DH World Cup 3 - Leogang Preview and Track Walk

Jun 11, 2015
by Dave Trumpore  
Following Fort William it was a mad dash out of the Scottish Highlands in order to reach the small alpine village of Leogang, Austria. While racers and race fans love back to back rounds it can be a massive undertaking for the support crews and staff to tear down, travel and set up in time for the next round and a trip to Leogang is no exception. By air, land, and sea the riders and all the infrastructure set off on what, to some, felt like an endless journey. Luckily after the horrendous weather that plagued Fort William everyone was greeted to extremely warm temps and ample sunshine in Austria, allowing tents, shoes, cameras, and clothing to finally dry out.

A nice run up a few hills on the way out of Scotland made everything better after Fort Bill.
  A nice run up a few hills on the way out of Scotland made everything better after Fort Bill.

After three days of hellish rain and winter temps Scotland decided to play nice on the way out.
  After three days of hellish rain and winter temps, Scotland decided to play nice on the way out.

By air land and sea the World Cup circus made the lng haul from Fort William to Leogang.
  By air, land and sea the World Cup circus made the long haul from Fort William to Leogang.

Beware of MadDogPirates when at sea. They will rob you of your money and your beer.
  Beware of MadDogPirates when at sea. They will rob you of your money and your beer.

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

As for the venue, Leogang always seems to get a bad rap for having a track that is too straight forward or too "bike parky", and while this may be true over the years it has still created some incredible racing. In 2012 we saw Greg Minnaar win World Champs by the narrowest of margins, in 2013 Steve Smith would claim his World Cup title in a race that came down to the very last run, and in 2014 we saw Aaron Gwin race on only his rim while Loic Bruni crashed in sight of the finish to give Josh Bryceland his first ever World Cup Victory. The times have always been tight and there have always been a few crux sections that have decided the race, so while it may not be the hardest track in the world it's still a great one for racing the clock.

What's in store for racers in 2015? How about a very, very different track that might just silence the haters a bit?

Gone are many of the simple hard packed sections in the woods, and in their place we now have multiple off cambers, fresh cut woods deep in loam, and lots and lots of new corners. It is anything but straight forward, and anyone who has raced here for years will not be able to rely much on prior experience. Even the open bits have seen some clever taping to force riders off and back onto the main line to put more of an emphasis on carrying speed. Yes a few bits do look awkward, but nothing looks dumb or out of place. It is not simply change for the sake of change, but rather it is change for the better.

After horendous weather in Scotland it was a warm welcome in Leogang and the pits were set up under warmand sunny skies.
  After horrendous weather in Scotland it was a warm welcome in Leogang, and the pits were set up under warm and sunny skies.

Setup tear down and setup again. BAck to back World Cup s mean a ton of long hours for the mechanics and support staff working behind the scenes.
  Setup, tear down, and setup again. Back to back World Cup's mean a ton of long hours for the mechanics and support staff working behind the scenes.

Worst assistant ever. Flashes are for metal according to Boris.
  Worst assistant ever. Flashes are for metal according to Boris.

Danny Hart suffered a brutal inhury on his last practice run in Fort William and sdaly will be sitting it out this weekend. Internal bleeding is nothing to take lightly and another crash would likely end his whole season so it s better safe than sorry this round.
  Danny Hart suffered a brutal injury on his last practice run in Fort William and sadly will be sitting it out this weekend. Internal bleeding is nothing to take lightly and another crash would likely end his whole season, so it's better safe than sorry this round.

Finn Isles is here this weekend as a course fore runner and will be gaining valuable experience riding the track with the fastest riders in the world.
  Finn Iles is here this weekend as a course fore runner and will be gaining valuable experience riding the track with the fastest riders in the world.

From thetop of the track the views are simpy breathtaking.
  From the top of the track the views are simply breathtaking.

Tracey Hannah drops in.
  Tracey Hannah drops in.

AG hoping to make headlines for the fastest time as opposed to biggest hero this time round.
  AG hoping to make headlines for the fastest time as opposed to biggest hero this time round.

Brook Checking the line that goes yup off the tradition track and into some very off camber grass.
  Brook checking the line that goes up off the traditional track and into some very off camber grass.

As in past years interupting the hard-pack cruises of the upper section are the man-made bike destroying rock gardens.
  As in past years, interrupting the hard-pack cruises of the upper section are the man-made, bike destroying rock gardens.

Remi Gauvin Bas Van Steenbergen and Miranda Miller prepare to lose phone signal.
  Remi Gauvin, Bas van Steenbergen and Miranda Miller prepare to lose phone signal.

Storms a brewin Leogang s high alpine is a menacing place to be when the weather turns. With the current forecast it seems destined to have a significant impact on the race.
  Storms a brewin. Leogang's high alpine is a menacing place to be when the weather turns. With the current forecast it seems destined to have a significant impact on the race.

