UCI Enduro World Cup starts the all-gravity action in Austria before the downhill riders get their first taste of the updated track in timed training

Saturday, 08.06.2024

UCI Enduro World Cup starts the all-gravity action in Austria before the downhill riders get their first taste of the updated track in timed training

It’s gold for Isabeau Courdurier and Richie Rude here in Leogang at round three of the 2024 WHOOP UCI Enduro World Cup. Isabeau Courdurier and Richie Rude come out on top after a grueling day in the mountains.  

Round three of the 2024 WHOOP UCI Enduro World Cup would see six stages totaling 73.7km between them and the finish line in Austria's largest bike-region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. On the race stages alone, they would battle their way down a massive 2,470m of descent. The forecast rain would stay away for most of the day, but the trails were still wetter than practice making pacing tricky.

Last year’s winner, France’s Isabeau Courdurier (LAPIERRE ZIPP COLLECTIVE) would look to repeat the trick here again, but would no doubt be pushed hard all day by her series rival, Britain’s Harriet Harnden (TREK FACTORY RACING), who won the opening round and lost in Poland to Courdurier by a fraction of a second. 

Courdurier would dominate the day however, leading from start to finish, beating Harnden to the win by 37.866 seconds. Expect a year-long battle between these two great riders. France’s Morgane Charre (PIVOT FACTORY RACING) would round out the podium in third. 

We spoke to Isabeau Courdurier after the race, she said: “I'm super happy because this morning I didn't feel great on my bike, but I think it's because it was so slippery and sketchy to ride that everyone must have felt the same. I was quite surprised when I found out I was actually doing quite well. It was a bit drier in the afternoon, so I was just having so much fun. Overall, I'm super happy with my day. Two races, two wins here so it's definitely a good venue for me. I think we can say Leogang suits my riding style.” 

Harriet Harnden summed up her day: “I really enjoyed it. The trails were amazing. I just tried to find a bit of flow, with the rain we kept having, it was a tough day out, but I had a great time. Hopefully I can go a bit faster than Isabeau next time. It's exciting for everyone, having a bit of a battle so it's cool to be up there and know that I'm going pretty fast. Fingers crossed the second half of the season is just as good.”

Results EDR Women Top 5: 
1.    Isabeau Courdurier (FRA | LAPIERRE ZIPP COLLECTIVE) 29:02:748
2.    Harriet Harnden (TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) 29:40:614
3.    Morgane Charre (PIVOT FACTORY RACING) 29:42:602
4.    Ella Conolly (GBR) 30:10:178
5.    Rebecca Baraona (GBR) 30:21:084

Results EDR Women Top 5 Overall: 
1.    Isabeau Courdurier (FRA | LAPIERRE ZIPP COLLECTIVE) 1405 Pts.
2.    Harriet Harnden (GBR | TREK FACTORY RACING GRAVITY) 1332 Pts.
3.    Ella Conolly (GBR) 1024 Pts.
4.    Morgane Charre (FRA | PIVOT FACTORY RACING) 1012 Pts.
5.    Mélanie Pugin (FRA) 809 Pts.

Canada’s Rhys Verner (FORBIDDEN SYNTHESIS TEAM) had fond memories of Leogang having taken his maiden EDR win here in Leogang last year. He would need to fight off current series leader, New Zealand’s Charlie Murray (SPECIALIZED RACING TEAM) and the two-pronged attack from Yeti riders, American Richie Rude and Poland’s Slawomir Lukasik (both YETI/FOX RACE TEAM).

After a long day in the saddle, and a four-way fight between some of the fastest riders in the world, it would be Richie Rude that would take the win over France’s Alex Rudeau (COMMENCAL ENDURO PROJECT) and Slawomir Lukasik in second and third place respectively. The winning margin would be 7.312 seconds. 

We spoke to Richie Rude after the race: “I'm feeling great and super happy with how the season has started. I had a good race here last year in Leogang so it's nice to back it up with another good race. The weather turned out pretty good, it was wet most of the day, but the sun was out, and things dried up. A great day of racing. Next for me is the downhill World Cup at Val di Sole, so something different for me there.”

