Pinkbike Primer - Everything You Need to Know Ahead of the Leogang World Cup DH

Jun 5, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

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.

Kade Edwards muscled his way down the track to finish just off the junior podium in 4th.

The Track

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.

First year Elite Finn Iles has the speed as evidenced by his split times and qualifying runs but he just can t seem to get things to click when it matters most.

Previous Winners

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.

Elite Men

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

Elite Women

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

The fastest five men in Leogang with Amaury Pierron on the top step for the second week in a row.
It s been 14 months since we ve seen Rachel Atherton popping corks from the top step of the podium and this win was definitely long over due.

Amaury Pierron getting that winning feeling for the second time in a week. Back to back wins for the flying Frenchman.

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.

Elite Men

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

Elite Women

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

Your top 5 elite men. 1st Amaury Pierron 2nd Troy Brosnan 3rd Loris Vergier 4th Finn Iles 5th Danny Hart
Rachel Atherton takes top honors in Fort William to give Atherton bikes its first ever WC victory.

Rachel showing off her Atherton sled. Well done here at the Fort.

The Standings

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

Weather Forecast

There's a mixed forecast for Leogang this weekend with warm, sunny days and rainy nights.

Intro outro scenes

Friday, June 7 - Timed Training
Partly sunny; pleasant and warmer // 25°C // 1% precipitation, 20mm // wind 7km/h

Saturday, June 8 - Qualifying
Times of clouds and sun, a shower or thunderstorm around; cooler // 17°C // 55% precipitation, 2mm // wind 6km/h

Sunday, June 9 - Finals
Mostly sunny; warmer // 23°C // 3% precipitation // wind 6km/h

Weather forecast from the Accuweather as of Wednesday, June 5.

The Schedule

Tracey Hannah has had a tough start to the season but at just 3.9 seconds from victory she clearly has the minerals for more in the coming rounds.

Friday 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 Teams

Saturday 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 Teams

Sunday 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 ceremony

Note: All times are local and subject to change by the event organizer.

Follow Along

Fastest qualifier Tahnee Seagrave had a slight bobble on the motorway that need up being a much bigger deal once she crossed the line. Race officials ruled she crossed the tape and returned lower down the track and infraction that would find her disqualified from the race and her 3rd place position awarded to Tracey Hannah.

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 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)

Fantasy League

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.

