Trackwalk - Leogang DH World Cup 4

Jun 12, 2014
by Nathan Hughes  


TUNNELVISION



Back to back world cups have their pros and cons. The main pro, of course, is everyone doesn't have to pay to travel home and back to the next. The main con is the exhaustion factor. And plane, ferry or vespa, Fort William to Leogang is no hop, skip or jump. Anyway all that travel can leave you feeling jaded and grumpy. And a bit fuzzy in the head, like you're looking through a tunnel. Hold on we are looking through a tunnel... Leogang's 2013 World Cup final track has been reformed, and top of the bill was quite clearly to add significantly more tunnels. Curious. Anyway there's also a bit more off camber, artificial rock garden action and wider taping. Let's take a walk.

Trying not to look suspect in front of the cops with sub machine guns in the Glasgow airport. Wait... big beard sunglasses and a f-ton of luggage. Totally suspect.
  Trying not to look suspect in front of the cops with sub machine guns in the Glasgow airport. Wait... big beard, hat, sunglasses, and a f-ton of luggage. Totally suspect.

Close quarters and all the single malt you could sample would best describe the 16 hour ferry ride from Newcastle to Amsterdam that all the team trucks and supportcre endured en route to Leogang.
  Then there's the stowaway route. Newcastle to Amsterdam. Close quarters and all the single malt you could sample would best describe the ride that all the team trucks and support crew endured en route to Leogang.

Layover number two was a long 13 hours in London Gatwick. Plenty of time to catch up on work and naps and Star Wars .
  Layover number two was a long 13 hours in London Gatwick. Plenty of time to catch up on work and naps (and Star Wars).

12 hour ferry ride and 20 hours of driving later we made it to Leogang The Mondraker rockstar mobile rolling strong with Christian Schandl at the helm.
  Sickening layovers versus sickening sea-sickness and whiskey hangovers? 12 hour ferry ride and 20+ hours driving for the Mondraker rockstar-mobile rolling strong with Christian Schandl at the helm.

Holland. As seen on a 17 hours drive through Europe to reach Leogang from Fort William.
  Out the window? Holland. A poor choice for downhill spectating let's be honest.

Big mountains mean big changes could happen to the weather in just a moments notice. It s been hot the last few days but rain is predicted on and off through the weekend.

2014 Leogang WC DH images

I reckon SRAM has the best view in all of the pits from the inside of their massive support truck.
  Big mountains mean big changes could happen to the weather in just a moments notice. It's been hot the last few days but rain is predicted on and off through the weekend. We reckon SRAM has the best view in all of the pits from the inside of their massive support truck.

Let the pit costruction begin. With temps well into the 90 s it was a race worth winning to get some shade in place.
  Let the pit construction begin. With temps well into the 90's it was a race worth winning to get some shade in place.

Welcome to Leogang Austria.
  Tell you what's not Holland. Leogang, Austria.

Wyn Masters showing off his ninja moves.
  Wyn Masters showing off his ninja moves.

Anneke Beerten feeling pretty aero while warming up for the 4X training in Leogang.
  Anneke Beerten feeling pretty aero while warming up for the 4X training in Leogang.

It s only been a few days since Fort William but everything gets a bit of love before training starts.
  It's only been a few days since Fort William, but everything gets a bit of love before training starts.

Forks piling up after getting a nice beating in Fort William last weekend. Mechanics seems to be loving the first day so far.
  The forks are really piling up...the mechanics seems to be loving the first day so far.

There is a point where the beers for the mechanic situation reaches critical mass at the World Cup level in the SRAM pits.
  There is a point where the "beers for the mechanic" situation reaches critical mass at the World Cup level in the SRAM pits.

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  Eric Carter gave us an insight into Troy's latest form...

bigquotesI think he's just making real conscious decisions to choose lines that play to his skill set and stature. He's a light kid and so he's able to get to some lines that the bigger guys might struggle to get into. His power to weight ratio is phenomenal, everybody can see that. Troy's put in the hard work in the off-season and he trusts himself now. I don't think he second guesses himself and his lines or think too much about where other people are going. He's just focused on making his race, his best race. He is now confident enough to know that his best run is enough to win a race. It's good to see him so confident. There's no faking it and no substitute for that. So hopefully we continue to ride this wave of confidence underneath the Specialized tent and my boys keep getting podiums to battle it out for the overall- EC - Specialized Racing


2014 Leogang WC DH images

This is the frst new bit on track. A 20 meter rock garden with a steep right hand turn at the end.
  This is the first new bit on track. A 20 meter rock garden with a steep right hand turn at the end.

