Pinkbike Primer: Everything You Need to Know Before World Cup DH Racing Finally Starts

Jun 10, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  

World Cup DH is Back
The racers are ready for fast times in the Austrian Alps

After a delayed start to the downhill World Cup season, we're back to the standard(ish) programming this weekend with Leogang kicking off the 2021 five-stop downhill season. This weekend will be packed with both downhill and cross country on the schedule, so keep your eyes peeled for all the content to follow.

Watch below for a quick 2021 season intro from Red Bull Bike.

The Track

The high-speed track in Leogang lends itself to extremely tight racing, and while some riders and fans love to hate the bike-park-style berms and wide-open straightaways, the race will no doubt be an exciting one. The bike park mixed things up in 2020 with some surprisingly raw, treacherous additions, including a section called Vali's Hell (translated), named for Vali's nasty ankle injury at her elite World Champs debut. The course now has its fair share of techy woods sections, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for punishing, time-consuming mistakes alongside the need for finesse and precise line choice on all sections of the course.

Previous Winners

2020 // Reece WILSON // GBR*
2019 // Loic BRUNI // FRA
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
2020 // Camille BALANCHE // SUI*
2019 // Tracey HANNAH // AUS
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 that * denotes a World Championship race.

What a beautiful day in a beautiful place.
Leogang is really lovely when the sun is out.

What Happened in 2020

The 2020 World Championship race in Leogang was pure chaos. Torrential rain made the technical sections more or less unrideable for mere mortals, and even the most straightforward sections were transformed into unpredictable slop. Unpredictable results followed too. Many of the usual suspects crashed themselves out of podium contention or even out of being able to race, as Vali Holl did when she came up short on a big gap, leading to her injury. In the end, Camille Balanche and Reece Wilson came out on top.

Elite Men

1st. Reece WILSON // 3:51.243
2nd. David TRUMMER // 3:54.440 // +3.197
3rd. Remi THIRION // 3:57.196 // +5.953
4th. Mark WALLACE // 3:57.898 // +6.655
5th. Bernard KERR // 3:58.446 // +6.655

Elite Women

1st. Camille BALANCHE // 5:08.426
2nd. Myriam NICOLE // 5:11.556 // +3.130
3rd. Monika HRASTNIK // 5:25.392 // +16.966
4th. Tracey HANNAH // 5:28.438 // +20.012
5th. Mikayla PARTON // 5:31.590 // +23.164

Taj's not-unrealistic interpretation of last year's race.

2020 Season Standings

Nina Hoffmann has got a taste for the podium now and went one step higher than last week and into second.

1st // Matt WALKER // GBR // 687
2nd // Loic BRUNI // FRA // 677
3rd // Greg MINNAAR // RSA // 627
4th // Loris VERGIER // FRA // 551
5th // Thibaut DRAPELA // FRA // 516
6th // Troy BROSNAN // AUS // 453
7th // Angel SUAREZ ALONSO // ESP // 368
8th // Remi THIRION // FRA // 327
9th // Aaron GWIN // USA // 304
10th // Luca SHAW // USA // 298

1st // Marine CABIROU // FRA // 825
2nd // Myriam NICOLE // FRA // 775
3rd // Nina HOFFMANN // GER // 664
4th // Tracey HANNAH // AUS // 563
5th // Tahnee SEAGRAVE // GBR // 546
6th // Eleonora FARINA // ITA // 476
7th // Monika HRASTNIK // SLO // 473
8th // Camille BALANCHE // SUI // 388
9th // Millie JOHNSET // NOR // 211
10th // Mikayla PARTON // GBR // 142

Weather Forecast

We learned last year that at Leogang (or really any race, for that matter), the weather is everything. As of right now, the weather does look better than last year -- as it should, because we're back to the regular June race, rather than a fall event. The forecast this weekend shows pleasant temperature, which should keep the bike park sections of the track at reasonably intact, but the possibility of brief thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday, clearing up into the weekend, could leave the bottom woods section wet once again.

James Elliott snatching the final medal in junior men by the smallest of margins.

Thursday June 10 - Training
Times of sun and clouds with a couple of thunderstorms // 19°C // 60% precipitation, 5.1mm // wind 6km/h

Friday June 11 - Qualifying
Times of sun and clouds with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 20°C // 60% precipitation, 5.1mm // wind 6km/h

Saturday June 12 - Finals
Periods of clouds and sunshine // 22°C // 2% precipitation // wind 6km/h

Weather forecast from the Accuweather as of Monday, June 7.

The Schedule

Showing yesterday was no flash in the pan Matteo Iniquez seizing 3rd and his first podium.

