Leogang World Cup DH results, report and highlights video

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The third World Cup DH of the year took place in Austria. Here are the results, race report and highlights vids from Leogang.

RACE HIGHLIGHTS | Elite Women Leogang UCI Downhill World Cup

RACE HIGHLIGHTS | Elite Men Leogang UCI Downhill World Cup

DH World Cup Leogang: results

Elite Women

RankNrNationName / TeamSplit 1Split 2Split 3Split 4Time / Gap
1.n°1HÖLL Valentina
YT MOB
40.671 (327)1:33.840 (252)2:15.735 (251)3:06.590 (200)3:45.721
2.n°47NICOLE Myriam
COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION
40.873 (245)
+0.202
1:34.198 (123)
+0.358
2:17.538 (126)
+1.803
3:06.643 (36)
+0.053
3:47.056
+1.335
3.n°22ROA SANCHEZ Valentina *
TRANSITION FACTORY RACING
39.721 (336)
-0.950
1:33.898 (335)
+0.058
2:17.251 (335)
+1.516
3:08.206 (327)
+1.616
3:50.257
+4.536
4.n°5BALANCHE Camille
DORVAL AM COMMENCAL
41.490 (212)
+0.819
1:36.305 (215)
+2.465
2:19.947 (217)
+4.212
3:11.866 (276)
+5.276
3:54.241
+8.520
5.n°18JOHNSET Mille
CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM
41.937 (204)
+1.266
1:37.325 (87)
+3.485
2:22.106 (87)
+6.371
3:13.916 (26)
+7.326
3:55.635
+9.914
6.n°23HEMSTREET Gracey *
NORCO FACTORY RACING
43.770 (261)
+3.099
1:39.024 (149)
+5.184
2:23.652 (153)
+7.917
3:13.963 (80)
+7.373
3:55.794
+10.073
7.n°20FARINA Eleonora
MS INTENSE RACING
42.804 (221)
+2.133
1:40.736 (169)
+6.896
2:24.380 (171)
+8.645
3:15.840 (58)
+9.250
3:56.740
+11.019
8.n°21BAUMANN Lisa
COMMENCAL LES ORRES
41.708 (329)
+1.037
1:35.505 (256)
+1.665
2:18.812 (256)
+3.077
3:11.178 (286)
+4.588
3:58.324
+12.603
9.n°15WIDMANN Veronika
CONTINENTAL GT RACING
43.334 (232)
+2.663
1:39.309 (93)
+5.469
2:23.647 (92)
+7.912
3:18.207 (173)
+11.617
3:59.002
+13.281
10.n°4HRASTNIK Monika
DORVAL AM COMMENCAL
43.650 (243)
+2.979
1:39.821 (95)
+5.981
2:23.627 (95)
+7.892
3:16.308 (167)
+9.718
3:59.064
+13.343
11.n°29A’HERN Sian
YT MOB
44.359 (260)
+3.688
1:39.291 (179)
+5.451
2:22.950 (183)
+7.215
3:16.245 (114)
+9.655
3:59.747
+14.026
12.n°16FERGUSON Louise-Anna
INTENSE FACTORY RACING
44.547 (287)
+3.876
1:40.988 (114)
+7.148
2:26.530 (118)
+10.795
3:20.056 (209)
+13.466
4:01.628
+15.907
13.n°28OSTGAARD Taylor *
48.587 (276)
+7.916
1:51.749 (229)
+17.909
2:36.787 (230)
+21.052
3:43.919 (212)
+37.329
4:32.005
+46.284
14.n°38BULLIARD Delphine
50.195 (282)
+9.524
1:53.572 (324)
+19.732
2:43.612 (324)
+27.877
3:47.340 (289)
+40.750
4:36.536
+50.815
15.n°17PARTON Mikayla
BNC RACING
43.330 (256)
+2.659
1:41.227 (157)
+7.387
2:26.608 (162)
+10.873
4:02.027 (97)
+55.437
4:56.020
+1:10.299
16.n°11SCARSI Gloria
CANYON CLLCTV PIRELLI
43.541 (250)
+2.870
2:43.306 (96)
+1:09.466
3:27.504 (94)
+1:11.769
4:19.017 (78)
+1:12.427
5:01.651
+1:15.930
17.n°42VAN DER VELDEN Siel *
COMMENCAL ICSTUDIO
43.172 (300)
+2.501
1:39.118 (246)
+5.278
2:23.760 (246)
+8.025
3:38.164 (220)
+31.574
5:10.277
+1:24.556
18.n°33RØNNING Frida Helena
UNION – FORGED BY STEEL CITY MEDIA
42.642 (269)
+1.971
1:39.101 (273)
+5.261
2:22.725 (272)