The new upper section of the track however does have a few off camber sections that could be interesting if the forecast delivers the promised rain.
  The new upper section of the track, however, does have a few off camber sections that could be interesting if the forecast delivers the promised rain.

Who farted
  Bro, did you just...?

The upper sweeping left hander is not the only awkward section of off camber track on offer. If it gets wet with the clay in this soil this might be interesting if stays dry like it is now well it s going to be pretty vanilla.
  The upper sweeping left hander is not the only awkward section of off camber track on offer. If it gets wet, with the clay in this soil, this might be interesting; if stays dry like it is now, well, it's going to be pretty vanilla.

Tunnel number 1. They should have put the entire track in a tunnel.
  Tunnel number 1. There's a few. They should have put the entire track in a tunnel.

2014 Leogang WC DH images

 The new upper section of track is new and already pretty blown out with lot s of off camber turns and big rocks. No more side hill pedaling which makes a difference. - Troy Brosnan checks out the latest addition of man made rocks in the track.
  Man of the moment (flying gangster?), Troy Brosnan checks out the latest addition of man made rocks in the track.


bigquotesThe new upper section of track is new and already pretty blown out with lot's of off-camber turns and big rocks. No more side hill pedaling which makes a difference EC - Specialized Racing


Two of the new tunnels and some stonework make up a new section just above the first section of forest.
  Two of the new tunnels and some stonework make up a new section just above the first section of forest.

Changes to the track up top were excessive. With massive rerouting and rock retention walls that rival those you see in new road construction. The top section will be rolling mega fast if it stays dry.
  Changes to the track up top looked... excessive. With massive rerouting and rock retention walls that rival those you see in new road construction or some kind of medieval fortress.

MacDonald showing us how a track walk is done.
  MacDonald showing us how a track walk is done. Don't worry, he got the grab.

Jill Kintner and Matt Branney going over their lines with coach Chris Herndon. Herndon has been traveling with the U.S. riders this season to try and help give them a little extra edge.
  Jill Kintner and Matt Branney going over their lines with coach Chris Herndon. Herndon has been traveling with the U.S. riders this season to try and help give them a little extra edge.

Aaron Gwin won here in 2011 but hasn t been able to get a grasp back on Leogang since. He ll be looking into every bit of track to knock off much time as possible.
  Aaron Gwin won here in 2011, but hasn't been able to get a grasp back on Leogang since. He'll be looking into every bit of track to knock off much time as possible.

Because having electric fence on the out side of a loose program is a great idea...
  Because having electric fence on the out side of a loose program is a great idea...

Gee and crew look at the options for getting into the mid rock section.
  Gee and crew look at the options for getting into the mid rock section.

This fly off into the woods is one of the more iconic sections of the leogang track. Get it wrong and it s a long fall to the floor below. Definitely one of those section that s worth a second look.
  This fly off into the woods is one of the more iconic sections of the leogang track. Get it wrong and it's a long fall to the floor below. Definitely one of those section that's worth a second look.

I few lines have been altered this year and while whole trees were removed it s good to see that they left in most of the roots.
  A few lines have been altered this year, and while whole trees were removed, it's good to see that they left in most of the roots.

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  Team Parkin Bros taking the stroll shooting some live feed coursewalk action.

Odd man made rock gardens seem to be a recurring theme on the track this year in an attempt to make the flat bits just a bit more interesting
  Odd man made rock gardens seem to be a recurring theme on the track this year in an attempt to make the flat bits just a bit more "interesting"

In previous years riders carried massive speed through this section. This year it has been taped to the very far right creating a rather difficult looking off camber into a steep corner. Will it be for the better We ll find out tomorrow.
  In previous years riders carried massive speed through this section. This year it has been taped to the very far right creating a rather difficult looking off camber into a steep corner. Will it be for the better? We'll find out tomorrow.


