The third round of the World Cup in Leogang provided another weekend of exciting racing with some of the closest racing in the venue's history, here are five things we noticed from the sidelines:1. This race was close... even for Leogang
2. Thibaut Daprela is one of the most consistent juniors ever
The track in Leogang is known for its tight racing with only two races resulting in a winning margin of more than two seconds in the past ten races held at the venue. This race was no different with the second closest winning margin ever recorded at the venue in the men's race. The 0.324-second gap between Loic Bruni and Greg Minnaar was only beaten by the incredibly narrow win by Aaron Gwin over Connor Fearon, just 0.045.
Looking further down the results sheet, the racing remained close with the top 10 riders being separated by 3.562 seconds. This is also second closest race in Leogang, beaten only by the 2014 race won by Josh Bryceland (the last World Cup win on a 26" bike) where the top 10 were within 2.905 seconds of his winning time. Looking even further down to the top 40 racers, the story stays the same with the close racing of 2014 coming out on top and the 2019 racing following shortly behind with 40 riders separated by just 9.382. The largest gap to 40th place was in 2011 where there was over a 19-second gap to the top spot.
3. The Leogang track changes for 2019 were a success
The current French domination of World Cup downhill might be led by the likes of Amaury Pierron, Loic Bruni and Loris Vergier in the Elite ranks but in the Junior Men, there is another young Frenchman with complete control over the competition. The Commencal Vallnord rider Thibaut Daprela has won 8 of the 10 World Cup races he has attended over the past two seasons and the two races he didn't win he still came second in. Thibault also currently sits on a seven-race winning streak and hasn't been beaten in a World Cup for a whole year now. For comparison, Finn Iles won 10 races across his two full seasons of racing with a maximum streak of 5 in a row.
4. Tracey Hannah's consistency finally paid off
Leogang is often referred to as the 'bikepark' track of the World Cup circuit with high speeds and a mostly manicured surface, Phil Atwill even rode the track in practice on a hardtail back in 2017. For 2019, the trail crew put in some surprises that would shake things up across the weekend and even put in some entirely new sections of the track featuring multiple different lines.
The changes definitely upped the difficulty level and we saw riders like Amaury Pierron, Rachel Atherton, and Loris Vergier all go down on the revised course. Despite the efforts to make the track slower and potentially allow for bigger winner margins though, the winning time was only six seconds slower than 2018 in the men's race and was one of the closest races at the venue too.
5. It was a great weekend for privateer racers
On the dusty Leogang track, Tracey proved once again why she is one of the world's best. After three back to back qualifying wins this year, it was only a matter of time before she would take the top step of the podium in 2019. The Australian took her fourth ever World Cup win this past weekend adding to her wins in Schladming (2007), Pietermaritzburg (2012) and her last win at Fort William back in 2017. In the finish area, she said this one was extra special as it was the first time she's beaten Rachel for the win when both of them were in the start gate.
Despite it being over two years since her last win on the world stage, Hannah is one of the most consistent riders on the circuit. Since 2006 she has only dropped off the podium in 16 of the 54 World Cup races she has finished. In that same time period, she was only outside the top 10 once, getting an 11th place finish at Val Di Sole back in 2013.
Wyn Masters' new Privateer of the Week award
The exciting racing in Leogang also saw some great results from the privateer racers that made it into finals. Nina Hoffmann improved upon her sixth and third position at previous rounds and went one better crossing the line in second. Kate Weatherly got her first podium too, coming in just over two seconds behind Hannah.
In the Elite Men, the standout privateer of the weekend had to be Johannes Von Klebelsberg, rocking up to a World Cup and riding in blue jeans is always going to get you noticed and they didn't seem to slow him down either. He qualified 16th and it was all go for the finals where he finished just eight seconds off Bruni in 31st.
went to the denim destroyer Johannes Von Klebelsberg and in an Instagram story, Masters said how when they tried to call Johannes to give him the prize money he was already halfway home as he had to work on Monday morning. He had also spent the whole weekend riding with his phone in his jeans pocket in case he got a call from his job as a restaurant manager.
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