Pinkbike Primer: Everything You Need to Know Before XC Returns to Leogang

Jun 11, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  
Gold helmet gold medal. Another commanding performance from Pauline.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot found success in Leogang last fall to continue her reign as World Champ.

After an eventful first two stops of the cross country World Cup season that saw some new podium contenders rise above the rest, we're back to the race tracks this weekend with a stop in Leogang, Austria.

So what can we expect to see this time around? Well, there will probably be some reshuffling of the top few riders with Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel, and Kate Courtney out of the race -- MVDP is road racing, while Pidcock and Courtney are injured. Like Nove Mesto, this course will favor all-around riders with strong technical skills, and we'll likely see just about everyone opting for full suspension bikes. As of right now, the weather looks fair, so if we're lucky, we'll have beautiful conditions for the final races Sunday.

The track

Sixth place for Maxime Marotte.
The course is quite technically demanding.

While a Leogang stop is standard issue for the World Cup downhill racers, the cross country riders returned to the Austrian venue in 2020 for the first time since 2012. They were presented with a well-designed course that offered a bit of everything: long climbs, fast sections, and some serious technical challenges. The sections have names like the Oakley Prizm Hell Climb, the Keep On Rollin' Section, and the Mercedes-Benz Riders Playground.

The course is 3.6km with 210m of climbing each lap according to the organizers' course info page. Brutal.

Lots of line choices. Passing will be interesting.
This course has so much going on.

Tell us you don t want to ride that.
Leogang knocked it out of the park.

A bit of smooth woodland bike park to mix it up.
The techy spots are nicely balanced with smooth sections, too.



What Happened Last Round?


Nove Mesto was an eventful one. Pidcock and van der Poel battled for the first part of the race before Pidcock was able to pull away and finish with a commanding lead. Lecomte dominated the women's field, showing that she's the woman to beat this season. In the U23s, Mona Mitterwallner and Carter Woods were just as dominant. The tough, wet course made for some very difficult racing, separating riders who could handle the conditions from those who struggled more. Those who could handle the chaos, however, surprised us with just how brightly they shone.



Previous Winners


2012:

Elite Men: Nino Schurter
Elite Women: Julie Bresset

2020:

Elite Men: Jordan Sarrou
Elite Women: Pauline Ferrand-Prevot


A very emotional Jordan Sarrou greets his fellow team members in elation.
A very happy Jordan Sarrou after claiming the rainbow jersey.



Current UCI Rankings

MEN
1. Mathieu VAN DER POEL // NED // 570
2. Thomas PIDCOCK // GBR // 490
3. Victor KORETZKY // FRA // 483
4. Nino SCHURTER // SUI // 435
5. Mathias FLUECKIGER // SUI // 419
6. Jordan SARROU // FRA // 375
7. Ondrej CINK // CZE // 354
8. Anton COOPER // NZL // 340
9. Alan HATHERLY // RSA // 325
10. Henriqu AVANCINI // BRA // 260
WOMEN
1. Loana LECOMTE // FRA // 670
2. Haley BATTEN // USA // 525
3. Pauline FERRAND PREVOT // FRA // 475
4. Linda INDERGAND // SUI // 420
5. Anne TERPSTRA // SUI // 330
6. Sina FREI // SUI //325
7. Rebecca MCCONNELL // AUS //324
8. Kate COURTNEY // USA // 302
9. Evie RICHARDS // GBR // 270
10. Annie LAST // GBR // 253

Over the big roots and boulders is Luca Braidot who went fourth today.

Weather forecast

The weather looks much nicer this year than last year's torrential rain, but some thunderstorms could still leave the track pretty muddy. At least it looks like the finals races on Sunday will have pleasant weather.

Joel Roth caught Avondetto to secure third but Blevins remained out of sight.
Thursday, June 10 - Training
Times of sun and clouds with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 21°C // 60% precipitation // wind 6km/h

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

Saturday, June 12 - Training
Periods of clouds and sunshine with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm // 21°C // 60% precipitation // wind 6km/h

Sunday, June 13 - U23 and Elite Races
Partial sunshine // 22°C // 25% precipitation // wind 6km/h

Weather forecast as of Tuesday, June 8 from Accuweather.



Schedule

Elite Women are a go.