+6.990
4:26.435 (192)
+1:19.845
5:15.757
+1:30.036
19.n°7SEAGRAVE Tahnee
CANYON CLLCTV FMD
40.008 (210)
-0.663
1:34.261 (269)
+0.421
2:17.951 (268)
+2.216
4:36.904 (183)
+1:30.314
5:16.233
+1:30.512
20.n°32KIENER Jolanda
46.360 (275)
+5.689
1:45.883 (275)
+12.043
2:31.022 (274)
+15.287
4:27.642 (274)
+1:21.052
5:33.397
+1:47.676
21.n°25HASTINGS Jenna *
PIVOT FACTORY RACING
43.721 (240)
+3.050
3:18.051 (291)
+1:44.211
4:02.365 (291)
+1:46.630
5:23.597 (203)
+2:17.007
6:07.326
+2:21.605
22.n°34HOGIE Abigail
BEYOND RACING
2:31.546 (289)
+1:50.875
3:32.557 (184)
+1:58.717
4:19.034 (189)
+2:03.299
5:21.226 (111)
+2:14.636
6:09.233
+2:23.512
23.n°24BOULADOU Lisa *
44.349 (335)
+3.678
1:43.009 (288)
+9.169
2:27.529 (289)
+11.794
3:22.599 (269)
+16.009
6:22.410
+2:36.689
24.n°3CABIROU Marine
SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY
44.949 (252)
+4.278
2:58.196 (192)
+1:24.356
3:43.331 (192)
+1:27.596
5:53.873 (132)
+2:47.283
6:38.199
+2:52.478
25.n°39RONCA Abigail *
EVOLVE RACING
50.231 (277)
+9.560
1:52.204 (110)
+18.364
2:39.000 (112)
+23.265
5:49.014 (127)
+2:42.424
6:56.140
+3:10.419
26.n°46GAUDREAU Charlotte *
55.128 (291)
+14.457
2:05.551 (243)
+31.711
2:59.063 (250)
+43.328
6:34.449 (217)
+3:27.859
7:37.528
+3:51.807
27.n°41BERNARD Mathilde
43.245 (249)
+2.574
2:13.948 (289)
+40.108
2:57.353 (288)
+41.618
6:52.859 (240)
+3:46.269
7:39.238
+3:53.517
28.n°14GALE Phoebe *
CANYON CLLCTV FMD
41.618 (215)
+0.947
2:09.135 (279)
+35.295
2:56.732 (279)
+40.997
5:09.142 (199)
+2:02.552
8:12.441
+4:26.720
29.n°43CAMERON Nina-yves *
52.644 (281)
+11.973
2:28.463 (156)
+54.623
3:20.302 (165)
+1:04.567
6:50.267 (161)
+3:43.677
8:20.942
+4:35.221
30.n°2HOFFMANN Nina
SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE
43.232 (218)
+2.561
1:42.647 (295)
+8.807
2:26.631 (297)
+10.896
7:49.092 (256)
+4:42.502
8:32.047
+4:46.326
31.n°13BLEWITT Jess *
CUBE FACTORY RACING
48.822 (274)
+8.151
4:32.364 (253)
+2:58.524
5:19.583 (255)
+3:03.848
6:51.986 (164)
+3:45.396
8:35.833
+4:50.112
32.n°30CLAVEL Vicky *
SCOTT DOWNHILL FACTORY
45.454 (331)
+4.783
3:01.312 (286)
+1:27.472
3:46.075 (287)
+1:30.340
8:14.219 (234)
+5:07.629
9:12.394
+5:26.673
33.n°35SALLEGGER Kerstin
57.592 (293)
+16.921
1:59.776 (323)
+25.936
2:46.491 (323)
+30.756
8:23.193 (285)
+5:16.603
9:14.990
+5:29.269
34.n°12NEWKIRK Anna
BEYOND RACING
40.051 (216)
-0.620
3:35.213 (190)
+2:01.373
4:17.536 (190)
+2:01.801
9:08.420 (154)
+6:01.830
9:47.964
+6:02.243
35.n°45KOšáRKOVá Sabina *
54.786 (285)
+14.115
5:00.254 (264)
+3:26.414
5:49.313 (265)
+3:33.578
9:49.450 (227)
+6:42.860
12:00.967
+8:15.246
36.n°37MUIRHEAD Kalani *
47.174 (271)
+6.503
2:58.747 (103)
+1:24.907
3:44.343 (108)
+1:28.608
9:44.921 (302)
+6:38.331
15:01.309
+11:15.588
37.n°26KENYON Rebeka Aimi *
UNIOR-SINTER FACTORY RACING
47.866 (270)
+7.195
5:14.625 (268)
+3:40.785
7:18.998 (281)
+5:03.263
19:29.590 (318)
+16:23.000
20:14.088
+16:28.367
38.n°27ITEN Emma *
1:16.933 (301)
+36.262
3:33.218 (216)
+1:59.378
4:21.677 (219)
+2:05.942
18:07.413 (313)
+15:00.823
21:14.529
+17:28.808