Wheeling and dealing Filip Polc chasing down new sites for downtown racing as he walks the track.
  Wheeling and dealing: Filip Polc chasing down new sites for downtown racing as he walks the track.


Neko Mulally and Brook MacDonald checking out the landing on an upper section drop. Both Mulally and MacDonald are liking the changes to the track this year. It s going to be super fast with not a whole lot of support. It looks like it will be pretty hard said Mulally after his track walk.
  Neko Mulally and Brook MacDonald checking out the landing on an upper section drop. Both Mulally and MacDonald are liking the changes to the track this year. "It's going to be super fast with not a whole lot of support. It looks like it will be pretty hard," said Mulally after his track walk.

Tunnel number 3. Yes three tunnels with padding on the track. Ha ha ha ha......
  Tunnel number 3. Yes, three tunnels with padding on the track. Hehe.

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  Austria represent.

bigquotesRacing in Austria to me is a little bit that feeling of World Champs. Everyone knows you, everyone wants you to do well. The best thing is to use this as positive pressure and just push it hard and be happy to have a home race. I rode the changes to the track the weekend before Fort William a little bit for training. Everything was freshly built and the weather was horrible, but it was fun to ride and I think all the new off-camber sections at the top will give a lot more options for a lot more lines. The track will change and there's no more smashing the same line. The middle table line is a bit better, you can carry more speed, but we'll see tomorrow if the jumps are big enough because before in a race run it was easy to overshoot them a lot- Markus Pekoll - MS Mondraker


Dry and hard packed here.. Hopefully a little spritz can loosen up the track a bit here...
  Dry and hard packed here.. Hopefully a little spritz can loosen up the track a bit here...

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  That feeling when you find two euros.

bigquotesThey made some changes in the right direction. I think I am little let down because I heard it was going to all through the fields under the lift and wild like Schladming and instead it's still looking a bit bikepark. If it p*sses rain it could get wild though cos it looks fast... You're coming into this at least a hundred miles an hour. Maybe more... hundred and two- Brendan Fairclough - Gstaad Scott


This section isn t too steep but once riders head into the woods things change in a hurry.
  This section isn't too steep, but once riders head into the woods things change in a hurry.

Another Iconic section of the Leogang course this steep and slippery chute withing sight of the finish line has seen many a close call over the years. as the last major technical section of course riders strong run will be pinned here.
  Another Iconic section of the Leogang course, this steep and slippery chute withinn sight of the finish line has seen many a close call over the years. As the last major technical section of course, riders will be pinned here.

Full speed off the motorway and it s into some technical woods that have been altered this year by some clever taping.
  Full speed off the motorway and it's into some technical woods that have been altered this year by some clever taping.

Danny Hart gazing out over the drop in to the finish.
  Danny Hart gazing out over the drop in to the finish.

Out of the woods and into the finish arena. If you keep off the brakes through the left hand corner above this blind fade away just just might clear all the nasty rocks.
  Out of the woods and into the finish arena. If you keep off the brakes through the left hand corner above this blind fade away, you just might clear all the nasty rocks.

Such an amazing back drop for a World Cup. Mixed reviews on the track changes today nearly the whole top section was rerouted and they ve added some tunnels. Lots of tunnels. Who doesn t like tunnels
  Such an amazing back drop for a World Cup. Mixed reviews on the track changes today; nearly the whole top section was rerouted, and they've added some tunnels. Lots of tunnels. Who doesn't like tunnels?

Troy and Gwin having a little lunch time matin e of Three Minute Gaps.
  Troy and Gwin having a little lunch time matinee of Three Minute Gaps.

A bit of new tech on the MS-Mondraker team bikes new Renthal carbon bars.
  A bit of new tech on the MS-Mondraker team bikes: new Renthal carbon bars.

Fresh love on Brendawg s Forks.
  Fresh love on Brendawg's Forks.

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  Here's a preview of Ropelto's prototype 'hollow man' fork.

If you can t dodge it Sram it.
  If you can't dodge it, Sram it.

