podium as a junior. It may not have been a win but I think it was one of his most impressive results considering his age and the context (this was before the days of seperate junior categories) www.pinkbike.com/video/213532

Since then he's been a constant presence on the podium and probably the most consistent rider in the field, but so often found himself a close second or third. It just shows how hard it is to win these races when there's so many guys that can do the business on the day. But he's three wins in now and I think there'll be more to come...
  • 20 1
 This was a great race! Pierron's run was insane and out of control, Brook's gap to wall ride was ridiculous. Daprela's run was unbelievable, I didn't think he had a chance until he was up on the splits in the woods. And of course Brosnan. I thought Daprela had it, especially since Brosnan was back at the top splits. Crazy how he pulled it back! Awesome racing, looking forward to the next!
  • 18 0
 This sport never disappoints. It’s always incredibly exciting to watch. These are the athletes that should be followed by more kids. The level of dedication, athleticism, and skill that it takes to participate in this at the highest level is simply mind boggling. Two of the top riders coming down that hill had both recovered from broken vertebrae. I’m sure that’s a career ender in some other sports. The sportsmanship displayed by the members of this amazing sport is also second to none. Truly an incredible race today.
  • 17 1
 best world cup photo series I've seen.
  • 17 0
 Top riding pics aside, Troy's champagne foam tower is just an epic shot !
  • 2 0
 @CrankeeetUp: Pierrons cork mid flight.
  • 16 0
 Brook Macdonald's wall ride though
  • 14 1
 So I guess these people are pretty good at biking.
  • 9 1
 Man i’m so in love with those dharco kits on the commencal team. They look incredible.
  • 1 0
 Bike seems to work also.
  • 7 0
 Dear Nathan, you and your colleague habe put together a wonderful array of photos. Thank you! They are beautiful.
  • 4 0
 Those woods... freaking terrifying! I personally don't like when an entire race is decided by one small section of track, but hey, the riders wanted more jank. So no complaints.
  • 5 0
 God did I miss DH WC. The race didn't disappoint.
  • 5 1
 Great start to the season! Thanks for all of the coverage Smile
  • 4 1
 Awesome start to the season!
  • 3 0
 Not a common site indeed. Some amazing photos though!
  • 4 1
 WELCOME BACK WORLD CUP!!!!
  • 2 0
 The field is arguably the best we've seen and TB is always up there. Troy on the way to GOAT status.
  • 1 0
 f*ck off with that Kade Edwards photo Dave Trumpore. Absolutely unreal. How?
  • 1 0
 Check the down votes loser.No one wants to hear you spout homophobic hate speech.Get a life.
  • 1 0
 One can only wonder if those bontrager tires are up to the task...
  • 1 0
 they should have a viewers winner....
  • 1 0
 Why???

You want to go camping?
  • 1 0
 Brosnan! Yes!
  • 1 1
 Camille Balanche's pants should be illegal.
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