MENTIONS: @trek / @SramMedia


  • 52 0
 There is really nothing in this world better than having back-to-back World Cup DH weekends!!!
  • 36 1
 Back-to-back-to-back is one thing I can think of
  • 18 0
 Every couple of weeks for 5 months would be grand.
  • 9 0
 @BenPea: I want a 12 race calendar
  • 33 8
 My favourite track of the year to watch on Redbull. It makes the sport look amazing to anyone who's not a rider or fan of WC HD - big jumps, high speed and super close finish times make this a great watch - bring it on!
  • 5 0
 It‘s Red Bulls home country! So they want to deliver!
  • 12 1
 Someone steals gwin's chain i wanna see him win
  • 7 1
 @RedBurn: he's done that before, just take his bike.... Oh wait
  • 2 4
 @Germanmike: it's really not. Redbull is from Thailand.
  • 3 0
maybe produced in Thailand (don´t know that) but it´s an austrian company!
  • 1 0
 @RedBurn: after his week last week, i concur
  • 1 0
 @Germanmike: I thought those austrian guys paid the company who owned the Thai brand Krating Daeng to use the logo and the recipe... Hence red bull was born into English. On balance, one could argue it is Thai or Austrian. Perhaps, a bit of both. I wish red bull had the Thai prices all around the world though, and those little glass bottles that are ten baht in the 7-11. Much better than red bull cans in Europe.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Red Bull’s HQ is near Salzburg in Austria. The CEO got the idea for the drink in Thailand and it’s produced in Switzerland...
  • 1 0
 @drjohn: So is it the logo they bought then? I'm sure I read somewhere that it was originally Krating Daeng, which translates to Red Bull.
  • 2 0
 @drjohn: I had a quick scan of Wikipedia. It was called Krating Daeng in Thailand, which basically means red bull. The Austrian guy went into partnership with the Thai guy for the western market. The company Red Bull was founded in Austria in 1987, with a majority stake held by that same Thai guy. So to me, the idea, the logo, and the name are Thai in origin. The only part that is Austrian is the Red Bull name in English and the modified recipe. That, and the extortionate pricing we see in Europe!
  • 1 0
 @jaame: The Redbull I see here in the USA says made in Austria. I didn't know it was originally a Thai drink. Learn something new everyday!
  • 1 1
 @energetik: yeah and in Thailand they sell it in these little glass bottles that are about 70cc. You just smash one of those in one mouthful when you get off the flight and it sorts your jetlag out in one day!
  • 28 6
 Ratboy deserves an *asterisk for his win on 26" wheels among mostly 27.5" competitors
  • 6 0
 Steve Smith deserves an *asterisk* for wining this race and the overall at the same time. (And that bike throwing when he saw green lights).
  • 5 0
 I kinda like the fact that you can win on this track without a chain. Too bike park-like or not, i appreciate there's a race this weekend again. There aren't enough races in a season if you ask me, good that they invest in one there. I hope that Schladming comes back to map next year or once they finish new gondola and new bike park there.
  • 11 0
 "... you can win on this track without a chain".
Sorry, but that would be Gwin, not any of us.
  • 6 0
 Time warp?? Think the dates need updating on the weather. Oh, but thanks for all the info otherwise!
  • 8 0
 Damn that was fixed quick. *high five*
  • 7 0
 Mountain bike nerd boner fully sprung!
  • 3 1
 Red Bull - please mix up the POV track preview riders. Makes it a lot more interesting having different personalities such as Andrew here, Gee, etc. Good to have representation from a number of nations also.
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: These previews could address something Red Bull's video coverage drops the ball on--Red Bull shows us the current rider's time vs. fastest time as the rider approaches the split, but they never take the time to make it clear exactly WHERE that split is (the track graphic early in the show doesn't show any video or still footage, just a squiggle.) So unless you're intimately familiar with the track and the timing system (I'm not), you're just waiting until the current rider's time freezes to find out how they compare. And both Rob and Claudio are frequently wrong when speculating, toward the end of each sector, whether the rider has gained or lost time ("Ooooh this is looking fast!" "I think he has a flat tire!" etc). If you knew the timing split was at the exit of such-and-such corner, for example, you could eyeball it yourself vs. the clock as the rider approached it (you can only really do this at the finish line currently). So in the preview, under "The Track," you could list the sectors, plus whatever random sub-sectors (Roots of Assegai, Stairs of Narnia...) and speed traps, and add hyperlinks to POV videos starting at each split point, or show a still photo/screen grab with a superimposed dotted line showing the timing beam, or something. (Maybe instead of including this info in the primer, it could be included as accompanying text when you put the Red Bull course preview up?) Just a thought...
  • 4 1
 Looks like the highlight video from 2017? Shows Gwinn and Seagrave winning...
  • 1 0
 That's exactly right! I was watching it going...huh???
  • 2 0
 Well it's not like they're paid to do this. Oh, wait...
  • 6 2
 Fantasy DH league, gives trail bike prize.
  • 12 3
 but does the general mtb public even ride dh themselves?
  • 25 1
 @bikefuturist: The general mtb public doesn't know what pinkbike is. you're a subset of a subset.
  • 2 1
 @usedbikestuff: Well said! ????
  • 6 0
 5-15 years ago we all had DH bikes with an optional trail bike. These days everyone seems to have trail bikes with an optional DH bike. The trail bikes are so versatile right now, I'd definitely prefer to win a new trail bike than a new DH bike!
  • 3 0
 I'm so old, I still have an All Mountain bike.
  • 3 0
 @Boardlife69: but apparently not old enough to just have a mountain bike
  • 1 0
 @Boardlife69: I'll 1 up you. I have a Super-D bike.
  • 3 0
 Wow. Great article. Every thing you need to read to be ready to watch. I like these.
  • 3 0
 What happened to Monika Hrastnik at Fort william she was a DNS? Is she racing this weekend?
  • 2 0
 I think she suffered a concusion.
  • 1 0
 Don't count Gwin out!! He took 2nd last year with a broken thumb and having ridden the track just once (qualies) before his final!
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike, please edit: Morgane Charre is French, not British.
  • 3 0
  • 2 0
 Will Maes race?
  • 3 1
 Think he made it clear he was concentrating on EWS.
  • 5 19
flag thesharkman (Jun 5, 2019 at 12:43) (Below Threshold)
 I think he's gotten a little too big for UCI DH. Maybe he'll do World Champs but otherwise it's not really worth his time.
  • 3 1
 @thesharkman: Def not that he is too big for dh. Just that he is principly a enduro rider and he has a shot at the overall so he's concentrating on that right now. I can see him racing more dh once he ticks off enough few of his goals in enduro.
  • 5 0
 @freestyIAM: I think @thesharkman was just kidding around. I doubt anybody genuinely thinks like that in MTB, sad to see so many people miss the joke aha
  • 1 1
 Every year I cross my fingers to see someone race this track on a hardtail. THAT would be exciting!
  • 4 1
 Atwill using one in practice is as close as you'll get
  • 1 0
 What ever happened to Manon Carpenter!? She was kicking ass then vanished
  • 2 0
 Retired. Wasn't felling it. Finishing up her degree and dabbling in some mtb media.
  • 1 0
 She was stressed over the possibility of another big injury and decided it wasn't worth it, she wasn't enjoying racing anymore so she moved on to other things
  • 2 1
 he mae do.
  • 1 0
 it's not the race track tho
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