Some parts of the upper track have remained unchanged and the years of abuse are quite evident.
  Some parts of the upper track have remained unchanged, and the years of abuse are quite evident.

A pink knife-edged boulder to wake racers up from their daydreams.
  A pink, knife-edged, boulder to wake racers up from their daydreams.

Remy Morton wallride 1 through the bike park portion of the track.
  Remy Morton, wallride #1 through the bike park portion of the track.

High speed tunnel blasting. there have many revisions to the track this season. It s not going to be as fast
  High speed tunnel blasting. there have many revisions to the track this season. It's not going to be as fast.

Because the view here never gets old. Mountains framed in steel culverts.
  Because the view here never gets old. Mountains framed in steel culverts.

Remy Morton wallride 2 just before things get a bit wild.
  Remy Morton, wallride #2 just before things get a bit wild.

The entrance to the forst woods section has been completely reworked with loamy switchbacks and off cambers much to the delight of many riders who thought the old track was too straight forward.
  The entrance to the first wood's section has been completely reworked with loamy switchbacks and off cambers, much to the delight of many riders who thought the old track was too straight forward.

Wyn TV took his best ever result in Fort William with 11th place and he wants more. Much more.
  Wyn TV took his best ever result in Fort William with 11th place and he wants more. Much more.

The first significant divergence from the track of years past. The main features include stumps saw-dust and some hearty loam.
  The first significant divergence from the track of years past. The main features include stumps, saw-dust and some hearty loam.

Freshy fresh. These woods will be very interesting.
  Freshy fresh. These woods will be very interesting.

Possibly the most natural looking terrain ever witnessed here in Leogang.
  Possibly the most natural looking terrain ever witnessed here in Leogang.

Innes Graham tests for sidewinds using sweet sweet mossy forest loam.
  Innes Graham tests for sidewinds using sweet, mossy, forest loam.

Stevie Smith is stoked on the track changes.
  Stevie Smith is stoked on the track changes.

Brazilian Bernard Cruz made the trip over for his first World Cup apperaence of the season.
  Brazilian, Bernard Cruz made the trip over for his first World Cup appearance of the season.

It was good to See Jill Kintner on track today. Always a podium threat she is here racing pretty much as a privateer and should be one to watch all weekend.
  It was good to see Jill Kintner on track today. Always a podium threat, she is here racing pretty much as a privateer and should be one to watch all weekend.

The riders might be able to cruise and enjoy the view here in practice but in the race this will be a full on physical sprint
  The riders might be able to cruise and enjoy the view here in practice, but in the race this will be a full on physical sprint.

The last of the tunnels on track that leads to the long traverse accross the mountian.
  The last of the tunnels on track that leads to the long traverse across the mountain.

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

More clever taping through the lower woods to keep riders on their toes.
  More clever taping through the lower woods to keep riders on their toes.

Mind your derailleur brake rotor chain guide and front wheel placement.
  Mind your derailleur, brake rotor, chain guide, and front wheel placement.

A quick chicane reroutes away from the old track. Plenty of tape has been installed just in case riders are on auto pilot.
  A quick chicane reroutes away from the old track. Plenty of tape has been installed just in case riders are on auto pilot.

Nigel scoping the track walk from the B zone.
  Nigel scoping the track walk from the B zone.

Someone got a hair cut. Someone else is photo bombing.
  Someone got a hair cut. Someone else is photo bombing.

Eddie Masters showing how to style off what he calls the road gap. The style bar has been set.
  Eddie Masters showing how to style off what he calls the "road gap." The style bar has been set.

Nothing to see here. Except Mick Hannah signing a inflatable crocodile in the middle of a gap jump.
  Nothing to see here. Except Mick Hannah signing a inflatable crocodile in the middle of a gap jump.

Super flares on the lower woods during track walk. The last we saw the sun today.
  Super flares on the lower woods during track walk. The last we saw of the sun today.

It s a long way to the bottom so it was nice to find a parking area to stop for a quick break.
  It's a long way to the bottom, so it was nice to find a parking area to stop for a quick break.

This photo was taken from a berm used in the old track. This year riders will cut inside and straigh over the edge.
  This photo was taken from a berm used in the old track. This year riders will cut inside and straigh over the edge.

Last year this section made all the difference with more than a few riders going down during what looked to be winning runs.
  Last year this section made all the difference with more than a few riders going down during what looked to be winning runs.

The final vertical huck to the the finish arena. Yes it s as steep as it looks.
  The final vertical huck to the the finish arena. Yes it's as steep as it looks.

The scene of some unforgetable racing in years past awaits a fresh dose of excitement.
  The scene of some unforgetable racing in years past awaits a fresh dose of excitement.

The Madison boys watch the beginning of what was to be a spectacular evening lightning storm.
  The Madison boys watch the beginning of what was to be a spectacular evening lightning storm.