BoXXer World Champ Evan Warner uncorking Mitch Ropelato s BoXXer to reveal...
  Alright here they are really... BoXXer World Champ Evan Warner uncorks the beauties to reveal...

Just ordinary boXXer guts. Nothing to see here folks move along now...
  Just ordinary Boxxer guts. Nothing to see here folks, move along now...

Ahh Ben Arnott showing a bit of frustration whilst playing find the nipple midway through lacing up a freshie for Greg Williamson
  Ahh, Ben Arnott showing a bit of frustration whilst playing "find the nipple" midway through lacing up a freshie for Greg Williamson

Some haven t showered for a few days and arriving in the blistering heat meant for some not so traditional bathing techniques.
  Some haven't showered for a few days and arriving in the blistering heat meant for some not so traditional bathing techniques.

From a sole patch of shady ground to the ice cold river it was a battle to stay cool and out of the hot sun.
  From a sole patch of shady ground to the ice cold river, it was a battle to stay cool and out of the hot sun.

It s hot and ice cream internal cooling is the only way to roll.
  It's hot and ice cream internal cooling is the only way to roll.

Up high and enjoying the Austrian views.
  Up high and enjoying the Austrian views.

Walker Shaw going with one of the more fun cooling techniques.
  Walker Shaw going with one of the more fun cooling techniques.

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  Sure he lifts, but I heard he totally tenses the whole time.

Tibetan prayer flags or riders laundry out to dry inthe Leogang sunshine
  Tibetan prayer flags or riders laundry out to dry in the Leogang sunshine?

It takes two to strain pasta. Badly. As in it goes everywhere. Paris Gore and Kurt McDowell try and fail at getting synchronized in the kitchen.
  It takes two to strain pasta. Badly. As in, it goes everywhere. Paris Gore and Kurt McDowell try (and fail) at getting synchronized in the kitchen.

2014 Leogang WC DH images
  Also, gute Nacht alle, gut schlafen.



81 Comments

  • 116 1
 Those photos showin the life I wish to live...
  • 9 0
 'Hollow man' fork, want! Man oh man what I would give to be there! Desk life sucks...
  • 19 4
 you can tell that gee uses the right hand for his fun
  • 10 5
 photographer seems to be avoiding females. either he's shy or he's ...
  • 2 1
 Great opening story about the travel plans.
Troy was knocking on the door a couple of years back when he did his spleen hey. If not for that, he probably would have won sooner.
Brendog... #ripped. Easy to see why he's fallen from the top ten now that tracks aren't as steep or dirty. Cut down on your pork life mate, get some exercise!
  • 1 0
 *sigh* Frown
  • 1 0
 NOOO!!! I'm heading to austria a week too late :-/ guess booking for the 19th was a bad idea...
  • 66 3
 Lol, Gwin and Brosnan learning how to ride the Demo by watching Sam Hill riping it on 3 minute gaps...
  • 3 2
 More like Troy pointing out the bits that helped him last weekend.
  • 1 0
 If you guys haven't watched gopro practice run in Ft.Bill,you should. His lines were amazing.Looked like moto gp or F1 lines .Pretty cool.
  • 6 0
 I missed that, do you have a link scary1 ?
  • 1 0
 I saw it on the specialized facebook post may 2-3 days ago
  • 12 1
 That photo where the description is talking about it being dry and hard shows what looks like a dick. A dry and hard one, I imagine.
  • 7 0
 I was thinking to myself did someone draw a dick on the lander? must have been lush
  • 13 0
 Pretty sure someone tried pissing in the shape of a dick. I'd put money on it being an Aussie. Very Aussie thing to do.
  • 2 0
 That's a lot of high pressure pissing then.... Yeah defs Aussie though
  • 11 0
 Gee looks super fit holy crap.
  • 5 1
 Well I mean...he is one ofthe fastest riders in the world
  • 4 0
 Bruce fucking lee !
  • 10 0
 Whats wrong with tunnels?
  • 5 0
 Haha I know, this author really hates tunnels.
  • 10 1
 Honestly I felt like much of the article was a buzz kill. I was torn reading/viewing. Part of me was amped looking at the images. The other part of me was brought down by captions that mostly complained about the track, changes, or Leogang in general. Are there better tracks, yes. Do we have to live with this for the time being, yes. If I were covering the WC race there I would have taken my grievances to the proper channels and bought the good coverage to max out the stoke meter for fans like myself. Cheer up bro, just a tunnel or three.
  • 10 0
 It is kind of a buzzkill but at the same time I think these guys who cover the races try to give us a feel for what's going on there. That's there job. They are there and talking to the racers and team managers and mechanics. They are there to report what's going on. If the vibe is that the track sucks, then I expect them to convey that to us readers.
  • 1 0
 @sino428 fair point. I used to be one of the track bashers myself. Just getting kind of old…
  • 2 0
 The tunnels are a big surprise though , they probably spent hundreds of thousands of euros on all of them , some major construction work there , could be spent ' making ' a more natural DH track.
  • 3 0
 It's not just about the WC track, though. Leogang is also a skiing resort and they have to consider both winter and summer when they build those tracks.