Elite men

RankNrNationName / TeamSplit 1Split 2Split 3Split 4Time / Gap
1.n°1BRUNI Loic
SPECIALIZED GRAVITY
32.280 (1)1:16.066 (2)1:53.411 (1)2:32.570 (1)3:05.523
2.n°4ILES Finn
SPECIALIZED GRAVITY
32.428 (3)
+0.148
1:15.764 (1)
-0.302
1:54.022 (2)
+0.611
2:34.439 (3)
+1.869
3:07.917
+2.394
3.n°35STEVENS-MCNAB Lachlan *
UNION – FORGED BY STEEL CITY MEDIA
33.039 (15)
+0.759
1:17.722 (16)
+1.656
1:55.109 (5)
+1.698
2:35.480 (5)
+2.910
3:08.638
+3.115
4.n°28O CALLAGHAN Oisin *
YT MOB
33.104 (16)
+0.824
1:17.399 (13)
+1.333
1:56.283 (14)
+2.872
2:35.497 (6)
+2.927
3:08.757
+3.234
5.n°7COULANGES Benoit
DORVAL AM COMMENCAL
32.698 (5)
+0.418
1:16.616 (3)
+0.550
1:54.437 (4)
+1.026
2:34.763 (4)
+2.193
3:08.784
+3.261
6.n°5KOLB Andreas
CONTINENTAL ATHERTON
32.877 (13)
+0.597
1:17.076 (7)
+1.010
1:55.853 (11)
+2.442
2:35.590 (7)
+3.020
3:09.012
+3.489
7.n°10SHAW Luca
CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM
32.838 (11)
+0.558
1:17.088 (8)
+1.022
1:54.236 (3)
+0.825
2:34.270 (2)
+1.700
3:09.518
+3.995
8.n°6KERR Bernard
PIVOT FACTORY RACING
33.146 (19)
+0.866
1:17.158 (10)
+1.092
1:55.158 (6)
+1.747
2:35.667 (8)
+3.097
3:09.813
+4.290
9.n°8BROSNAN Troy
CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM
32.732 (8)
+0.452
1:17.454 (14)
+1.388
1:56.243 (13)
+2.832
2:37.489 (11)
+4.919
3:11.251
+5.728
10.n°34DAPRELA Thibaut
32.771 (9)
+0.491
1:17.040 (6)
+0.974
1:55.535 (8)
+2.124
2:36.758 (10)
+4.188
3:11.289
+5.766
11.n°23HART Danny
CONTINENTAL GT RACING
32.818 (10)
+0.538
1:17.214 (11)
+1.148
1:55.991 (12)
+2.580
2:36.249 (9)
+3.679
3:11.333
+5.810
12.n°12DUNNE Ronan *
MONDRAKER FACTORY RACING
32.711 (6)
+0.431
1:17.130 (9)
+1.064
1:56.887 (17)
+3.476
2:37.650 (12)
+5.080
3:11.935
+6.412
13.n°19PIERRON Amaury
COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION
32.717 (7)
+0.437
1:17.493 (15)
+1.427
1:56.747 (16)
+3.336
2:39.019 (20)
+6.449
3:12.396
+6.873
14.n°9NORTON Dakotah
MONDRAKER FACTORY RACING
32.863 (12)
+0.583
1:17.270 (12)
+1.204
1:55.764 (10)
+2.353
2:37.780 (13)
+5.210
3:12.602
+7.079
15.n°24THIRION Rémi
GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM – DH
33.384 (20)
+1.104
1:18.976 (21)
+2.910
1:57.942 (23)
+4.531
2:39.195 (21)
+6.625
3:12.650
+7.127
16.n°36WALKER Matt
MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM
32.356 (2)
+0.076
1:16.907 (5)
