Practice Photo Epic: Austrian Forest City - Leogang DH World Champs 2020

Oct 8, 2020
by Nathan Hughes  


Photo Epic presented by Five Ten

The long-awaited action is underway here in the Austrian Alps and those fortunate enough to be in attendance were more fortunate still to find themselves under blue skies. Certainly it was a far more hospitable hillside than that experienced for track walk yesterday. That being said, the sideways rain all day and further deluges throughout the night took their toll on the re-invented course. As expected, it was the unlucky women and juniors who faced the worst of the conditions before the sun had a chance to cast its healing rays and importantly, before any ruts had developed to help hold riders' wheels between the tape.

After practice, the ruts in many sections were unlike anything we have seen for several years on this signature hard packed course. Many parts of the course were actually resembled a motocross track more than anything in the pedal-powered domain. A couple of crash barriers were added to the wooden bridges in the steep woods and, in general, riders coped much better than some feared they would yesterday. Still, easy it was not and the substantial new developments combined with some very dicey weather in the pipeline might just be the thing to mess up the usual danger men and women at this established venue and produce the most exciting kind of racing at its unpredictable best.

Steep, axle-deep ruts, greasy roots caked in heavy mud... explosive trees. This really is Leogang not as we know it. Don't forget the stakes for qualifying runs tomorrow just went up significantly following the UCI's latest announcement. If the snow makes a serious appearance it is the seeding result that will stand so it's unlikely riders will want to holding back on a run that could potentially be their only shot at the rainbows. Exciting times ahead no doubt about it.




The ever dramatic Austrian peaks greeting riders first thing in the morning.
The ever-dramatic Austrian peaks greeting riders first thing in the morning.

Possibly one of the least rutted turns on this hillside.
Possibly one of the least rutted turns on this hillside by close of play.

Up close and personal with Finn Iles.
Up close and personal with Finn Iles.

Seth Sherlock on morning mountain patrol.
Seth Sherlock on morning mountain patrol.

Myriam Nicole didn t get much of a chance to race in her rainbow stripes this year but looks hungry to extend that opportunity this weekend.
Myriam Nicole didn't get much of a chance to race in her rainbow stripes this year but looks hungry to extend that opportunity this weekend.

Slightly more favourable weather today in Leogang.
Slightly more favourable weather today in Leogang.

Tahn e Seagrave is chasing the ellusive stripes this weekend against a field of other strong women just as hungry as her.
Tahnee Seagrave is chasing the elusive stripes this weekend against a field of other strong women just as hungry as her.

Rob on Austrian vacay.
Rob on Austrian vacay.

Low lying cloud hid the best they could in the thick forests surrounding Leogang before the sun eventually burnt them off.
Low lying clouds hid the best they could in the thick forests surrounding Leogang before the sun eventually burnt them off.

Dakotah Norton clearing the new gap with ease even finding time to add a little extra style.
Dakotah Norton clearing the new gap with ease, even finding time to add a little extra style.

The difference a day makes... Okay the mighty Leogang peaks looked much the same but thankfully down on track was a different story.
The difference a day makes... Okay, the mighty Leogang peaks looked much the same, but thankfully down on track was a different story.

Eleonora Farina has had a great autumn of fast laps with her team and looked confident in the tough conditions of morning practice.
Eleonora Farina has had a great autumn of fast laps with her team and looked confident in the tough conditions of morning practice.

Beno t Coulanges has had an impressive season so far racing the French cups. He ll surely be caring the same momentum into this weekend.
Benoit Coulanges has had an impressive season so far racing the French Cups. He'll surely be carrying the same momentum into this weekend.

Angel Suarez looking as good as he does in his Insta clips.
Angel Suarez looking as good as he does in his Insta clips.

Vali Holl on home turf for the biggest event of the year.
Vali Holl on home turf for the biggest event of the year.

Laurie Greenland gunning to better his silver medal at Worlds 2016 in Val Di Sole.

Ruts. We got em. Got them in droves.
Ruts. We got 'em. Got them in droves.

George Brannigan looked to be on fiery form at Crankworx and will look to turn up the pace in the next days.
George Brannigan looked to be on fiery form at Crankworx and will look to turn up the pace in the next days.

Remi Thirion launching out the woods.
Remi Thirion launching out the woods.

The Scottish-US train of Harrison and Wilson ran laps together all day.
The Scottish-US train of Harrison and Wilson ran laps together all day.

