Qualifying Photo Report: Working 9 to 5 - Leogang World Cup DH 2018

Jun 9, 2018
by Nathan Hughes  




What a way to make a livin'... racing bicycles down a mountain professionally. Is it a 'real' job? Let's save that debate for another time, but it sure takes work to find extra speed on a course this tight and today the riders were up bright and early looking for hidden tenths. By some miracle, the rains have kept away from our spot in the Austrian alpine and we look set to get away with it for finals as well, with storms building conveniently only for the evening. The upshot will be riders bundled onto the same second in their 6's and 7's... maybe more. Certainly the slightest line switch-up, extra pump or pedal could be the difference between unseating Gwin from his throne or slipping into relative obscurity off the podium.

While Seagrave held the fort in the women's race, nightmarish qualifying runs for Atherton and Nicole meant we didn't get to see them flex in any serious way. Tomorrow's final will, therefore, come as something of a surprise, and of course, Hannah has the muscle to take the win here too, despite her less than ideal beginning to the season. In the junior women, Vali Holl should have no problem seeing off her rivals, today clearing the competition by over 5 seconds, while we have a fierce battle raging between Daprela and A'Hern in the junior men's, today separated by an insanely minimal 0.044 seconds. In the elite men, Luca Shaw continues to threaten complete domination, unless MacDonald can have his say or the gaggle of fast French - Pierron, Bruni, and Vergier who are all right up there on the money. Predictable this one is not. See you for the morning commute.



For the seconds day in a row the angry weather threatened but never managed to escape from the massive peaks on the other side of the valley. Fingers crossed we can make it three days in a row for Sunday.
For the second day in a row the angry weather threatened but never managed to escape from the massive peaks on the other side of the valley. Fingers crossed we can make it three days in a row for Sunday.

The MS Mondraker mechanics admire the early morning carnage at the waterfall section visible from the pits.
The MS Mondraker mechanics admire the early morning carnage at the waterfall section, visible from the pits.

Sylvain Cougoureux may not have qualified but he still made the best of a difficult run for the cameras.
The good life... the fast life. Sylvain Cougoureux may not have qualified, but he still made the best of a difficult run for the cameras.

Jumps motorways and wallrides ... Leogang in a nutshell.
Jumps, motorways, and wallrides ... that's the Leo-game.

6 seconds back puts you in 23rd that s how tight the field is stacked here in Austria. Harrison with the speed and style.
6 seconds back puts you in 23rd, that's how tight the field is stacked here in Austria. Harrison with the speed and style.

A great run for Vero Widmann took her well inside the top 10.
A great run for Vero Widmann took her well inside the top 10.

Blenki about to hang a foot out the back in order to hold onto a wild ride through the long off camber turn.
Blenki about to hang a foot out the back in order to hold onto a wild ride through the long off-camber turn.

Vali Holl winning the junior women and riding to another potential podium spot in elite women ahead of the big day.
Vali Holl winning the junior women and riding to another potential podium spot in elite women ahead of the big day.

Kade Edwards staying true to his plate and rounding out the podium positions once again for qualie.
Kade Edwards staying true to his plate and rounding out the podium positions once again for qualie.

Luca boosting to the moon and leaving everyone else in his dust.
Luca boosting to the moon and leaving everyone else in his dust.

Laurie Greenland is looking fierce and fiesty and was clearly pushing hard on his way down to 6th place.
Laurie Greenland is looking fierce and feisty. He was clearly pushing hard on his way down to 6th place.

Thibaut Daprela making space where there is none on his way to a fastest qualifying time in juniors.
Thibaut Daprela making space where there is none on his way to a fastest qualifying time in juniors.

Aussie young-gun Sian A Hern means business today hitting 6th spot.
Aussie young-gun, Sian A'Hern, means business, today hitting 6th spot.

Tenths matter so much here. Kye A Hern just 0.044 back from first place junior Daprela.
Tenths matter so much here. Kye A'Hern just 0.044 back from first place junior Daprela.

Early morning B practice commitment.
Early morning B practice commitment.

Times are as tight as ever in Leogang. Marcelo Gutierrez was 6 seconds back but resigned to being outside the top 20.
Times are as tight as ever in Leogang. Marcelo Gutierrez was 6 seconds back but resigned to being outside the top 20.

