Select Page

Another week, another race and for the first time this year we had a fully dry weekend. Blown out ruts, deep dust and dappled light provided their own challenges and grip was once again in short supply as a number of riders ended up going down in practice and racing. Let’s take a look through the numbers to see who dealt with the challenges of Leogang the best:

The Track

Leogang had a few taping changes designed to slow the track down and increase the technicality this year. It worked too as Bruni’s winning time was six seconds slower than Pierron’s winning time from last year but times were actually closer between the racers with 10 seconds separating the top 45 men this time compared to 42 in 2018. The time spread of the top ten was also smaller in both the men’s and women’s races this year too.

Unlike Fort William’s uneven splits, Leogang returns us to a more sensible spread with five sectors roughly between 30 and 50 seconds long.

Sector 1 From the start gate, through the top cambers and corners down to just after the first tunnel.
Men ≈ 50 seconds, Women ≈ 55 seconds

Sector 2 Through the stump sections down to the motorway.
Men ≈ 40 seconds, Women ≈ 45 seconds

Sector 3 The full motorway. The speed clock is also taken on split 3.
Men ≈ 38 seconds, Women ≈ 45 seconds

Sector 4 Around both the wallrides and through the Roots of Asitz timed section.
Men ≈ 40 seconds, Women ≈ 48 seconds

Sector 5 Down the Stair of Contrast section and dropping into the finish area.
Men ≈ 30 seconds, Women ≈ 35 seconds

Men

Unlike Amaury Pierron’s show of force in Fort William, it was Loic’s consistency that won him the race this weekend. Loic didn’t actually go fastest in a single sector of the race track but he was in the top five of each one, always nipping at the heels of whoever was fastest.

Each sector was won by a different rider with two of the sector winners not even appearing on the podium at all. Is this an indication that this Leogang track challenged a wide variety of skill sets in its different sectors, or did the blown out, dusty conditions make putting together a really strong run tough for everyone? Let’s take a look at the splits to see where the race was won and lost.

Sector 1
From the start gate, through the top cambers and corners down to just after the first tunnel.

Just as in Maribor, Danny Hart gets off to a flier and wins the first sector. Brosnan and Bruni are separated just 0.02 and will stick to each other like glue for large parts of this race. Gwin and Minnaar round out the podium spots at this point and are also really close together, split by just 0.05. Jure Zabjek leads out the rest of the field at this point.

A lot of riders that end up with strong results have tough first sectors here in Leogang. Amaury Pierron gets 22nd, Luca Shaw gets 24th, Mark Wallace gets 25th and Florent Payet gets 38th but all of them will end up in the top 20 at the bottom of the mountain.

Sector 2
Through the stump sections down to the motorway.

After unremarkable starts, Fearon and Williamson sit on top of the time sheet in this section. Both riders have had their best ever results on this track so it’s no surprise to see them both high in the time sheets again. Bruni doesn’t lose too much time and once again he’s tagged closely by Brosnan, just 0.05 separates them in this sector. Hart, who went fastest in the first split, struggles here and loses almost a second. It looks in the live feed like he got caught up in a pole in the final stump section, is this where he lost the time? Jure Zabjek, who was 6th after the first sector, goes 37th on this sector, losing 1.5 seconds.

Hart slips from 1st to 3rd and Bruni takes the driving seat with Brosnan still less than a tenth behind. Fearon (9th-3rd) and Williamson (20th-8th) take huge strides forward after winning the sector. Zabjek also slips back to 12th after a great start.

Sector 3
The full motorway. The speed clock is also taken on split 3.

Bruni records his weakest split but he still goes fifth fastest, which only shows how consistent his run was. This time it is Pierron’s turn to take the sector win as he pumped and popped fastest down the motorway, he was also fastest down there in qualifying too. Jure Zabjek’s topsy-turvy afternoon continues as he winds up second in this split. Pierron and Zabjek have a bit of a gap back to Vergier who leads out the rest of the field.

Bruni and Brosnan are clearly out front at this point and have a 0.5 second lead over the rest of the field after 2 minutes of racing. Minnaar leads up the rest of the podium contenders who are split by a quarter of a second as they get ready to fire into the woods. After winning the split, Pierron moves up to 8th – he’s moved up 14 places in the last 2 splits and is starting to look like a real podium threat. After reaching his highest point of the race last split, Fearon slips back again after going 56th fastest down the motorway.



Speed Trap

The speed trap is taken exactly on the beat of split three. Here’s how the riders stacked up flying into the wallrides:



Sector 4
Around both the wallrides and through the Roots of Asitz timed section.

What a split for the Syndicate! Minnaar goes fastest with Loris 2nd and Luca 6th. Bernard Kerr starts to find his feet here and wins the Red Bull timed section after a crash further up the track. He was the only rider to take the ‘Cathro line’ and it makes me wonder what could have been as he was riding seriously fast all weekend.