Aaron Gwin going to war in the especially wet and infamously technical stump zone.
Aaron Gwin going to war in the especially wet and infamously technical stump zone.

AG discribed it as the most technical track he s ever raced on Insta stories... he might just have meant it. Certainly it s the most technical Leogang we can remember.
AG described it as the most technical track he's ever raced in his Insta stories... he might just have meant it. Certainly it's the most technical Leogang we can remember.

Matt Walker is another danger man who is flying under the radar this weekend. The Brit will be liking the course conditions this weekend.
Matt Walker is another danger man who is flying under the radar this weekend. The Brit will be liking the course conditions this weekend.

Jerome Caroli repping Switzerland infront of the rival mountains.
Jerome Caroli repping Switzerland in front of the rival mountains.

Kaos Seagrave gives Troy a few pointers after watching the whole show their cards.
Kaos Seagrave gives Troy a few pointers after watching the whole show their cards.

Learn by watching. Bruni schools an attentive audience.
Learn by watching. Bruni schools an attentive audience.

Protos in the mud.
Protos in the mud.

Austria s David Trummer the most calm and collected threat for the medals on Sunday
Austria's David Trummer; the most calm and collected threat for the medals on Sunday?

Loic Bruni takes on the triple stump and kills it dead.
Loic Bruni takes on the triple stump and kills it dead.

Make no mistake this triple stump gap was no walk in the park.
Make no mistake this triple stump gap was no walk in the park.

Kerr bites the Scottish dust.
Kerr bites the Scottish dust.

Peaty checking lines or getting the Syndicate boys clips for their grams
Peaty checking lines or getting the Syndicate boys clips for their 'grams?

MacDonald on a line that turned out to be the wrong one.
MacDonald on a line that turned out to be the wrong one.

Evident from him bundling into the barriers on the next turn.
Evident from him bundling into the barriers on the next turn.

Vergier staying lower risking contact with the wet roots.
Vergier staying lower, risking contact with the wet roots.

Danny Hart floating in the cool crisp mountain air.
Danny Hart floating in the cool, crisp mountain air.

Laurie Greenland s Summum caked up with the greasy mud and turf.
Laurie Greenland's Summum caked up with the greasy mud and turf.

Propain s Luke Meier-Smith will surely be disappointed with anything short of a medal in juniors this weekend.
Propain's Luke Meier-Smith will surely be disappointed with anything short of a medal in juniors this weekend.

Laurie Greenland throwing some style over the new hip.
Laurie Greenland throwing some style over the new hip.

Marine Cabirou is one of the favourites this weekend and the track changes will certainly suit her.
Marine Cabirou is one of the favourites this weekend and the track changes will certainly suit her.

Reece Wilson picking it up over the rocks. The Scotsman was causing a lot of chat trackside with some wild riding and creative lines.
Reece Wilson picking it up over the rocks. The Scotsman was causing a lot of chat trackside with some wild riding and creative lines.

Tracey Hannah will be out for revenge after missing out on a Crankworx win to Vali Holl in Innsbruck.
Tracey Hannah will be out for revenge after missing out on a Crankworx win to Vali Holl in Innsbruck.

Can Mr Consitency do the business this weekend Troy Brosnan is always a threat.
Can Mr. Consistency do the business this weekend? Troy Brosnan is always a threat.

Charlie Harrison is focused on nothing less than those medal positions.
Charlie Harrison is focused on nothing less than those medal positions.

The roots are becoming more and more apparent with each passing wheel.
The roots are becoming more and more apparent with each passing wheel.

Danny Hart s Champery race run immediately entered my head when I saw the fresh-cut section.
Danny Hart's Champery race run immediately entered my head when I saw the fresh-cut section.

Myriam Nicole s return and World Champs vitory last year was one for the book. Going two for two would have her tasting the rainbow.
Myriam Nicole's return and World Champs victory last year was one for the books. Going two for two would have her tasting the rainbow.

Style for lyfe Wyn Masters.
Style for lyfe; Wyn Masters.

It didn t take long for things to rut up today and they re only going to get deeper from here.
It didn't take long for things to rut up today and they're only going to get deeper from here.

Hugo Frixtalon weaves through the trees in the fresh section.
Hugo Frixtalon weaves through the trees in the fresh section.

Henry Fitzgerald riding high and hard for team Canada.
Henry Fitzgerald riding high and hard for team Canada.

Angel Suarez could easily pull a big result out the bag this weekend.
Angel Suarez could easily pull a big result out the bag this weekend.