You can t discount this man. After cruising a few runs yesterday Gwin turned it up a notch and took himself to 13th with more in the tank for tomorrow.
You can't discount this man. After cruising a few runs yesterday Gwin turned it up a notch and took himself to 13th with more in the tank for tomorrow.

Emilie Siegenthaler hasn t been on the podium so far this year but took a strong step towards one today.
Emilie Siegenthaler hasn't been on the podium so far this year but took a strong step towards one today.

Mark Wallace just missed the top ten for qualies but is on course to climb well up the ranks tomorrow.
Mark Wallace just missed the top ten for qualies, but is on track to climb well up the ranks tomorrow.

Matt Walker is steadily improving after a broken hand took him out in Croatia. Just outside the top 10 today and still very much in touch with the podium contenders.
Matt Walker is steadily improving after a broken hand took him out in Croatia. Just outside the top 10 today and still very much in touch with the podium contenders.

1.3 seconds back in 5th for Loris Vergier.
1.3 seconds back in 5th for Loris Vergier.

Connor Fearon put his Kona in the top 10 once again in Leogang.
Connor Fearon put his Kona in the top 10 once again in Leogang.

Luca Shaw is an absolute force to be reckoned with right now that much is clear.
Luca Shaw is an absolute force to be reckoned with right now, that much is clear.

Looking to make a statement after last weekend in Fort William Luca Shaw qualified first for the second week in row.
Looking to make a statement after last weekend in Fort William, Shaw qualified first for the second week in a row.

A crash up top cost Rachel Atherton heaps of time and she could go no better than 16th in qualifying.
A crash up top cost Rachel Atherton heaps of time and she could go no better than 16th in qualifying.

2nd on the day for Tracey Hannah as she tries to work her way back up in the overall standings.
2nd on the day for Tracey Hannah as she tries to work her way back up in the overall standings.

Crash number 2 of f for Myriam Nicole during her qualifying run today.
Crash number 2 for Myriam Nicole during her qualifying run today.

Seagrave bounced back from her heavy crash in practice to book pole position tomorrow.
Seagrave bounced back from her heavy crash in practice to book pole position tomorrow.

Winning... it s so chill.
Winning... it's so chill.

Backing up his win from last week Amaury Pierron came down in 3rd just 0.63 back.
Backing up his win from last week, Amaury Pierron came down in 3rd just 0.63 back.

Sometimes it s hard to wrap your head around the fact that Finn Iles is still only 18 years old. So much speed and so much style seems to be the name of the game for today s youth.
Sometimes it's hard to wrap your head around the fact that Finn Iles is still only 18 years old. So much speed and so much style seems to be the names of the game for today's youth.

Whichever way you slice it you just don t get much flatter than that.
Whichever way you slice it, you just don't get much flatter than that.

Finn Iles has joked before about how he has a knack for taking the weeks biggest crash in his final training run before qualifying. Today was definitely one of those days.
Iles has joked before about how he has a knack for taking the weeks biggest crash in his final training run before qualifying. Today was definitely one of those days.

Foot out flat out and just 0.14 seconds back in Second Place for Brook Macdonald today in Leogang.
Foot out, flat out, and just 0.14 seconds back in Second Place for Brook Macdonald today in Leogang.

Reece Wilson unbelievably scored the fastest top split and then crashed out. As he carries the 13 plate you ll still get to see him go to war tomorrow.
Reece Wilson unbelievably scored the fastest top split and then crashed out. As he carries the 13 plate you'll still get to see him go to war tomorrow.

Matt Walker is back sniffing aroung the top 20 positions... it s a been a while coming.
Matt Walker is back sniffing around the top 20 positions... it's a been a while coming.

What a line up Mondraker have this year all 3 of their riders were in top 10 today. Mike Jones behind his team mates in 9th respectively.
What a lineup Mondraker has this year, all 3 of their riders were in top 10 today. Mike Jones behind his teammates in 9th respectively.

Bruni stops to inspect the ever changing and ever developing ruts this morning.
Bruni stops to inspect the ever-changing and ever developing ruts this morning. Fourth this afternoon shows he has his eyes well on the prize.