This is Brosnan’s worst split by a long way and potentially where he threw away a chance for the win as he loses a second to Bruni.

Roots of Asitz Red Bull key section

Kerr 16.150
Hart +0.293
Vergier +0.320
Minnaar +0.391
Bruni +0.426

Brosnan slips from second to fourth and Minnaar now takes up the chase of Bruni, just a quarter of a second back. Vergier also slips in front of the Aussie but a disaster on the bridge means we won’t see a real battle for the third spot between these two. Hart leads out the rest of the field but he’s got a charging Pierron on his tail who has gained another 2 spots in sector 4.

Sector 5
Down the Stair of Contrast section and dropping into the finish area.

Brosnan makes up for his last split with a furious charge to the line. He takes it by less than 0.02 from Charlie Harrison with Bruni less than a tenth back. Minnaar talks about braking in the last tech section, which he reckons may have cost him the win, but he’s still only 0.16 back and secures his podium spot. This is where Vergier slid out and throws away a podium in the process.

Bruni takes his second win of the season with Greg Minnaar back on the podium for the first time in nearly two years. Brosnan is third and holds onto his leader’s jersey by a gnat’s whisker. There’s a significant gap back from these three to the rest of the field, which is led out by Hart and Gwin. Despite crashing, Vergier still picks up 19th.



Women

Hannah and Hoffmann wrapped up all the splits in the women’s race with Nina going faster through the middle portion of the track and Tracey starting and finishing strongest. Tracey was never far off the pace though and her finishing time was less than a second off the ‘perfect lap’ time.

A combination of injuries and race run crashes meant a lot of the usual women’s favourites were didn’t feature this round and we saw another new face on the podium for the second successive race in Kate Weatherly.

Sector 1
From the start gate, through the top cambers and corners down to just after the first tunnel.

Tracey Hannah is fastest from the start gate and she bounds into an early lead of nearly a second over Marine Cabirou. Hoffman is not too far behind in third with Weatherly and Widmann battling for fourth and fifth. This is where Rachel Atherton goes down and although she will go on to post some good split times further down, her race is effectively over as she loses more than 20 seconds.

Sector 2
Through the stump sections down to the motorway.

Sector 2 is the tightest of the race and Hannah just beats Atherton by less than 0.2 with Cabirou not far back either. Raphaela Richter, who is normally an EWS rider but was taking on her first World Cup in Leogang, has her best split of the race in fifth.

Hannah, Cabirou and Hoffman have already set themselves apart from the rest of the field after just 100 seconds of racing. Raphaela Richter’s great second split see her leap frog Widmann and Weatherly to hold fourth at this point.

Sector 3
The full motorway. The speed clock is also taken on split 3.

Nina Hoffman goes fastest down the motorway and takes her first split of the day. Tracey Hannah is right on her tail and limits her losses to 0.2 seconds. After a great performance on the motorway in Fort William, Kate Weatherly’s strong jumping pushes her into third place here, beating Rachel by 0.05.

Hoffmann almost overtakes Cabirou in this section but the Frenchwoman just holds on by less than a tenth. Kate Weatherly moves back up into fourth and has put some daylight between herself and the rest of the chasing field.



Speed Trap

The speed trap is taken exactly on the beat of split three. Here’s how the riders stacked up flying into the wallrides:



Sector 4
Around both the wallrides and through the Roots of Asitz timed section.

Sector 4 sees another win for Hoffmann with Marine Cabirou 0.2 back. Tracey has her worst split of the day but is still third and only 0.6 back. By contrast, Emilie Siegenthaler has her best split of the day despite racing fully strapped up and on painkillers from her crash in Fort William.

Roots of Asitz Red Bull key section

Hoffmann – 19.522
Cabirou +0.087
Hannah +0.579
Atherton +0.770
Siegenthaler +0.945

Tracey’s lead has now been cut to just 1.3 but with about 30 seconds of racing to go, the win is pretty much in the bag at this point. It looks like it will be a straight fight between Cabirou and Hoffmann for second at this point but disaster is about to strike.

Sector 5
Down the Stair of Contrast section and dropping into the finish area.

.
Cabirou washes out coming out of the Stairs of Contrast and watches her second place hopes slip away within sight of the line. Tracey Hannah takes the section comfortably with Hoffmann 1.1 in arrears, just ahead of Atherton. Sian A’Hern finishes strongly with the fifth fastest time.

Hannah takes the win! Cabirou recovers quickly form her spill and only loses one place, dropping to fourth behind Weatherly, who takes a best ever third place. Sian A’Hern sneaks into the top ten in the last few metres of the track.
https://www.pinkbike.com/news/nerding-out-leogang-world-cup-2019.html?trk=rss