Jack Moir looks like he s settling into life at Canyon just fine. He looked on it on track today.
Jack Moir looks like he's settling into life at Canyon just fine. He looked on it on track today.

Laurie Greenland pushes up for another crack at the ultra slick roots of the stump section.
Laurie Greenland pushes up for another crack at the ultra slick roots of the stump section.

Pedro Burns living the triple clamp life.
Pedro Burns living the triple clamp life.

MacDonald never not scrubbing for dough.
MacDonald never not scrubbing for dough.

Monika Hrastnik looked pinned on the loose track.
Monika Hrastnik looked pinned on the loose track.

Greg Minnaar getting to grips with the steeps. He won last time we had World Champs in Leogang can he make it 2 from 2
Greg Minnaar getting to grips with the steeps. He won last time we had World Champs in Leogang, can he make it 2 for 2?

The difference a day makes.
If only we could bank a bit of this weather for the big show.

Nina Hoffmann fighting for grip in the morning mist.
Nina Hoffmann fighting for grip in the morning mist.

Vali H ll cutting through the mud in fresh TLD neons.
Vali Hoell cutting through the mud in fresh TLD neons.

Formation flying.
Formation flying.

Luca Cruzin over the massive river gap.
Luca Cruzin' over the massive river gap.

Bernard Kerr looked pinned on track he seems to be a big fan of the changes this year.
Bernard Kerr looked pinned on track and he seems to be a big fan of the changes this year.

New French Champ Benoit Coulanges looking for some recognition on the World stage.
New French Champ, Benoit Coulanges, looking for some recognition on the World stage.

Remi Thirion is loving the steep and natural new section he had some creative lines up his sleeve too.
Remi Thirion is loving the steep and natural new section. He had some creative lines up his sleeve too.

Dakota Norton shadow steeze.
Dakota Norton shadow steeze.

How white will these be looking on Sunday
How white will these be looking on Sunday?

With more moisture scheduled mud spikes are the only tire of choice left to even stand a chance on this track.
With more moisture scheduled, mud spikes are surely the only choice to stand a chance on this heavily modified track.



65 Comments

  • 73 0
 The photo of Danny Hart going into orbit against the backdrop of the mountains.....POTY award.
  • 10 0
 It'd be hard to narrow these photos down to the top 12 to make a calendar, but someone should!
  • 7 0
 Was going to comment that is one of the best pics I've seen in a long time. you beat me to it
  • 1 0
 Have to agree. I was wondering if I would be the first to make the comment about the POTY, but the PB community never disappoints. The photo has everything that makes our sport so great.
  • 2 0
 Great Shots all around!
  • 1 0
 Yep. First Nicole shot is a standout too.
  • 1 1
 None of them are relevant.... WHERES THE DENIM DESTROYER !!!???
  • 24 0
 In the Vital RAW Leogang Day 1 video Reece Wilson looked super fast today!!
  • 2 0
 Didn’t seemed fazed in the slightest.
  • 11 0
 That clip where he pops the stump gap looked effortless.
  • 22 0
 These are some of my most favorite race photos ever. Must be the combo of the slop, sunshine, and snow capped background. Captures a totally invigorating feel.
  • 2 2
 My favorite would be Tracey Hannah in the turn with mountains in the background, but that bike is so ugly! Ruined the shot.
  • 18 1
 "Forest city." Most excellent Trump reference.
  • 13 0
 Where the beer flows like wine... and woman flock likely the Salmon of Covfefe
  • 3 0
 “Forest management”. Even better reference Wink
  • 7 0
 Tremendous place
  • 5 0
 I hope the trees don't explode on the riders
  • 3 3
 WHY MENTION THAT IDIOTS NAME AND RUIN DH
  • 1 0
 I was wondering if this utter nonsense he told about Austria, even was recognized as widely in the US, as it was in Austria. Forest cities, exploding trees -- what a mad mind.
  • 17 4
 Hey team Great Britain rider selection manager pull your head out of your fucking ass and include Gee every fucking year until he decides that he doesn't want to. Thank you good night Leogang, mic drop......
  • 3 0
 don't leave Brendan Fairclough out of your badass speach
  • 12 0
 omgomomgomgomgomggmogmgomgomogmogmogmogmgomgomgogmogm
  • 11 4
 With the complete lack of a race season, the UCI shouldn't award the rainbow stripes this year but rather a "Brown rainbow" to reflect how much of a sh!tshow 2020 is for international sport.
  • 3 0
 Love it, you could try and guess what was eaten for each shade. Should start with that baby shit toxic green
  • 9 0
 Cannot wait.....so stoked for this.
  • 8 0
 Some of those kits looks straight out of the 90s
  • 3 1
 Loic's and Vali's kits are waaaaaaaaaay to colourful by todays standards, LOL
  • 1 0
 what about Minnaar's jersey?
  • 1 0
 @vhdh666: his is the best by far
  • 7 0
 Rob's mask made from yer mum's panties.
  • 6 0
 Last year: could ride it on a trail bike.
Track builders this year: "f*ck your trail bike"
  • 6 0
 "Kerr bites the Scottish dust." - You sure about that?
  • 16 0
 Austrian mud = Scottish dust
  • 3 0
 So good to see uci,redbull,trwck builders have listened and made this the best looking leogang yet. I think itl be won or lost in the new sections.dam you covid iv missed this racing so much.go hart
  • 4 0
 Damn. So many sick photos!
  • 4 0
 luke ms lookin thick as
  • 1 0
 go lukems1!!!
that photo is Luke Williamson but, Lukems1's bike is black Wink
  • 1 0
 Anyone know what the carbon bit covering the shock is on Loic's bike? Hiding some new Ohlin's shock or something? Seen it on a few pictures of his bike lately
  • 2 0
 Probably just to make other riders/mechanics/engineers spend thoughts and valuable time on that question Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Checks weather report for the next few days...