+0.841
1:55.620 (9)
+2.209
2:37.982 (14)
+5.412
3:12.934
+7.411
17.n°22WILLIAMS Jordan *
SPECIALIZED GRAVITY
33.975 (25)
+1.695
1:19.357 (24)
+3.291
1:57.370 (19)
+3.959
2:38.388 (16)
+5.818
3:13.038
+7.515
18.n°39HATTON Charlie
CONTINENTAL ATHERTON
34.542 (27)
+2.262
1:19.925 (25)
+3.859
1:58.135 (25)
+4.724
2:38.946 (18)
+6.376
3:13.622
+8.099
19.n°3VERGIER Loris
TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY
32.691 (4)
+0.411
1:16.714 (4)
+0.648
1:55.365 (7)
+1.954
2:38.343 (15)
+5.773
3:14.704
+9.181
20.n°66BREEDEN Joe
INTENSE FACTORY RACING
33.848 (23)
+1.568
1:19.047 (22)
+2.981
1:58.014 (24)
+4.603
2:40.691 (23)
+8.121
3:14.796
+9.273
21.n°29KUHN Bodhi *
TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY
33.771 (22)
+1.491
1:18.684 (20)
+2.618
1:57.655 (20)
+4.244
2:39.932 (22)
+7.362
3:16.254
+10.731
22.n°20WILLIAMSON Greg
MADISON SARACEN FACTORY TEAM
33.135 (18)
+0.855
1:18.131 (19)
+2.065
1:56.347 (15)
+2.936
2:38.493 (17)
+5.923
3:16.606
+11.083
23.n°44JEWETT Jakob *
PIVOT FACTORY RACING
33.508 (21)
+1.228
1:22.003 (28)
+5.937
2:01.196 (28)
+7.785
2:42.670 (24)
+10.100
3:16.772
+11.249
24.n°55PINKERTON Kenneth Ryan *
MONDRAKER FACTORY RACING
32.906 (14)
+0.626
1:18.053 (18)
+1.987
1:57.170 (18)
+3.759
2:44.316 (25)
+11.746
3:19.316
+13.793
25.n°45A’HERN Kye
KENDA NS BIKES UR TEAM
33.877 (24)
+1.597
1:19.310 (23)
+3.244
1:57.769 (21)
+4.358
2:39.002 (19)
+6.432
3:20.693
+15.170
26.n°42WILSON Reece
TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY
34.420 (26)
+2.140
1:21.427 (27)
+5.361
2:01.150 (27)
+7.739
2:44.457 (26)
+11.887
3:20.809
+15.286
27.n°50DAVIS Oliver *
SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE
33.124 (17)
+0.844
1:17.941 (17)
+1.875
1:57.778 (22)
+4.367
2:46.240 (27)
+13.670
3:20.943
+15.420
28.n°74REVELLI Loris
45.998 (30)
+13.718
1:32.536 (29)
+16.470
2:13.073 (29)
+19.662
2:57.342 (29)
+24.772
3:32.667
+27.144
29.n°88PIERRON Antoine
COMMENCAL ICSTUDIO
34.675 (28)
+2.395
1:20.562 (26)
+4.496
1:59.199 (26)
+5.788
2:55.402 (28)
+22.832
3:33.146
+27.623
30.n°27MEIER-SMITH Remy *
GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD TEAM – DH
41.525 (29)
+9.245
2:14.802 (30)
+58.736
2:54.475 (30)
+1:01.064
3:39.488 (30)
+1:06.918
4:20.267
+1:14.744
n°40HARTENSTERN Max
CUBE FACTORY RACING
DNS
n°47KIEFER Henri *
CANYON CLLCTV PIRELLI
DNS