Bergamont has pit life dialed. Lounging in style till the rains came.
  Bergamont has pit life dialed. Lounging in style till the rains came.

In case you didn t know the GT staff and their roles here s a pictogram.
  In case you didn't know the GT staff and their roles, here's a pictogram.

Rachel s Number one plate all set for round three.
  Rachel's number one plate all set for round three.

Officer Reid getting things dialed for tomorrow.
  Officer Reid getting things dialed for tomorrow.

Matti Lehikoinen brings the beers and the good times to Schwalbe pit.
  Matti Lehikoinen brings the beers and the good times to the Schwalbe pit.

While the fresh cut bits will evolve over the weekend, the other wild card thrown into the mix will be the weather. We are in the Alps after all, where warm and sunny weather in the mountains almost always means afternoon thunderstorms, and this week should prove to be no exception. While track walk took place under sunny skies and on a surface that was dry and dusty, the day ended with a thunder storm of biblical proportions that flooded the pits and nearby river in a matter of minutes. Needless to say the track that the riders walked today is not the one they will be riding tomorrow and we expect to see a lot of slipping, sliding, and roost flying everywhere. Something we have never seen here in Leogang.

Manon on cloud watch. It turned out to be a very poor time to go out for a ride.
  Manon on cloud watch. It turned out to be a very poor time to go out for a ride.

Rain
Rain
Different country same scene. At least this time it s warm.
  Different country, same scene. At least this time it's warm.

We are inthe mountains and that means the sun will only shine for so long. High heat and humidity have been resulting in some massive afternoon storms and today was no exception. Toreential rain and hail flooded the venue and the pits in minutes.
  We are in the mountains and that means the sun will only shine for so long. High heat and humidity have been resulting in some massive afternoon storms and today was no exception. Torrential rain and hail flooded the venue and the pits in minutes.

We're in Leogang all weekend, so stay tuned for more from the pits and practice in the days ahead.






About the Photographers

Dave Trumpore • Age: 35 • Years Shooting: 4
Dave spent the bulk of the past 17 years racing professionally before realizing that despite qualifying for the random World Cup final here and there, the next generation was just way too fast and way more talented. Upon hanging up his racing boots in 2010, it would be a few years until Dave picked up a camera and started shooting the odd race here and there as a way to stay in touch with all the friends he had made over the years, and the rest as they say is history. In just a few years time his photos have graced the pages of just about every MTB magazine and major media outlet, while his commercial client list includes a who's who of the cycling industry, and he is lucky enough to shoot regularly with some of the best riders on the planet. Currently at Pinkbike, Dave shoots the Downhill WC and the Enduro World Series as well as contributing to the occasional editorial story.


Matthew Delorme • Age: 40 • Years Shooting: 8
Matthew DeLorme is just one of Pinkbike’s motley crew of World Cup Photographers. He currently lives out of a Ogio bag, and calls the road his home. Delorme works for Trek Bicycle, covering their MTB racing programs. He can usually be found laying in the dirt trackside, cracking jokes and saying things that make little to no sense. He enjoys capturing accessory moments and the journey every bit as much as catching the action shot.



Nathan Hughes • Age: 28 • Years Shooting: 2
Nathan Hughes was snared as mainstay Pinbike media crew for the 2013 World Cup season and has been trapped behind the lens and the keyboard ever since. In between the biggest bike events of the year Nathan can be found on client shoots, making far-off travel stories and trying to catch a moment to spin the pedals himself. A great appreciation of the wilderness, the fear of a normal life and the quest for the perfect picture will have him hooked and looking to raise the bar for years to come.



69 Comments

  • + 108
 Now that's a bruise.
  • + 13
 Looks like hes had hot tar chucked at him , nasty shit
  • + 5
 Heal up Danny! We want to see you in it for the long haul this year.
  • + 45
 1. That's really a bruise.
2. Remy Morton isn't taking things serious.
3. Brosnan is finally looking like a human being again.
4. Manon is lookin quite cute over there.
5. What is Lehikoinen actually doin? Would be interesting to get some facts about his daily life. Smile

#factsforyourfriday
  • + 2
 Matti rides enduro for nukeproof!
  • + 22
 5. Lehikonen is the trainer for the Norwegian DH team and racing the EWS.
4. Indeed
3. Isn't that hair just tucked into his caps?
2. There's nothing more serious than a wall ride.
1. Ouch.

#answersforyourfriday
  • + 3
 Danny Hart, what can you say? Beast! Already one of my favourite riders, I like him even more now I know he's a bit tubby like me!
  • + 2
 Looks like a sonogram. Boy or girl?
  • + 54
 don't mean to brag but in ontario we have a couple XC trails. thats right be jealous
  • + 41
 In my area they are working on paving all of the trails and removing any rocks, be very jealous.
  • + 11
 ^ that sucks...