* Laughs in British *
  • 2 0
 Nothing better than a photo epic. Loving the shots, guys!
  • 2 0
 Is Brosnan running a front derailleur?
4 cables on that bike!!!
  • 2 0
 rear pedal platform
  • 2 0
 @ColquhounerHooner: How does that work? What does it do?
  • 1 1
 @Anaussiesmiley: I think it disconnects the pedals and chain from the rider so that the suspension can work more freely and reduce nae remove pedal kickback. They demo-ed it 4-5 years ago on the old sender.
  • 2 0
 These shots are amazing! Remi looking dialed!
  • 2 0
 The two pics of Dakota might be my favorites
  • 2 2
 Looks like Windrock mud in a few sections. Even if it hardens up it'll be rowdy.
  • 1 0
 Myriam Nicole rocking flat pedals
  • 1 0
 Thanks for these awesome photos, I just watched it for the 3rd time haha
  • 1 0
 Very nice photos! My prediction ... Hart - Cabirou!
  • 1 0
 Looks skits
  • 4 4
 Kerr the Squid...LOL, classic ego destroying shot.
  • 1 0
 Looking hella mainey
  • 1 0
 It's Höll, not Holl.
  • 1 0
 DANNY HART FOR THE WIN!
  • 1 4
 Slack AM bike for FTW. The pedal along the motorway will be win or lose.
  • 1 0
 Quite a few of these DH rigs are already running very high anti squat numbers, so they should sprint perfectly fine
  • 1 5
flag jclnv (Oct 8, 2020 at 23:59) (Below Threshold)
 @Arierep: Unless you’re pretty tall the high stack of DH bikes are useless for putting out lots of power. Not to mention the weight. Speeds aren’t going to be crazy high due to conditions so they don’t need wheelbase stability. I might be wrong but I’d be surprised if someone doesn’t try it.
  • 6 0
 Not sure if the motorway will be the decisive part of the track...
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: compare the weighs of current generation pro DH and enduro rigs and you'll be surprised. Also, DH bikes have a good degree of stack adjustability, if that's to be the issue.
  • 1 4
 @ThrillPhil46: Yes it will. You can lose it in the steep sections but if you haven’t got the fitness for the motorway forget it. I think qualifying has already proved that. The Frenchies are machines.

@Arierep: About 3-4lbs on an AM bike that isn’t full of tools/tube etc.

You can’t get low stack with a 200mm fork. Unless you’re running a stupid high BB which would be pointless.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Well, I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that all of top elite riders have got the fitness for pushing through the motorway...
And whatever you concluded from qualifying, the (sectoral) times tell the exact opposite. Split between fastest and 5th fastest in sector 3 (motorway) = +0.626 // Split between fastest and 5th fastest in sector 4 = +3.748.

Or antoher one: Only 4 guys of the top10 overall, were top10 in sector 3. But it was 8 out of 10 in sector 4...
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: on that weight difference you're probably comparing shop floor weights. Don't forget the pros usually run DH casing tyres with inserts on the enduro bikes, which offsets that difference
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