Round Three, Autobahn
High speeds ahead in the Austrian Alps
Leogang slots into its usual spot the week after Fort William and comes at a crucial time in the season. Fort William left bodies battered and bruised so riders will have to pick themselves up quickly and recalibrate for the eye-popping speeds on offer in Leogang.
Yes, it's easy to moan at the least technical track of the year but ride it at World Cup race pace and it's far from a walk in the park. Leogang has also provided some of the most dramatic racing of previous years including Aaron Gwin's chainless run, Manon Carpenter and Bernard Kerr being caught out by tape-gate and winning margins of less than a tenth of a second. Here's everything you need to know before the weekend.
Without doubt the most controversial track of the year almost every year, Leogang's wide, hardpack straights have been a bone of contention for a lot of riders. From social media grumbles to hardtail practice runs, riders have made their thoughts clear about the high speeds and 'bike park-y' nature of the Austrian venue. Regardless of where you fall on the Leogang track, it always delivers a great show and incredibly tight racing. Any mistakes are swiftly punished and riders will have to be inch perfect to find themselves on the top spot on Sunday.
Last year, a number of fresh cut, off camber and widely taped turns straight out of the start gate were introduced to try and silence the bike park bemoaners. These feed into a succession of rooty chutes through felled forests that spit riders out at the motorway, home to a succession of tabletops on a flat bit of trail where keeping the rhythm and catching downsides is key. The lower section of the track pops riders into the woods for some short technical sections ending with a few tight turns before the riders fly out of the treeline and into the finish area.
2018 // Amaury PIERRON // FRA
2017 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2016 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2015 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2014 // Josh BRYCELAND //GBR
2013 // Steve SMITH // CAN
2012 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA*
2011 // Aaron GWIN // USA
2010 // Greg MINNAAR // RSA
2018 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2017 // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // GBR
2016 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2015 // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR
2014 // Manon CARPENTER // GBR
2013 // Emmeline RAGOT // FRA
2012 // Morgane CHARRE // FRA*
2011 // Floriane PUGIN // FRA
2010 // Sabrina JONNIER // FRA
Note, * denotes a race which was a World Championship.
What Happened in 2018
In the men's race, Aaron Gwin was barely able to hold on to the bars thanks to a thumb injury picked up in Fort William but still laid down the first fast run of the day. It stood firm against some serious challengers until Amaury Pierron dropped in and beat it by a margin of 0.5. Luca Shaw was up at the splits on the last run of the day but tumbled into the dirt within 30 seconds of the line, gifting Pierron his second race win in as many weekends and the lead in the overall points standings.
In the women's race, Rachel Atherton had a point to prove after a tough weekend at Fort William. Going down uncharacteristically early after a rough qualifying, she saw off all attackers including a flying Myriam Nicole and Tahnee Seagrave, who blew off course on the motorway and was disqualified.
1st. PIERRON Amaury 3:10.991
2nd. GWIN Aaron 3:11.499 +0.508
3rd. GREENLAND Laurie 3:12.146 +1.155
4th. BROSNAN Troy 3:12.305 +1.314
5th. VERGIER Loris 3:13.121 +2.130
1st. ATHERTON Rachel 3:41.141
2nd. NICOLE Myriam 3:41.779 +0.638
3rd. HANNAH Tracey 3:45.118 +3.977
4th. HRASTNIK Monika 3:49.597 +8.456
5th. SIEGENTHALER Emilie 3:52.780 +11.639
What Happened at the Last Round?
Still fresh in the memory, Fort William was a wild round with storms whipping across Aonach Mor and playing havoc all weekend. There aren't may riders who had a clean weekend with high profile crashes for the very best in both fields.
Amaury Pierron delivered a dominant run to take top spot in the men's race while Troy Brosnan claimed the overall leader's jersey with a second place finish. In the women's race, Rachel Atherton took the win and the leader's jersey but she was pushed hard by Tracey Hannah. With Tahnee Seagrave and Myriam Nicole now both injured, it looks set to be a tussle between these two for the title this year.
1st. Amaury Pierron: 4:28.578
2nd. Troy Brosnan: +3.582
3rd. Loris Vergier: +3.631
4th. Finn Iles: +7.203
5th. Danny Hart: +7.518
1st. Rachel Atherton: 5:15.560
2nd. Tracey Hannah: +1.611
3rd. Nina Hoffmann: +8.822
4th. Marine Cabirou: +13.374
5th. Veronika Widmann: +15.735
1st // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 350
2nd // Amaury PIERRON // FRA // 330
3rd // Loic BRUNI // FRA // 301
4th // Danny HART // GBR // 292
5th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 215
6th // Matt WALKER // GBR // 214
7th // Finn IILES // CAN // 182
8th // Mark WALLACE // CAN // 178
9th // Brook MACDONALD // NZL // 160
10th // Laurie GREEnLAND // GBR // 155
1st // Rachel ATHERTON // GBR // 430
2nd // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 400
3rd // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 290
4th // Nina HOFFMANN // GER // 285
5th // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // GBR // 230
6th // Veronika WIDMANN // ITA // 197
7th // Mariana SALAZAR // ESA // 134
8th // Carina CAPPELLARI // SUI // 131
9th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 130
10th // Camille BALANCHE // SUI // 130
There's a mixed forecast for Leogang this weekend with warm, sunny days and rainy nights.
Friday, June 7
- Timed TrainingPartly sunny; pleasant and warmer // 25°C // 1% precipitation, 20mm // wind 7km/hSaturday, June 8
- QualifyingTimes of clouds and sun, a shower or thunderstorm around; cooler // 17°C // 55% precipitation, 2mm // wind 6km/hSunday, June 9
- FinalsMostly sunny; warmer // 23°C // 3% precipitation // wind 6km/h
Weather forecast from the Accuweather
as of Wednesday, June 5.
The ScheduleFriday June 7
• 08:30-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 12:00-15:15 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 15:30-17:00 // Downhill Timed Training Session
• 17:00-17:45 // On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and TeamsSaturday June 8
• 08:30-10:00 // Official Downhill Training - Group B
• 10:15-11:45 // Official Downhill Training - Group A
• 12:15 // Seeding Run - Junior Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying Round - Junior Men
• 13:30 // Qualifying Round - Elite Women
• 14:00 // Qualifying Round - Elite Men
• Followed by // 30 minutes On Foot Downhill Course Inspection - Riders and TeamsSunday June 9
• 08:15-09:15 // Official Downhill Training - Junior Women, Junior Men, Elite Women
• 09:45 // Final - Junior Women
• 10:15 // Final - Junior Men
• 12:30 // Final - Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final - Elite Men followed by Awards ceremonyNote: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.
Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from our team in Leogang this week. Tune in to Pinkbike to catch photo epics, videos and results from Timed Training, Practice, Qualifying and Finals, as well as tech bits and news.
You can also watch the third round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup free of charge, live or on demand, on redbull.tv
. The live broadcast starts on Sunday, June 9 at 12:30pm CEST. Schedule: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Fort William LIVE on Red Bull TV:
Fort William DHI Women: June 9 Live on Red Bull TV 12:30pm CEST
Fort William DHI Men: June 9 Live on Red Bull TV 1:45pm CEST(all times CEST, replay available immediately following the races)
Don't forget to complete your DH Fantasy team before the Elite Women's qualifying starts on Saturday. Check out the winning team from Fort William here
The Fantasy Downhill League is Presented by Trek and SRAM.