Race reports and photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports:

HÖLL AND BRUNI DOMINATE DOWNHILL FINALS SUNDAY IN SAALFELDEN LEOGANG – SALZBURGERLAND

Women’s and men’s UCI Downhill World Cup finals go to form as hot favourites Valentina Höll (YT Mob) and Loïc Bruni (Specialized Gravity) lived up to self-set expectations in Saalfelden Leogang – Salzburgerland. The final riders to go in their respective races, thanks to semi-final successes, both executed near flawless runs to each take their second wins of the season.

After a torrential storm hit Saalfelden Leogang – Salzburgerland overnight, the finals would present different challenges and oblige different approaches to the semi-final. The conditions did not put off the spectators, however. 20,000 fans turned out to watch across the entirely weekend.

In the women’s final, Mille Johnset (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team) was first onto a drying but still somewhat treacherous track. The Norwegian picked her lines well in the early sections, only to lose her rear wheel and go down briefly in the later wooded section, three minutes into her run. She was nevertheless able to quickly remount, crossing the line to set a solid benchmark time of 3’47.9.

Following Johnset down was Louise-Anna Ferguson (Intense Factory Racing) whose more cautious approach cost her precious seconds, and prevented her from taking the lead.

Third down the ramp and straight into the hotseat was French rider Myriam Nicole (Commencal / Muc Off by Riding Addiction.) Nicole held nothing back to give herself every chance of landing on the eventual podium. Having made the most of the faster sections, she flew across the line 5.6 seconds faster than Johnset.

After suffering a crash in Saturday’s semi-final Camille Balanche (Dorval Am Commencal) opted not to participate in Sunday’s final.

That made Nina Hoffmann (Santa Cruz Syndicate) the seventh rider to start, but lost around 10 seconds by hitting the deck on a relatively easy grassed section. She then struggled to regain momentum, falling further back, only to go down a second time in the trees.

New Zealander Jess Blewitt (Cube Factory Racing) started quick and only got quicker, gaining two seconds in the third sector. As she was looking likely to dislodge Nicole from top spot, tragedy struck as her front wheel hit a hole between the trees.

Could Tahnee Seagrave (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team) challenge Nicole’s supremacy? The early indications were positive as the British rider got everything right in the top section. She lost a few tenths mid-way through the run but gained whole seconds in the

next split. Into the woods her dreams of victory also came crashing down as, opting for a riskier high line, she and her bike parted company. Despite the drama she came away largely uninjured and was at least able to set a time.

