Practice: Coming in Hot - Leogang DH World Cup 2019

Jun 7, 2019
by Dave Trumpore  




Even the overnight thunderstorms were no match for the blazing Austrian sunshine as riders tackled the newly reworked Leogang track in near perfect conditions. The fresh new bits really only needed the morning to bed in, and by mid-afternoon riders were lighting up the track. And while the track has certainly been slowed down in a few key spots the majority of it still sees riders coming down full gas.

It's the type of track that the majority of the riders look comfortable and up to pace on so it's difficult to tell who the real standouts are during practice. But if you were looking to place your bets, the riders on the podium last weekend in Fort William are certainly the ones riding with an air of confidence around them here in Leogang. However, with it not being the gnarliest of tracks, don't be shocked to see some suprise faces in the mix. And when you consider the variety of riders that have been on the podium this year in all classes, many for the first time, it really is hard to rule many people out.

Timed training surely proved that with a different list of names in the bunch with Mitch Ropelato sneaking in to the top five and the always quick Bernard Kerr taking top honors in the men's. Both the women's categories saw the usual suspects in a fairly predictable order, but the junior men's results were full of names we've not really been used to seeing before.

Tomorrow the click ticks for real though, and when qualifying times come flying in we will have a far better idea of who's who and what's what on the dry and dusty track here in Leogang.


Nothing but blue skies today in Leogang.
Nothing but blue skies today in Leogang.

The best thing about this side of Austria is there are more cows than people.
The best thing about this side of Austria is there are more cows than people.

Someone is happy inters not raining this week.
Someone is happy it's not raining this week.

Rachel Atherton ready to send it with the number one plate on the front of her bike here in Leogang.
Rachel Atherton ready to send it with the number one plate on the front of her bike here in Leogang.

The Fort William hangover still lingers on. Not only did Loic Bruni loose the number 1 plate he banged himself up pretty good too.
The Fort William hangover still lingers on. Not only did Loic Bruni lose the number 1 plate, he banged himself up pretty good too.

Luca Shaw and mechanic Dougy getting the V10 dialled in for first runs.
Luca Shaw and mechanic Dougy getting the V10 dialled in for first runs.

Reece Wilson gets some last minute physio work done before heading up the hill. After slamming a tree in Fort William he s feeling a bit beat up this week.
Reece Wilson gets some last minute physio work done before heading up the hill. After slamming a tree in Fort William he's feeling a bit beat up this week.

Danny Hart patiently waiting for the final few tweaks to be made on his bike before cracking on with practice.
Danny Hart patiently waiting for the final few tweaks to be made on his bike before cracking on with practice.

Keegan Wright keeping it chill before things get hectic up on track.
Keegan Wright keeping it chill before things get hectic up on track.

It must be hard to concentrate on the task at hand coming down the track when this view is in your face the whole way down.
It must be hard to concentrate on the task at hand coming down the track when this view is in your face the whole way down.

Kaos holding the Seagrave fort here in Austria.
Kaos holding down the Seagrave fort here in Austria.

Even on his first run Aaron Gwin meant business today. He has put down some legendary runs here and will be looking to kickstart his otherwise mediocre season.
Even on his first run Aaron Gwin meant business today. He has put down some legendary runs here and will be looking to kickstart his otherwise mediocre season.

A big mountain and a small Rachel Atherton.
A big mountain and a small Rachel Atherton.

Loic Bruni might still be a bit sore after his crash last week but int sure isn t slowing him down any in Leogang.
Loic Bruni might still be a bit sore after his crash last week but it sure isn't slowing him down any in Leogang.

Keegan Wright enjoying some time on a DH bike before switching back to the EWS in a few weeks.
Keegan Wright enjoying some time on a DH bike before switching back to the EWS in a few weeks.

Hugo Frixtalon s front wheel kicks up the dust as he scrubs one of the fastest jumps on the lower motor way section.
Hugo Frixtalon's front wheel kicks up the dust as he scrubs one of the fastest jumps on the lower motorway section.

Mitch. Ropelato.
Mitch. Ropelato.

Kye A Hern drifting in the dust and almost out of control through the tape.
Kye A'Hern drifting in the dust and almost out of control through the tape.

