The final runs of the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup stop topped off a legendary Out of Bounds festival in Bikepark Leogang. Bright sunshine accompanied the victories of Manon Carpenter and her fellow countryman from England Josh Bryceland, who celebrated his first world cup win ever. French Pierron Amaury took the win in the junior’s category.
Times on the official UCI leader boards reflected the fast and flowy characteristics of the 3.1 kilometer long world cup track in Leogang: only 2 seconds separated the top 5. The track is called the “Speedster” for a reason. Precious split-seconds were no where to be found on the highspeed-passages. The real battle took place in the more technical parts like “Steinberg Rocks” and “Roots of Asitz”.
The track in Leogang best fit the young Brit Josh “Ratboy” Bryceland. He celebrated his first ever UCI World Cup victory with a flawless run in front of 11,000 spectators. His honest comment says it all: “I actually always do the same – ride down the hill as fast as I can. Sometimes it works good, sometimes not. Last weekend in Fort William was similar, besides the fact that I got 26th.
This is a week to celebrate.” Before Bryceland put down his winning run, several favorites hit trouble on the track. Gee Atherton (GBR) didn’t have a great day and crossed the line in 12th place. Last year’s world cup overall winner Steve Smith (CAN) left Saalfelden Leogang after several time-consuming mistakes, resulting in an 11th place finish. Despite falling out of the top 10, Aaron Gwin was the unspoken hero of the day. Looking fast up top, he caught a flat tire and road out the course with a textbook-like run. His determination was rewarded by the roars of the amazed spectators.
Reigning World Champion Greg Minnaar spent a long time in the hot seat and was only pushed down by Bryceland. Another victim of the Speedster was French rider Loic Bruni. After qualifying first on Saturday, the former junior World Champion in Leogang had high hopes for the top spot. It all looked set for a French win after the first split. Sadly, Bruni had to burry all his ambitions in the last root section, when he went down. Completing the podium behind Bryceland and Minnaar was Fort William world cup winner Troy Brosnan, who also took over the lead in the overall world cup.
Here are the top 10 men riders:
Bryceland Josh (GBR), 3:18.749 (0:00)
Minnaar Greg (RSA), 3:20.024 (+1.275)
Brosnan Troy (AUS), 3:20.033 (+1.284)
MacDonald Brook (NZL), 3:20.049 (+1.300)
Branningan George (NZL), 3:20.683 (+1.934)
Simmonds Matthew (GBR), 3:20.951 (+2.202)
Hart Danny (GBR), 3:21.060 (+2.311)
Neethling Andrew (RSA), 3:21.247 (+2.498)
Fearon Connor (AUS), 3:21.367 (+2.618)
Hill Samuel (AUS), 3:21.654 (+2.905)
This is the current UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup standings Men Elite (Top 5):
Brosnan, Troy (AUS), 634 pts
Gwin, Aaron (USA), 605 pts
Bryceland, Josh (GBR), 547 pts
Atherton, Gee (GBR), 521 pts
Hill, Samuel (AUS), 478 pts
History is repeating itself as France and Great Britain once again battle for glory in the women’s elite. After the qualifying, the top 5 spots were occupied by three Brits (Tahnee Seagrave, Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter) and two French athletes (Nicole Myriam and Emmeline Ragot). It was up to these five riders, to leave their mark in the grand finale. Seagrave set the first benchmark by putting over four seconds into the rest of the field. But she didn’t have time to make herself comfortable in the hot seat, because Nicole Myriam was already on track and crossed the line four seconds up.
Still missing a win in Bikepark Leogang, Rachel Atherton is not yet on the top of her game after a long-lasting illness. All her hard efforts in the middle part couldn’t recover her time after a slow start. It may not have been a winning run, but rode to the finish 1.3 seconds faster than Myriam. At this point, all eyes were on last year’s winner Emmeline Ragot, who favours Leogang’s downhill motorway and was tipped for the win. It was in the “Roots of Asitz” section, where she lost her flow and the much needed momentum to bag the win. Atherton, Ragot, Myriam lit up the leader board. Then, Manon Carpenter pedaled out of the start gate. Fastest in qualifying, she had the joker in her pocket. Battling hard to keep up with Atherton’s time in the upper part of the track, Carpenter showed real strength.
As soon as she hit the “Hollywood Section” before the last jump, it was clear that she is on the road to victory. Her aggressive riding style earned her a real speed advantage and put her 2.699 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. No need to stress that the British downhill queen was more than excited about her win: “I am so happy! The fast track in Leogang really suits me, although it was really windy in the upper part. The dry conditions and the amazing atmosphere on the track contributed to my victory. It was an awesome week, the win feels so good!”
Here are the top 10 women riders:
Carpenter Manon (GBR), 3:42.517 (0:00)
Atherton Rachel (GBR), 3:45.216 (+2,699)
Nicole Myriam (FRA), 3:36.545 (+4,028)
Ragot Emmeline (FRA), 3:46.827 (+4,310)
Seagrave Thanee (GBR), 3:50.530 (+7.936)
Kintner Jill (USA), 3:54.530 (+12.013)
Hannah Tracey (AUS), 3:56.086 (+13,569)
Gatto Micayla (CAN), 3:56.539 (+14,022)
Charre Morgane (FRA), 3:58.132 (+15,615)
Siegenthaler Emilie (SUI), 3:58.859 (+16,342)
This is the current UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup Ranking Women (Top 5):
Carpenter, Manon (GBR), 780 pts
Ragot, Emmeline (FRA), 690 pts
Nicole, Myriam (FRA), 662 pts
Atherton, Rachel (GBR), 660 pts
Hannah, Tracey (AUS), 487 pts
Here is the link to the replay of the world cup in Saalfelden Leogang: http://www.redbull.com/en/bike/stories/1331655644663/replay-uci-dh-world-cup-2014-from-leogang