As Anna Newkirk (Beyond Racing) left the gate, Nicole knew she was guaranteed at least a podium. Newkirk rode with eyes wide open all the way, keeping it upright and rolling all the way where others before had lost momentum. Though behind for most of her run, she remained in touch with the race lead and was 0.8 seconds up at the final split. Through the final turns the American lost none of her composure and barely a fraction of time, coming home to take the lead.

With one rider left, the provisional podium was Newkirk, Nicole, Baumann.

UCI World Champion and home favourite Valentina Höll (YT Mob) was the only rider left who could deny Newkirk the victory. The Austrian honoured the rainbow stripes with a stylish, rapid first half of the run. The only rider to clear the double early jumps, she approached the wall ride with a massive three seconds in hand. At that point all she really had to do was get down, but she wasn’t content with simply taking the win. Precise drop-ins and impeccable handling gained her even more on those lower parts of the course that had frustrated several rivals. The Austrian fans erupted as Höll crossed the line to take the victory by an enormous 7 seconds.

Despite the dominant way in which she secured her second victory of 2024, Höll said afterwards that the course was anything but straightforward:

“I don’t think anyone expected Leogang to be that technical, she said. “All the riders were complaining it was too easy but man, this track is not easy at all. It’s so rough and hard to find a fine line. I’m just happy to secure it at home. I love it.”

BRUNI THE BEST SAVED TILL LAST

In classy new kit Greg Williamson (Madison Saracen Factory Team) got the larger men’s elite field underway at 3pm on the dot.

The British rider charged down the higher part of the course, staying low along the motorway section and maintaining his speed. He came into the woods hot, attacking the roots and mud without missing a trick. Just as he was looking to set a strong benchmark he fell victim to a rear flat and could only nurse his bike down to the finish for a much slower time than his performance had deserved.

Jakob Jewitt (Pivot Factory Racing) then was tasked with putting in the first true time, but his first four splits found him four seconds down on Williamson, showing just how fast the Brit had been going. Despite the mechanical, Jewitt could not go quicker, and missed out on top spot by 0.1 seconds.

Antoine Perrin (Commencal Icstudio) was the first of the men’s elite finalists to take a tumble, in the mid-section of the course that has seen so many caught out over the weekend. 16 seconds down at the fourth split that was his deficit at the finish.

Loris Revelli dropped in but got caught out in the same off-camber grass section as Nina Hoffmann. He did a better job of recovering but was never able to claw himself into contention. Straight after Revelli, Remy Meier-Smith (Giant Factory Off-Road Team-DH) suffered a near identical fall in the same spot.

Having looked as if he might threaten the lead Oliver Davis (Santa Cruz Syndicate) saw his challenge disintegrate on a root.

It took first year elite Bodhi Kuhn (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) to finally dislodge Williamson from the hotseat. The Canadian took an aggressive approach to his run but seemed to be taking big risks. White knuckling his ride, Kuhn at points seemed to be hanging on more than he was in control. Despite kissing a root himself, he kept it up and went quickest by three tenths of a second.

Tenth rider out Joe Breeden (Intense Factory Racing) rode the first three sections smoothly, entering the woods very much in touch with the lead. In the biggest gear he had he laid it down on the final part of the course to go quickest by almost 1.5 seconds.

Kye A’hern (Kenda NS Bikes UR Team) was flying until he literally hit the final timing gate, a fall which took him from 1.5 up to six seconds behind at the finish.

Jordan Williams (Specialized Gravity) negotiated the trickiest early sections nicely and only got quicker. The Briton was 2.3 up at split four, eventually crossing the line in 3’13.08 to announce himself as the latest rider into the hotseat.

UCI World Champion Charlie Hatton (Atherton Racing) needed a result. A little rough and ready, Hatton was behind throughout his run but in touch, stopping the penultimate timing point with 0.5 seconds still to make up. He couldn’t do it, but managed enough to put himself onto the provisional podium and what would end up 18th on the day.