All times CEST

Thursday, June 10
• 12:00-16:30 // Official XCO Training

Friday, June 11
• 09:30-14:30 // Official XCO Training
• 15:45-17:15 // Official XCC Training
• 17:30 // World Cup Cross Country Short Track - Women
• 18:15 // World Cup Cross Country Short Track - Men

Saturday, June 12
• 09:30-14:30 // Official XCO Training

Sunday, June 13
• 08:30 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Women U23
• 10:15 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Men U23
• 12:20 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Women Elite
• 14:50 // World Cup Cross Country Olympic - Men Elite

Note: All times are local (CEST) and subject to change by the UCI/event organizer.



How to watch


Tune in to Pinkbike to catch all the Nove Mesto coverage throughout the week.

All the elite races can be streamed live on redbull.tv.

Schedule:
(All times in CEST, replay available immediately following the races)

- Nove Mesto XCC Women and Men: Friday, May 14 - 6:20pm (9:20am PDT, 12:20pm EDT, 14:20pm GMT, 4:20am +day NZST)
- Nove Mesto XCO Women: Sunday, May 16 - 12:00pm (3:00am PDT, 6:00am EDT, 10:00am GMT, 10:00pm NZST)
- Nove Mesto XCO Men: Sunday, May 16 - 2:30pm (5:30 PDT, 8:30am EDT, 12:30pm GMT, 12:30am +day NZST)

Note: These times are subject to change. Please check with your local provider.



Pinkbike Predictions

Loana Lecomte got out front on the first climb and never looked back.
Loana Lecomte is so strong right now that it would be dumb to bet against her.

Mathias Flueckiger has been in touch with the winning times so far this year, finishing 15 seconds behind second-placed van der Poel in Nove Mesto and 21 seconds behind second-placed Schurter in Albstadt, even after a dropper post issue forced him to drop behind the lead group. Next up, Ondrej Cink has been in the lead group for the last two races, carried that through to two fourth-place finishes, and may have the momentum right now to move up to the silver spot. Rounding out the podium, Nino Schurter will definitely want to redeem himself after finishing outside of the top five, and he has performed well on very similar courses in the past.

In the women's field, Loana Lecomte has been on fire lately, so I'll have to pick her as the most likely winner. For the second and third place riders, I think Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Haley Batten will have quite the season ahead of them as they both fight for podium spots. Batten has placed second and third so far this year, while Ferrand-Prevot has placed second and fourth, but her fourth took place even with a puncture and on the heels of her gnarly short track crash in Nove Mesto. I think she'll bring a bit of extra fire to Leogang, so I'm choosing her for second and putting Batten as third.

ELITE MEN
1 // Mathias FLUECKIGER
2 // Ondrej CINK
3 // Nino SCHURTER
ELITE WOMEN
1 // Loana LECOMTE
2 // Pauline FERRAND-PREVOT
3 // Haley BATTEN




Fantasy League

And since participating is way more fun than sitting on the sidelines, Fantasy XC is back for 2021. Don't forget to pick your teams!


The Fantasy XC League is Presented by RockShox and SRAM.




10 Comments

  • 11 0
 "The course is 3.6km with 210m of climbing each lap."
Just gonna let that one sink in with me...
  • 5 1
 Yea! I was wondering if that was a typo. 210 meters climbing in 3.6 km! There’s a down hill race and now there’s a “Uphill” race”. If I were racing I’d prefer a very long climb as apposed to many short punchy lung busters with no time to recover on the down hills. Let’s see if Avancini can stay in the top five and if Ninos new Scott (if he’s riding it) is as good as it looks.
  • 1 0
 And how many laps?
  • 2 0
 @gatlanwyson: They base that on the time it takes them to complete the first lap. My guess is that this one will be 6 or 7 laps.
  • 1 0
 @JosephDunbar: but on the positive side, they go downhill 210m as well
  • 2 3
 688 feet in freedom units. Good lord this course is killer. Should be a lot of fun to watch.
  • 1 0
 @likehell: Yes, but on this course the downs don't offer much of a rest. They're techie and keep you working like a DH rider for the most part.
  • 1 0
 @Arepiscopo: Disagree. Steep long climb courses are usually really boring to watch because the field gets blown apart and it is quickly obvious who will win. I wish XCO racing would go away from courses like Albstadt and Leogang and rather have more courses with shorter climbs or at least climbs not that steep.
  • 7 0
 @alicialeggett You've got the wrong redbull.tv link, the one you used is for Nove Mesto. Here's the Leogang one: www.redbull.com/us-en/events/uci-mountain-bike-world-cup-austria
  • 1 0
 Terrible article. Everything references Nova Mesto.

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