Some big holes have developed throughout the weekend the Leogang track is rough this year Troy Brosnan - the consistent man of downhill - slotted into 7th.
Some big holes have developed throughout the weekend, the Leogang track is rough this year! Mr. Consistent, Troy Brosnan, slotted into 7th.

Troy and mechanic Aaron check the clips after another good day in the office... is it ever not
Troy and mechanic, Aaron, check the clips after another good day in the office... is it ever not?

After not making the finals last week Mick Hannah was all nerves at the finish in Leogang. But all is well and he can now rest easy knowing he made the big show in Austria.
After not making the finals last week Mick Hannah was all nerves at the finish in Leogang. But all is well and he can now rest easy knowing he made the big show in Austria.

The most successful behind the scenes men in the game right now Dougie Fresh and Tony Seagrave.
The most successful 'behind the scenes' men in the game right now; Dougie Fresh and Tony Seagrave.

The hills are alive with the sound of turn schralping and razzing freehubs.
The hills are alive with the sound of turn schralping and razzing freehubs. Lovely ain't it?



32 Comments

  • + 37
 "Reece Wilson unbelievably scored the fastest top split and then crashed out"

'Unbelievabley' is a bit harsh
Kid got 4th at FortBill last week
  • + 20
 I don't think Nathan is referring to his split as being unbelievable, more the combination of the fastest time before binning it into 97th. Luckily he is protected for finals.
  • + 8
 Cheers Dave, but I'd say it'd be pretty unbelievable if Reece can keep that kind of form up on a track that's not his local... In a good way. I'm rooting for him Smile
  • + 34
 big props to @nathan hughes, the behind-the-wallride photo of Walker is pure genius
  • + 9
 Seriously, that photo is sooooo dope. Perfect framing considering riders are hitting Mach 1 around those wall rides.
  • + 12
 I wish I could tell you it's an original angle, but I saw a shot like this by Antonio Obregonm of Steve Peat a couple of years ago! Guess we're running out of ideas after so many years on this hill haha
  • + 2
 @adrock-whistler: rapid fire helps too haha
  • + 1
 @natedh9: nevertheless, properly done mate !
  • + 1
 @natedh9: I stopped on this shot too, Nate. It's good, regardless.
  • + 9
 The only good thing about having to work all day on a Sunday is coming home and having beer and Redbull TV to watch the race
  • + 2
 I just throw it on at work. Office is deserted on Sundays.
  • + 1
 @AndrewMacNaughton: ambiance my north of the border bro. My cave, cooler next to desk and my big screen.
  • + 1
 @CaliCol: lucky...working all night...be watching the race early in the morning...though no cooler by my desk
  • + 2
 @rcrdrvr: anything is possible. In 2015 I got out of the field after two weeks and got home at 3 am and pounded a twelve pack while watching the rerun. Just be ready for a shitty next day haha
  • + 1
 @rcrdrvr: lucky, working all night, won't be able to sleep until tomorrow night due to travelling to see family in Vancouver. I'll hopefully get to watch on Tues Frown
  • + 6
 Hoping Finn can get podium in elite mens! And Luca definitely deserves a win with all these fast qualifying times.
  • + 4
 So no more neck braces? And it looks like people are actually wearing pads under their clothes.
  • + 1
 Hart...no?
  • + 1
 I think there is a UCI rule that requires riders to wear at least spine protection on some courses. Not sure if this is one of them, but I think that's why you see it on every rider.
  • + 4
 In Austria (as well as in france e.g.) it's a national rule that back protection is mandatory. Overrules Any governing body rules like UCIs. That said, I think I noticed many riders wearing back protection in Fort William as well. To me it makes sense if you want to stay competitive a season long and expect on or the other crash.
As for neck braces, there is no rule.
  • + 2
 Anyone know what spine protection Bruni/Iles are running?
  • + 2
 Stumpjumper 29er my a..........!
  • + 1
 Shots! 'Early morning B practice commitment' and the B&W of Gwin are superb...
  • + 1
 Finn Iles looks like a young matti lehikoinen
  • + 4
 Hope his carreer not like Matti though
  • + 1
 Leogang is one awesome looking World Cup worthy track.
  • + 1
 Myriam Nicole pick it get it up.
  • + 1
 Nice!
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