When & how & who to watch at Leogang DH World Cup on Saturday

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All photos – credit Red Bull Content Pool

In the latest episode of the Making Up The Numbers podcast Jack Reading states that Leogang is the hardest track to race on the World Cup circuit. Once bemoaned as being ‘too bike parky’ that all changed with the addition of a new, incredibly steep bottom section for the 2020 World Championships.

Anyone else looking forward to seeing Kade Edwards jump off the motorway on to those huge wooden berms?

The rest of the track remains familiar. Straight out of the gate riders are greeted with a series of open corners, separated by a tricky off camber which usually claims at least one victim in their race run. It’s then ‘fast with jumps’ until roughly a minute in when riders hit the stumps sections; the second of which is particularly tricky and crucially leads on to the motorway. One small mistake in the stumps equals reduced exit speed on to the fastest section of track. Depending upon the direction and force of the wind, riders will try to squash the motorway jumps if they can so they’re not overjumping them or wasting time in the air.

Coulanges in the woods. Jack Reading expects big things of the Frenchman this weekend

After going flat out for over two minutes riders then enter the woods with a complete change of pace. Steep, tight and rooty, in the wet the woods are absolute carnage. The mud is claggy and consistent as opposed to the odd patchy section. Riders exit the woods on to a huge gap jump (which famously claimed Vali Hoell’s ankle in 2020 in her last practice run before her home World Championship race) before sprinting the bottom section to the finish line.

The stumps section claims another victim

Trying to pick a winner in the Men’s race is hard. The new bottom section has put such a different spin on the track that pre-2020 results can’t really be used as a guide. Having won the opening two rounds in such convincing fashion it’s hard to look beyond Amaury Pierron. Although he’s won here in the past it’s not his favourite track though and with two wins from two he might already have the overall in the back of his mind?

2021 Winner Troy Brosnan sprints for the line

One thing’s for sure, it will be tight. In Fort William a few weeks ago the top 20 were separated by nearly 10 seconds, in Leogang last year, the same number were separated by under 7. Troy Brosnan took the win last year, he’s on the way back from injury and may race this weekend but don’t expect big things after nearly four months off the bike with a broken ankle. Had it not been for a small mistake in the lower woods, Thibaut Daprela would’ve won that race. Fastest in the first two sectors he was nearly a couple of seconds up on Brosnan. Daprela had some special lines at the top and before a pedal has been turned he’s my pick for this weekend. Currently sitting eighth in the overall he’s far enough away to risk it all. Another rider in a similar position is Emilie Siegenthaler’s pick for the win, Loris Vergier. Vergier sits one place ahead of Daprela in the overall coming into this round.

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Thibaut Daprela with both eyes on the prize

Current Standings – Elite Men

  1. Amaury Pierron 455
  2. Laurie Greenland 289
  3. Benoit Coulanges 289
  4. Danny Hart 216
  5. Matt Walker 213
Hopefully we’ll see the return of Finn Iles this weekend…
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After breaking his collarbone in Fort William it’s unlikely we’ll see Loic Bruni racing this weekend. His teammate Finn Isles will hopefully return though after missing Round 2 with a concussion. There will be no Remi Thirion though, the Frenchman famously broke his back here on the bottom jumps and misses this round with a broken arm. Also missing is 2020 World Champion Reece Wilson. As discussed on the podcast, Wilson has been struggling for form and announced this week that he’s putting his season on hold and we wish him all the best.

Reece Wilson took gold here at the 2020 World Championships but he won’t be on track this weekend

Then there’s the weather. Heavy rain is forecast for practice on Thursday and seeding on Friday. Things should dry up for racing on Saturday but this is the mountains so anything can happen. In the wet Leogang is a completely different animal and an outsider could surprise everyone, Emilie picked local boy and Austrian National Champion David Trummer as a possible winner.

After winning with no chain Gwin was the undisputed king of Leogang. Will the comeback start this weekend?

In the Women’s race it’s highly likely the winner will either come from either Camille Balanche, Vali Hoell or Myriam Nicole. Hoell, in her home race, crashed last year on an innocuous corner in sight of the finish line. She still finished second though but the can she handle the pressure? Her two Elite World Cup wins both came in Snowshoe at the end of last season when the pressure was off. She needs to win one now when the pressure is on. Nicole crashed twice in her race run last year and didn’t look herself in Fort William three weeks ago after crashing hard at the season opener in Lourdes. If she’s fully recovered she’ll be a threat. Balanche the winner of the last two races in Leogang and currently leading the overall and her consistency probably makes her the favourite. 

Myriam Nicole went down twice in her 2021 race run

Current Standings – Elite Women

  1. Camille Balanche 435
  2. Myriam Nicole 370
  3. Vali Hoell 325
  4. Nina Hoffmann 292
  5. Marine Cabirou 246

Nina Hoffmann, the winner in Fort William doesn’t favour this kind of track and has only podiumed in Leogang once before. Tahnee Seagrave remains out with a concussion. Marine Cabirou and Monika Hrastnik were both on the podium in 2021 and remain as podium threats again this time around.

Fort William DH World Cup 2022 Track Walk
Vali Hoell sending the huge gap at the bottom

In Junior Men Jackson Goldstone and Jordan Williams are consistently posting times that would be good enough for Top 10 in Elite. Goldstone was second here last year, Williams fourth so maybe the Canadian has the slight edge this time around.

In the Junior Women expect a three-way battle between winner of the first two rounds, Gracey Hemstreet, Phoebe Gale who’s been second in each of those races and 2021 World Champion Izabela Yankova.

Watch it here:

Will Leogang 2020 and 2021 winner Camille Balanche complete the hat trick?

The Big 5 Leogang Talking Points…

  1. Can Camille Balanche make it a hat trick of wins in Leogang?
  2. Can Hoell deliver when the pressure is on?
  3. Can Pierron continue his dominant start to the season and make it 3 wins from 3?
  4. What impact will the weather have?
  5. Can anyone catch Jackson or Jordan in Junior Men?
Elite Men’s Podium 2021
Elite Women Top 3 2021

Live finals schedule on Red Bull TV:

Downhill (DHI)

The Women’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Saturday, 11 June, at 11:25 (BST)

The Men’s Elite final will be broadcasted on Saturday, 11 June, at 12:45 (BST)

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Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • When & how & who to watch at Leogang DH World Cup on Saturday
  • Premier Icon Hannah Dobson
    Full Member

    Doesn’t look as wet as it did in practice. Who’s watching live?

    Premier Icon wordnumb
    Free Member

    That was rather good.

    Premier Icon masterdabber
    Free Member

    Yup, thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Premier Icon keefezza
    Free Member

    That was always gonna be a good race and it very much delivered. Those sloppy woods section makes it so much better to watch and so much more difficult to predict.

    Well done to the winner and his first world cup, well deserved

    Premier Icon colp
    Full Member

    Fantastic race!
    The camera doesn’t do justice to how steep and nasty Vali’s Hole is, amazing riding today.

    Premier Icon Kayak23
    Full Member

    So pleased for the winner. Totally deserved.
    That was a challenging track. 😃

    Premier Icon a11y
    Full Member

    That was effin brilliant

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Full Member

    This is probably a silly question, but am I the only person who, whenever they read ‘Leogang’ always see it as ‘Legoland’?

    Premier Icon LeeGee
    Full Member

    I made it there just in time to see the last 20 or so men’s runs.

    The woods and finish area are very steep, as Colp says the camera doesn’t do justice to it.

    Premier Icon ayjaydoubleyou
    Free Member

    I know it was the covid affected and therefore short season, but had anyone else got the overall without winning a race?

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