btw; I remember people talking smack about cairns being far too easy ahead of the race. We did see where that ended...
  • 4 2
 yeh, it ended with it being a bloody xc track with a rock garden at the top....
  • 2 0
 I don't think the track looks easy at all to be honest , maybe not quite as tech as past tracks but plenty rough and very fast.
  • 7 0
 I wonder how many people mistake the Gt bus for the public toilets?

Also the moons upside down. Obviously photoshopped.
  • 2 1
 haha, it does like a portaloo with an in and out door. Don't see Gee being too happy when I take a whizz on his nasa tested memory foam pillow and fart into his oxygen chamber
  • 1 0
 Nah bro, you're standing upside-down.
  • 8 1
 Find the nipple? thats my favorite game! Wink
  • 10 1
 no way if the nipple has to be found something is wrong
  • 4 1
 its all in the name of the game that is foreplay son, unless you make out with your eyes open, you've done some searchin in your life.
  • 1 2
 ima let your lack of nipple 6th sense slide( you'll get better in time)


Who makes it down faster Hart or gwin?? im picking hart
  • 2 0
 Aha, when I read that in the article, I didn't think of it as dirty at all, I just sympathized for the mechanic. Bikes are singlehandedly making my life hundreds of times better, and a few times worse
  • 1 0
 I feel ya haha. Having worked at a shop for a little bit, anything small can turn into the biggest pain in the ass
  • 2 0
 With all those epic pics..... I sure hope we get good camera placement/coverage of the race!!!!!!!!! Fort bill was amazing...I think they coulda gave us a bit more of the track ...but o well.....Go specialized...1/2 yeah! Hope rach is feelin good!
  • 1 0
 Are you seriously concerned about the electrical fences? Come on! We through riders in roc gardens at 60kph pretty much without protections and you're scared about electrical fences? Like a cow? I swear you: those things sting a lot less than the rocks.
  • 1 0
 The forecast is showing the possibility of storm showers... which i assure you can throw down 5cm of rain in minutes.... we live in the Balkan mountains in SE Europe and we have had this weather for the last month, also the high winds that precede the storm could be a factor.... personally i like the course changes, watching Claudio's course run showed that it could take prisoners (especially Will !)... any rain and wind could add to the fun ;-) Will be glued to the screen come race time...
  • 1 0
 DH is not properly rough anymore. If he misses the gnarly riding, he should stop competing and turn to freeriding. I'm sick of his moaning. Whether on enduro bike or on DH bike he's not winning and not helping his "freerider" image either.
  • 1 0
 I mean Bendog.
  • 1 0
 hot sun? how hot is it over there?
I really enjoy this track lots of reward to be had if your on the limit in the tech here. looking forward to it.
Just hate that middle park bit.
  • 4 0
 Last pic:
Also, gute Nacht an alle, sclaft gut!