Creatures of the savanna getting buckwild.
Creatures of the savanna getting buckwild.

What a start to the season it has been for Matt Walker with a podium and another solid top 10 he ll be looking for more of the same this weekend.
What a start to the season it has been for Matt Walker with a podium and another solid top 10, he'll be looking for more of the same this weekend.

Rachel Atherton at full gas and looking way ahead as she speeds down the motorway section.
Rachel Atherton at full gas and looking way ahead as she speeds down the motorway section.

Tracey Hannah diving back into the open out of the first tunnel.
Tracey Hannah diving back into the open out of the first tunnel.

Fastest in timed training would be Bernard Kerr.
Fastest in timed training would be Bernard Kerr.

There s plenty of loose gravel lurking off line as Loris Vergier finds out.
There's plenty of loose gravel lurking off line as Loris Vergier finds out.

Connor Fearon cranking it over in one of the fresh sections which has cut in nicely after a few reservations on track walk yesterday.
Connor Fearon cranking it over in one of the fresh sections which has cut in nicely after a few reservations on track walk yesterday.

Dean Lucas stomping his way throught the stump-riddled Leogang battleground.
Dean Lucas stomping his way through the stump-riddled Leogang battleground.

Strange to see a rider of Flo Payet s calibre with 3 digits on the plate expect him to be back up there before long.
Strange to see a rider of Flo Payet's caliber with 3 digits on the plate, expect him to be back up there before long.

G-Willy digging in high up on track.
G-Willy digging in high up on track.

The World Champ on his first lap throught the meadows in his pink threads.
The World Champ on his first lap through the meadows in his pink threads.

Number one on the plate number 1 in the series 2nd in the timed training session today it s TB.
Number one on the plate, number 1 in the series, 2nd in the timed training session today, it's TB.

Eddie Masters creeping ever closer to that top 10 ranking.
Eddie Masters creeping ever closer to that top 10 ranking.

It s 2 out of 2 so far for Thibaut Daprela in 2019. He s out to make it 3 here in Leogang.
It's 2 out of 2 so far for Thibaut Daprela in 2019. He's out to make it 3 here in Leogang.

Nina Hoffmann was awarded the first ever Privateer Award by Wyn Masters the other day and she surely earned it.
Nina Hoffmann was awarded the first-ever Privateer Award by Wyn Masters the other day and she surely earned it.

Finn Iles kicking up dust.
Finn Iles kicking up dust.

Veronika Widmann charging the off camber bit. If her result in Fort William is anything to go by she should be a fan of this track.
Veronika Widmann charging the off camber bit. If her result in Fort William is anything to go by, she should be a fan of this track.

Mick Hannah setting up wide as he heads into the steep rock face about half way down the track.
Mick Hannah setting up wide as he heads into the steep rock face about halfway down the track.

Look ma no hands Sick Mick Hannah loves a good no hander.
Look ma, no hands! Sick Mick Hannah loves a good no hander.

Brook Macdonald cuts it as far inside as possible heading into the stump section.
Brook Macdonald cuts it as far inside as possible heading into the stump section.

Charlie Hatton squashing jumps and enjoying some big views.
Charlie Hatton squashing jumps and enjoying some big views.

On a high speed course like this one mistakes can be very costly.
On a high-speed course like this one, mistakes can be very costly.

Another racer who is quietly plugging away this year is David Trummer with strong showings in the opening 2 rounds.
Another racer who is quietly plugging away this year is David Trummer with strong showings in the opening 2 rounds.

The motorway jumps are stretch this year with the new taping. It s good to see a few riders still finding the speed.
The motorway jumps are stretch this year with the new taping. It's good to see a few riders still finding the speed.

Neko Mullaly enjoyed a solid 22nd at the especially savage Fort William last weekend. Let s see if he can bring his plate into the teens here in Austria.
Neko Mullaly enjoyed a solid 22nd at the especially savage Fort William last weekend. Let's see if he can bring his plate into the teens here in Austria.

