Thrilling races and good times

Tuesday, 11.06.2024

Thrilling races and good times

WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Saalfelden Leogang 2024 once again a complete success

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Saalfelden Leogang has become a fixture in the race calendar over the years. The WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series 2024 last weekend can also be considered a complete success. Breathtaking gravity races, exciting side events, satisfied teams and athletes, and a happy crowd confirmed this impressively. 

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Saalfelden Leogang stands for spectacular action. This year, a total of 685 athletes gathered in Austria’s largest bike-region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn to compete in three disciplines across 16 categories, collect World Cup points, and crown winners. They were supported by 250 volunteers and over 20,000 spectators who loudly cheered them on.

“We have been giving our all for years to create something great here in Saalfelden Leogang for the fans, riders, and race teams. We are very proud that this year’s World Cup event turned out to be great once again and that all the hard work beforehand paid off. 20,000 mountain bike addicted fans speak for themselves. It’s really excellent, but it wouldn’t be possible without the tireless efforts of the entire team and countless volunteers. Thanks to everyone who made the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Saalfelden Leogang an unforgettable experience once again.” – Marco Pointner, Managing Director of Saalfelden Leogang Touristik GmbH

“We experienced breathtaking mountain bike action again last weekend, with incredibly close decisions, glorious winners, and tragic heroes. You couldn’t wish for more. The biggest challenge was certainly the one we had the least control over – the weather. But even that turned out to be no problem. It’s well known that we can handle downhill in Leogang, but we are also happy about the positive feedback for hosting the Enduro World Cups. Vali defending her win from last year made this great weekend even better.” – Kornel Grundner, Managing Director of Leoganger Bergbahnen GmbH

The kickoff this year was made by the enduro riders in their second World Cup season who determined the UCI World Cup winners in six stages on Friday, before the riders in the e-assisted category battled it out over nine stages on Saturday. They had to cope not only with the competition but also with the difficult, but mostly dry weather conditions. While favorites like Isabeau Courdurier and Richie Rude in Enduro, and Florencia Espiñeira Herreros in E-Enduro prevailed, mountain bike legend Martin Maes broke the pattern and won the men’s E-Enduro race against Ryan Gilchrist and Manuel Soares José Borges.

A day later, the favorites struck again. Especially the old and new Leogang World Cup winner Vali Höll sent both local and visiting downhill fans into ecstasy. The local heroine from the neighboring village of Saalbach defended her home victory from last year with an incredible seven-second lead and then deservedly celebrated with the crowd. However, fans had to forgo an Austrian double World Cup victory this year: While the World Cup leader Loic Bruni stormed to his next World Cup win, the second local hero, Andi Kolb, finished in sixth, narrowly missing the podium, but still enjoyed the support of the fans:
“It definitely could have been better. But things can’t always go well. Next year there will be less pressure, then it will work out again. But Leogang with my fan club, my family, and all the fans is just awesome. It’ heartwarming!” – Andi Kolb

Laurent Delorme, head of SPECIALIZED GRAVITY, whose team took the top two spots in the elite category with Bruni and Finn Iles, was also full of praise for the fans and organizers: 
“Saalfelden Leogang has really stepped it up in recent years. Not only a crazy crowd supporting the Austrian riders like Valentina and Andi, but also a really positive and passionate energy. The place is so beautiful and the weather is always crucial. Well done, Leogang, you bring magic and we love racing there.” – Laurent Delorme, SPECIALIZED GRAVITY 

Almost as impressive as the UCI World Cup races in Saalfelden Leogang were the numerous side events. Warm-up events, after-parties, signing sessions, and concerts made the event a special experience. The Flying Bulls team with stunt pilot Dario Costa was there again this year, providing a spectacular show.

The Team & Expo Area offered visitors many other experiences. Renowned exhibitors presented the latest innovations in the mountain bike world. Austria’s largest bike-region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn, and the Skicircus were also represented with a booth and already hinted at another highlight event in the region: the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships Saalbach 2025 in the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn.

Saalfelden Leogang is already looking forward towards their next mountain bike highlight: The BIKE Festival Saalfelden Leogang from 13-15 September 2024.