Just saying ;-)
  • 2 0
 Damn, knew I couldn't trust google translate.
  • 3 1
 One of the best race of the year, maybe the best ......... and that fridge is gorgeously full up Razz ( yumm
  • 2 0
 These photos are basicly showing what i want to live !!! This life looks so sick !!
  • 2 0
 I've been seeing pics and vids of Gee for a few years now and I don't think I've ever seen him smile...
  • 1 0
 He seems alot more tense now than he was in the Atherton Project
  • 2 0
 "Dry and hard packed here.. Hopefully a little spritz can loosen up the track a bit here..."

That's a massive cock up.
  • 3 1
 Damn I wish I could be there...
  • 1 0
 Ropelato seems to be Speshs' go to guy for testing weird ideas prototypes. I wonder what size axle that new fork is using?
  • 2 0
 zero.0 New Spesh standard, more light weight, more aerodynamic. Tool free.
  • 1 0
 Just chatting to a mate who lives in the Tyrol. He said it's p155ing it down, if it stays wet, this track just bogs up.
  • 2 1
 Do Not try to make me believe ..this ain't a proper downhill track
  • 17 1
 The brendawgs, and Hart's, and hills of the world have been calling for schladming, and champery level tracks again for a couple years now. I think we'd see different people on the podiums if they brought back some of the tech tracks. That's what DH is about in my opinion. Power's important but being able to pin in down through the rocks, roots, and ruts in the woods in real DH riding to me. I'm gonna go watched the earthed series now.
  • 5 0
 obviously non of you have ever been riding Leogang...
  • 1 0
 Im also not a WC dh racer. Those dudes deserve gnarlier tracks.
  • 1 0
 ohhh yeh that course though
  • 1 0
 Looks like it's going to be an amazing race. Stay cool.
  • 3 4
 When will these hooligans learn that to gain credibility as a real sport, a sense of professionalism is required!! Tut tut, rail some ruts etc
  • 1 0
 however, at least it is looking better than last year
  • 1 0
 So does Austria have their own version of milwaukee best aka beast?
  • 1 0
 Eric Carter looks like Walter White, if Walter White gained some weight.
  • 1 0
 nice german! "Also, gute Nacht alle, gut schlafen" Big Grin
  • 1 0
 That road bike....jesus. Thats pretty amazing looking.
  • 2 0
 That isn't a road bike bud, that's a Triathlon bike. I remember something about it being too aero for use in Time Trial racing so specialized just went all out to make the craziest thing they could imagine. It has a camel bak bladder inside of the frame.... Craziness
  • 1 0
 Gwin, Ratboy, Wyn, Cunningham, Manon. £1m well spent...
  • 1 0
 Fruit flavored underwear?
  • 1 0
 Loving the look of that srammy dodger!!
  • 1 0
 Stocking San Miguel beer when you're in Austria? Really?
  • 3 3
 Time for the bike park worlds.
  • 2 0
 Logistically they need a chair lift so bike parks are often the only way to go - technically Champery is within a bike park and no one complains about that track. So is Mont Saint Anne, The canadian open at Whistler, hell Fort William is a bike park.
  • 3 5
 You knew what I meant. This track is hardly hard enough to be a wc track. but whatever.
  • 1 0
 Cairns is proof you don't need a chair lift to hold a very good world cup Wink And as far from a bike park as it gets.
  • 4 4
 Oh look Brendan is moaning about the course.
  • 1 1
 yeah, cos he was riding back when courses weren't all flat and apparently designed by someone who believes dh is nothing to do with bike handling and all to do with cadence sensors and VOmax. Keep it up Brendan I say. Moan, moan and moan again until the UCI pulls its finger out and stops getting a roadie to choose the supposed WC tracks. Let Brendan pick them next year. I absolutely 100% promise you it will be the sickest years WC DH riding since about 2002.

I suggest you also all read the Fairclough interview in the latest WideOpen Mag. He doesn't outright slag of the current state of the sport, but its pretty clear what he thinks.....
"Ive got Scott behind me with an xc bike for the first two rounds"
Thought that was funny until the reality of it sunk in. Something is REALLY REALLY wrong when teams are fielding xc bikes for the first round of the DH world cup.
  • 1 3
 Wheres the close up of Rachael Atherton in those shorts.................super HOT!!!
  • 1 2
 And Jill! Wink
  • 1 2
 Not that fussed on Kitner but Rachael's looking superb Smile
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