Thursday June 10

• 08:15-17:00 // Official Downhill Training

Friday June 11
• 08:30-11:45 // Official Downhill Training
• 12:15 // Seeding Run - Junior Women
• 12:30 // Qualifying Round - Junior Men
• 13:30 // Qualifying Round - Elite Women
• 14:00 // Qualifying Round - Elite Men

Saturday June 12
• 08:15-09:15 // Official Downhill Training
• 09:45 // Final - Junior Men
• 10:30 // Final - Junior Women
• 10:50-12:05 // Official Downhill Training Elite Men and Women
• 12:30 // Final - Elite Women
• 13:30 // Final - Elite Men
• Awards to follow

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

How to Watch

Thibaut Daprela once again took the top spot in the junior men s race.

Pinkbike will be providing you with the best daily coverage from 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 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on The live broadcast starts on Saturday, June 12 at 12:30pm CEST.

Schedule: Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Leogang LIVE on Red Bull TV:

Leogang DHI Women: June 12 live on Red Bull TV 12:30pm CEST (3:30am PDT, 6:30am EDT, 10:30am GMT, 10:30pm NZST)
Leogang DHI Men: June 12 live on Red Bull TV 1:30pm CEST (4:30am PDT, 7:30am EDT, 11:30am GMT, 11:30pm NZST)

(All times CEST, replay available immediately following the races. Times subject to change at organizers' and Red Bull's discretion.)

fantasy dh 2021

Fantasy League

Don't forget to complete your DH Fantasy team before Friday! Participating is way more fun than watching from the sidelines.

Pinkbike Fantasy Downhill League in association with Retallack.


  • 160 1
 Thank you Red Bull for providing this coverage. In the era of every single streaming service trying to squeeze every last dollar out of your pocket, it's refreshing to have you cover this. I'll gladly put up with gaps in track coverage and the occasional technical glitches.
  • 85 0
 Red Bull is free everyone so don’t start complaining about them. They do the job mostly very well
  • 8 0
  • 2 0
 If it's even available.. In Canada most red events say "not available in your country"
  • 3 0
 @RideThicccBC: You pretty much need a VPN in Canada for multiple reasons... this being one of them.
  • 25 0
 Austria. G'day mate, let's throw another shrimp on the barbie.
  • 19 0
 lol. sprechen ze kangaroo?
  • 22 0
 More importantly, where is Cathro in all of this?
  • 1 0
 Agreed im sure he's up to something
  • 1 0
 I think he's supporting privateers like Mikayla Parton. Isn't that the new direction of the show?
  • 2 0
 He mentioned on instragram he will be reporting from leogang and racing crankworx...
  • 9 0
 Is Ben Cathro still doing anything for Pinkbike?
  • 1 0
 Yes, he's already been posting on Social. Expect a video soon.
  • 8 0
 I am so happy the racing is back!!
  • 6 0
 20 degree celcius is probably a very nice temperature to ride a bike in.
  • 3 0
 As far as ‘Everything you need to know’ I wish I could find an official start list of all the riders so I know I don’t have riders on my fantasy team who aren’t even in Leogang. Link anyone?
  • 3 0

Can also get the entires list of the UCI website. Not hard to find Smile
  • 4 0
 Can not wait! 2021 just got a whole lot better
  • 2 0
 Bulldogs Run is EPIC!!! Between the Bikepark Bits this has become a seriously technical track that most of us couldn't ride down clean in the dry let alone the wet!!!
  • 2 0
 If this is through his eyes he is wearing the helmet all wrong around the neck.
  • 2 0
 Could someone explain to me about why there is whistles being blown while the rider goes down the track??
  • 1 0
 So other riders stopped down the track looking at lines or similar know a rider is incoming and to get out of the way. Probably helps the photographers and such too.
  • 2 0
 It's the course marshals blowing the whistles. I believe the purpose is to let fans and possibly other riders know someone is coming down course so they're not in the way.
  • 1 2
 @kcy4130: Ohhh. So it just lets ppl down the track know someones coming? I thought it had something to do with the timing...
  • 4 0
 @gally-nh: Ohhh. So it just lets ppl down the track know someones coming? I thought it had something to do with the timing...
  • 2 0
 Tight taping through the tunnels just in case a sneaky line develops.
  • 1 0
 Love how the video for what happened 2020, is the 2019 race. Yay for Canada being blocked
  • 1 0
 Doesn't look so bad when Bulldog does it. I don't think I could walk let alone ride down that. Pros are on another planet.
  • 1 0
 Peaty - "Bulldog!"

Bulldog - "Peaty!"

Do they do that every time? :-)
  • 11 0
 I've watched the video three times and they did it every time..
  • 1 0
 I feel like I remember hearing them do that in years past, too
  • 1 0
 Such an epic jump they had to name it.
  • 1 0
 Yessss! Racing's back. And possibly Rob Warner's purple beardSmile

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