A long course hold was needed this afternoon to airlift Stefan Garlicki from the hillside. After a long recovery from a broken femur last year it s a cruel twist of fate to see him hit the deck once again. Hoping for the best outcome for him this time.
A long course hold was needed this afternoon to airlift Stefan Garlicki from the hillside. After a long recovery from a broken femur last year it's a cruel twist of fate to see him hit the deck once again. Hoping for the best outcome for him this time.

Healing vibes to Stefan Garlicki today.
Healing vibes to Stefan Garlicki today.

Troy Brosnan s bike sitting pretty with the number one plate as he makes quick work of the new setup section.
Troy Brosnan's bike sitting pretty with the number one plate as he makes quick work of the new setup section.

Laurie Greenland into the big loose off camber at the to of the track.
Laurie Greenland into the big loose off camber at the top of the track.

Greenland getting after it on the first straight of the first run.
Greenland getting after it on the first straight of the first run.

Charlie Harrison leads Ethan Shandro though the first of Leogang s many dark tunnels.
Charlie Harrison leads Ethan Shandro though the first of Leogang's many dark tunnels.

Thomas Estaque launching out of the first turn.
Thomas Estaque launching out of the first turn.

Charlie Hatton scrubbing into the lower woods.
Charlie Hatton scrubbing into the lower woods.

Danny Hart has been on the podium at each of the first two rounds this year but has yet to reach the top step. You can be sure the motivation is high in Leogang.
Danny Hart has been on the podium at each of the first two rounds this year but has yet to reach the top step. You can be sure the motivation is high in Leogang.

Fastest in timed training and on home turf for Vali Holl.
Fastest in timed training and on home turf for Vali Holl.

Greg Minnaar speed tucking down the motor way. After Aaron Gwin won here whiteout a chain it s rare to see anyone pedaling on this section and nearly all riders the try instead to keep it aero.
Greg Minnaar speed tucking down the motorway. After Aaron Gwin won here without a chain it's rare to see anyone pedaling on this section, and nearly all riders the try instead to keep it aero.

Every year Kerr puts a big score on the board here in Austria and today he set the time to beat at 3 21.
Every year Kerr puts a big score on the board here in Austria and today he set the time to beat at 3:21.

Brook and Benoit take a scroll through the timed training results.
Brook and Benoit take a scroll through the timed training results.

Loris Vergier has come close to the win here a couple of times he s a solid bet to take the top spot on Sunday.
Loris Vergier has come close to the win here a couple of times, he's a solid bet to take the top spot on Sunday.

Matt Walker s mechanic Matt Allingham dialling in the big rig after training for when things get serious tomorrow.
Matt Walker's mechanic, Matt Allingham, dialling in the big rig after training for when things get serious tomorrow.

All smiles for Amaury Pierron after practice will he now go on another winning streak the same as last year
All smiles for Amaury Pierron after practice, will he now go on another winning streak the same as last year?

Only dust in this web.
Only dust in this web.

This was the only form of moisture to be found on bikes today.
This was the only form of moisture to be found on bikes today.

See you tomorrow for qualifying sports fans.
See you tomorrow for qualifying, sports fans.

Qualifying tomorrow.





MENTIONS: @natedh9 @davetrumpore @andy9 @rossbellphoto




53 Comments

  • + 116
 Hey spread the word of the Go Fund Me campaign that Wyn Masters setup to pass on the $$$ to the hard working UCI WC DH privateers out there! Donate a few bucks if you can!

www.gofundme.com/wc-dh-and-ews-privateer-fund/?viewcontent=225937308&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_email%2B7400-ugc-reengagement