A DNS from Cube Factory Racing’s Max Hartenstern meant Lachlan Stevens-McNab had an extra-long wait in the start gate. That didn’t dampen his commitment, as the Kiwi was already almost a second up at the first split. Fast over the stumps and into the motorway he was close to doubling his lead and going long on the jumps, hitting the fastest speeds of the whole day.

Flirting with the limits and full gas, Stevens-McNab had three seconds at the final split, gaining another 1.5 to go quickest with a 3’08.6. Whether it would hold up for a podium or even the win seemed to depend on how much the course would dry over the weekend’s final hour of racing.

British National Champion Matt Walker (Madison Saracen Factory Team) was fastest in the first two sections but made a few small mistakes in the middle of the course before a few bigger ones cost him speed and time where the course got rocky and rooty. Though able to keep it upright, he was evidently frustrated at having not made more from the effort.

Austrian home rider Andreas Kolb (Continental Atherton) kept calm as the crowd around him brought the noise. A solid first half and a steady second meant there was nothing in it with a couple of corners to go but even the Austrian support was not enough for him to go into the lead.

As he had opted out of the qualifiers with a hand injury and the semi-finals the final was the first chance of the weekend to see Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity) put down a run. The Canadian rode strong and low, making the most of every opportunity to pick up speed. was up for most of the run and made it to sector four a second to the good. He crossed the line to claim the hotseat by 0.7 seconds from Stevens-McNab.

With the top ten riders left to hit the course the provisional podium was: Isles, Stevens-McNab, Benoît Coulanges (Dorval AM Commencal.)

In his hot pink uniform, Loris Vergier (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) rode an easy, almost flawless run, but one that was not sufficiently aggressive to put him right among the top times. A slip in the lower third of the course took him out of it completely, and as he failed for most of a minute to get clipped back in, he would have been happy enough just to finish in one piece.

Ireland’s Ronan Dunne (Mondraker Factory Racing) was more inclined to take risks, too many perhaps, as he nearly lost it completely over the stumps in the opening minute. Dunne recovered well but had to dig deep to restore lost speed. He had slipped from 5th to 12th by third split before crossing in a respectable 8th place.

Into the final riders, and YT Mob’s Oisin O’Callaghan took time to settle into his run and find his flow. The young Irishman seemed to struggle with oversteer early on. Two seconds down in the middle sectors he was able to halve that deficit by split four, ultimately stopping the clock 3:08.75 which was good enough for third.

Despite making no notable errors, Troy Brosnan (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team) was unable to trouble the top places, which meant there were only two competitors remaining who might deny Iles the win. Of them Brosnan’s team-mate Luca Shaw was fast, even briefly fastest, but a small mistake on the corner that had caught out so many riders cost him over a second and left him in 6th place.

Then came the headline act, Loïc Bruni (Specialized Gravity.) If time could be found on the course, it seemed likely the five-time UCI World Champion would find it. Riding in the driest conditions of anyone, Bruni rode lightly and was already into the lead at the first split. He briefly relinquished that advantage but reached the steepest section of the course 0.6 seconds to the good. With his heart rate clearing 170 the Frenchman picked the perfect places to push, and knew when to be patient. He had gained another second on Iles by the fourth timecheck.

Just a few turns to go Bruni was in complete control, as he soared over the last jump and crossed the line in 3’05.5 – more than two seconds quicker than anyone on the day.

“I really thought I didn’t have it today,” said Bruni afterwards.

“The conditions changed so much today compared to yesterday which was more my style. I tried everything I had – I was betting on the track drying up a bit. I was glad to start last. I pushed so much and made little mistakes at the top…. I finally got going after the motorway.”

Three rounds and a 100% record of podiums sees Bruni 320 points clear of Luca Shaw at the top of the overall standings. Finn Isles is in third on 647 points.

STANDINGS AFTER THE UCI DOWNHILL WORLD CUP ROUND IN LEOGANG:


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Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

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