We have so few rocks at our local we have to bring them if we want a rock garden !
  • + 3
 Lol
  • + 2
 nasty rocks, better get rid of those
  • + 30
 every time i see the word "preview" i assume claudio is involved. Yet again disappointed.
  • + 26
 Even my wife (who could care less about MTB) wants to see Claudio's course previews.
  • + 6
 Claudio's runs are amazing, but this preview is so good, athmospheric and interesting!
  • + 1
 thx @dirtyE
  • + 2
 Yep same here @brandwinnie
  • + 21
 i'm liking that they actually made some good changes!!
  • + 4
 Many small changes make for a completely different track. That woods section is gonna get GNARLY!
  • - 1
 I wonder how the changes will work with the weather... it's only set to get worse. New sections are great but 2 tracks in 2 weekends with new sections of dirt to roots before a monsoon...
  • + 18
 About time Troy got a hair cut. That mop would have weighed at least 758g. Would have made that bike very top heavy.
  • + 4
 Matti more than compensated. Hair is good.
  • + 1
 I miss the hair now!
  • + 7
 Think it's just tucked up
  • + 1
 He still has his hair. Wink
  • + 17
 Stevie...let's hope this is the comeback race for you!
  • + 11
 Simply amazing photo write-up. Quality stuff PB!
  • + 10
 What a beautiful part of the world. Going to be a great race.
  • + 5
 Stoked to see Finn out at the world cups, raced against him in DH as well as in alpine ski racing, put 30 seconds on me at most DH races and put 2 seconds on everyone in the North American Championship GS (a lot for ski racing where the first 30 people are within a second), the kid is crazy...
  • + 7
 If heaven had a downhill track, it would look like this.
  • + 21
 I'd rather ride Champery in hell
  • + 8
 @shankes3 Good luck w that. Hell is filled with flat tires and huffy bikes.
  • + 2
 There are many very fast moving things to get excited about this weekend (epic racing and Claudio, obviously), but I'd just like to post some love for the skill of these three lensmen. The locations are beautiful and the camaraderie is intense but you bring them over to those of us who aren't lucky enough to be there in person. Not sure what it is about this set that I like so much - possibly the variety of landscape and people and weather, maybe. I'm really digging the galleries this season! Keep it up ...
  • + 5
 I love the GT pit whiteboard. Looks like Sven and Boris are the resident drunkards.
  • + 1
 I find it oddly fitting, on a separate subject, that the dude on the excavator has his name covered up. Maybe its AJ? Alex? Nobody knows who their local builder is.
  • + 1
 'Affy' aka Dan Atherton I believe, as seen on Vital. Wonder why Gee's doing a cartwheel? In celebration? Taking that as an omen for the contest!
  • + 2
 I would guess it was Affy (Dan)
  • + 1
 I think they're probably making fun of Gee for crashing a lot
  • + 5
 Why is Jill riding as a privateer? Have I missed something here....
  • + 1
 What's up with that? Her web page mentions "no team, no mechanic..." Wonder what happened?
jillkintner.com/home.html
  • + 1
 Cool to see her there. Perhaps since WC’s weren’t included in her ‘’list of events’’ she has to pay out of pocket to compete?
  • + 3
 seriously?Norco has sam and harry there why not give jill some support as well,she's certainly proven to be worthy.
  • + 4
 A world without PB photojournalists...would really leave a lot to be desired.
  • + 3
 Danny, stay on your bike the next time!!!
  • + 1
 Who knows, will be whether or not the rider photo(with a strong minor injury) to participate in the race? If yes, what analgesics can help you?
  • + 4
 Where's Claudio?
  • + 1
 Well done to who ever finally listened to the riders. Should make for an interesting race if everyone is loving the track and motivated to pin it.
  • + 2
 Great pics and reporting, thanks !!!
  • + 2
 If only Sam Hill was here....
  • + 1
 Jill Kintner is a privateer?!
I think she is still in Norco Race Development.
  • + 1
 Now ben reid really do look like an officer, with that glasses, hair, n that stache
  • + 1
 Yes! Manon on cloud watch!!
  • + 1
 Who does Borris work for? Freelance??
  • + 1
 He's an editor at a german MTB magazine...
  • + 1
 No guys sitting in a van drinking beer shot?
  • + 1
 Danny Harts scar looks a bit like the Santa Cruz logo. Is this a prophecy?
  • + 1
 Bruni? Gwin? Minnaar? Smith?
  • + 1
 you might have 4 of the 5 in the podium right there
  • + 0
 Brycland, minnaar, Atherton.
  • + 1
 Danny! NOO! that looks intense....
  • + 1
 Gonna be rad!
  • + 1
 Danny :O
  • + 1
 Claudio preview please
  • + 1
 Stay on your bike Danny!
  • + 0
 Too bad about Danny.

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