Hey PB - put this on the front page and lets get the privateers some more love!
  • + 7
 I second this!
  • + 2
 Think he wants to do it for EWS racers as well? Such a great idea!
  • + 6
 Jack Moir donated €50 just a few minutes ago. Yeaaahh!
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: pffftttt, Brook MacDonald donated €300!! Great initiative this, go Wyn!
  • + 58
 That Ropelato pic. Speechless.
  • + 11
 It's on video in the vital raw. So sick
  • + 3
 pure talent and skills. unbelievable
  • + 44
 Mitch Ropelato is a savage!
  • + 14
 I can't upvote this enough. The Mitch shot is outstanding.
  • + 31
 did anyone get any footage of Wyn's ridiculous wall ride gap??? www.instagram.com/p/BybCy48BYp5
  • + 2
 Oh my fucking God thats nasty
  • + 7
 I think Dakota norton did it in his race run last year and it was on the broadcast
  • + 5
 Oh, my, god. Looks terrifying.
  • + 1
 Danny Hart also did it in race runs... wild line!
  • + 26
 Best wishes to Stefan Garlicki. Been following his recovery and the Pic of him lying on the track is super sad!
  • + 2
 Keep making South Africa proud bru! We're behind you all the way
  • + 2
 Any updates on his condition?
  • + 1
 @Spark24: Yes buddy. SAffa myself
  • + 17
 Hate hate the zebra kit!
  • + 2
 i know right dawg
  • + 5
 You hate hate it, you're the wrong side of 30. I hate hate hate it. I'm the wrong side of 40 :-)

Fashion fades, only style remains the same.... next year the Zebras will have bolted.
  • + 2
 I thought we left that style in the same place as hair/glam metal.
  • + 1
 Me too. But there’s a lot of other uniforms that are ugly in this world that people are paid to wear.
  • + 1
 Hate it!
  • + 3
 It's the kind of kit that only the fastest can pull off, kinda cool - but I'd never wear it.
  • + 4
 Yeah, and Bruni in the zebra pants and pink shirt - I keep confusing him with Tahnee, even though she's not racing...
  • + 3
 Loic must be getting German spectators wet. Their Alpine skiing national team used to run zebras, he only misses Milka logo on his chest and back.
  • + 15
 Beautiful shots! Thanks Dave.
  • + 7
 love the zebra and pink fox kit!
  • + 3
 Seeing the pick of Troy in the aero tuck...is time in a wind tunnel something these guys would do, or is it just a rudimentary understanding of aerodynamics? I can see it being something British Cycling would give their riders access too as part of the marginal gains philosophy but I doubt anyone else does. Maybe specialized as they own their own wind tunnel I believe.
  • + 2
 images.app.goo.gl/ojV1xSx1GiKxjdnT7

Trek did it some years ago I think.
  • + 2
 Specialized have their own tunnel and pretty sure all their dh riders have used it since it was built, including Troy when he rode for them. It was in fast life or on track or some such vids.
  • + 1
 Maybe he is squashing a jump?...
  • + 3
 Phenomenal photos! The best World Cup DH shots I've seen to date. Very crisp and they catch the riders focused eyes, facial expressions and body language so well, I'm psyching to ride DH now ..... Thank you photogs and PB!!!
  • + 6
 Would it even be a Leogang photo epic without a picture of a cow?
  • + 2
 so many reservations about the new stuff and alternative lines.is this not what riders craved? why moan because it takes them out of there comfort zone.i think it's brilliant changing things and widening time gaps abit
  • + 3
 Sooo many bangers! shouts out to these for photographers for capturing the world cup perfectly!
  • + 2
 Whoa, nice pics. I agree with everyone that the Ropelato (Hughes) shot is magic. I also love these 3:
kerr (trumpore)
payet (hughes)
hatton (trumpore)
  • + 3
 Alloy cranks for Gwin now, interesting!
  • + 3
 The best part of WC DH season is he pictures. Thanks PB!!!
  • + 1
 judging from the photo, i'm sure Gwin can shot LAZERS from those tiger-eyes, too
  • + 2
 These pics...almost as good as being there! Thanks PB!
  • + 1
 That photo of Gwin is savage. He looks like he is ready to make a comeback after last week at Ft. William.
  • + 1
 Although the track gets flack it's good to see different taping and the track evolving through the weekend
  • + 1
 these pics are just next level good. so grateful for this stoke you've just given me. C'mon Sunday!
  • + 1
 I don't know about hanging out in that stream, man. Lotta cow poop around, I'd think.
  • + 1
 Damn. That bar shot is scary. Where are all the carbon haters?
  • + 1
 Hard to believe this is a world cup track looking at the RAW
  • + 1
 Who are Danny Harts and Bulldogs helmet sponsors?
  • + 1
 Lazer??
  • + 3
 Danny’s got a TLD and Brook has an Alpinestar
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