Cold temps and cloudy skies kicked off a day hot action on the slopes of Leogang as riders took to the track for their qualifying runs. While rain threatened all day, not a drop ever fell from the sky leaving the track parched, dry, and dusty. Conditions that were likely a welcome change after the previous two rounds in Maribor and Fort William where qualifying went down in the rain. In fact, this would be the first World Cup of the season where the conditions remained exactly the same for all racers across all classes throughout the day. No last minute storms spoiled the dry track as in Maribor and there was certainly no wind, fog, and rain blowing in and out as it did last weekend. Just a nice level playing field for everyone.
For the Juniors, it was back to business as usual for Vali Holl who would decimate the field by 18 seconds. Series leader Anna Newkirk would come second with Mille Johnset right on her tail in 3rd. Thibaut Daprela would top the junior men ahead of some names we have not seen near the top this year. The second spot would go to Frenchman Matteo Iniquez, and third to Joey Foresta from the USA. The usual suspects like Kye A'Hearn and Ethan Shandro finished further down the list.
Tracey Hannah continued her qualifier winning streak to take the top spot ahead of Rachel Atherton. Tracey is now three for three in qualifying wins but has yet to back it up in the final. After being up on Rachel last week until the final split, we know she has the speed if she can just dig a bit deeper at the end of her race runs. Third would go to Nina Hoffman while Marine Cabirou and Raphaela Richter would round out the top five.
In the men's race, the resurgent Greg Minnaar would silence all the doubters about his form by taking the top spot ahead of a youthful bunch. Aging like a fine wine, Greg proved that he just keeps getting better, and still has what it takes to stick it to riders more than a decade younger. Loris Vergier showed that his speed this season is consistent and walked away with second spot, the same place he finished in the finals just one week ago in Fort William. Third would go to another very very consistent rider in Troy Brosnan who piloted his number one plate down the track with a time that puts him right into the mix. Fourth would go to Amaury Pierron who just didn't look his usual self on track after some big crashes in training, and 5th would be a bit of a surprise with Slovenian Jure Zabjek throwing down a great run. The rest of the top 10 would be a list of the usual suspects Like Danny Hart, Aaron Gwin, and Loic Bruni, but some fresh faces are lurking in there too. Most notably Connor Fearon in 6th and Greg Williamson in 9th.
Tomorrow is going to be a hot one both on and off the course. With nothing but sunshine in the forecast, the track is going to be running super fast, and the finals will see dust flying through the air for the first time this season. Hold on to your hats, this is going to be a good one.
: @natedh9 @davetrumpore @mdelorme @andy9 @rossbellphoto @FiveTen