Second place Alex Rudeau said: “After a bad start to the season I feel pretty good. It's good to be on the podium here in Leogang. It's a place I really like, the mountains, the area...  The racetracks here are so technical and it was even more technical in the wet. It's perfect for me. I didn't change my plan for the weather, we had a bit of rain between stage two and three, but this kind of rain was all in your head, it didn't change the conditions. We had a big storm yesterday which changed conditions from practice so this made it hard to manage on stage one.”

Results EDR Men Top 5:
1.    Richie Rude (USA | YETI/FOX RACE TEAM) 24:52:052
2.    Alex Rudeau (FRA | COMMENCAL ENDURO PROJECT) 24:59:314
3.    Slawomir Lukasik (POL | YETI/FOX RACE TEAM) 25:06:131
4.    Kasper Woolley (CAN | YT MOB) 25:25:864
5.    Mirco Vendemmia (ITA) 25:30:113

Results EDR Men Top 5 Overall: 
1.    Richie Rude (USA | YETI FOX RACE TEAM) 1355 Pts.
2.    Charlie Murray (NZL | SPECIALIZED RACING TEAM) 1159 Pts.
3.    Slawomir Lukasik (POL | YETI FOX RACE TEAM) 1111 Pts.
5.    Alex Rudeau (FRA | COMMENCAL ENDURO PROJECT) 836 Pts.

Downhill riders take to the ‘Speedster Line’ for timed training
Now a mainstay of the UCI Downhill World Cup circuit, Leogang’s Speedster Line sees some fresh sections for 2024 but retains much of what has made it a classic downhill venue. At 2.6km long and with 468m of descent, the track is one of two halves, with bike park sections punctuated by technical wood and stump sections. 

Valentina Höll would put down the fastest time in Elite Women, coming out on top in timed training by 1.335 seconds. France’s Myriam Nicole (COMMENCAL /MUC-OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION) would take second fastest, with Colombia’s Valentina Roa Sanchez (TRANSITION FACTORY RACING) some 4.536 seconds back in third. 

Results DH Women Top 5: 
1.    Valentina Höll (AUT | YT MOB) 3:45:721
3.    Valentina Roa Sanchez (COL | TRANSITION FACTORY RACING) 3:50:25
4.    Camille Balanche (SUI | DORVAL AM COMMENCAL) 3:54:24
5.    Mille Johnset (NOR | CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM) 3:55:635

Austrian Andreas Kolb (CONTINENTAL ATHERTON) would look to back up his historic win here last year in Leogang by winning again but would need to see off World Champion and series leader in France’s Loic Bruni (SPECIALIZED GRAVITY REPUBLIC) to do so. 

Even timed training is tight in the Elite Men’s ranks these days, with the top 50 riders separated by just over 10 seconds.   
The best time in Elite Men would go to Britain’s Bernard Kerr (PIVOT FACTORY RACING) putting just 0.653 of a second into Andreas Kolb who pipped France’s Amaury Pierron (COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION) to third place.  

Results DH Men Top 5: 
1.    Bernard Kerr (GBR | PIVOT FACTORY RACING) 3:12:060
2.    Andreas Kolb (AUT | CONTINENTAL ATHERTON) 3:12:713
3.    Amaury Pierron (FRA | COMMENCAL/MUC-OFF BY RIDING ADDICTION) 3:13:250
4.    Loic Bruni (FRA | SPECIALIZED GRAVITY) 3:13:378
5.    Troy Brosnan (AUS | CANYON CLLCTV FACTORY TEAM) 3:13:873

Saturday, 8 June:
UCI E-Enduro World Cup Finals
UCI Downhill World Cup Qualifications (Juniors & Elite) 
UCI Downhill World Cup Semi Finals (Elite)
Sunday, 9 June:
UCI Downhill World Cup Finals (Junior and Elite)

Tickets for this top-class bike weekend are available online and at the box office onsite. A treat at the stand of Austria's largest bike-region Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn will be a signing session with Vali Höll and Austrian ski ace Marco Schwarz tomorrow. Daily concerts complete the World Cup experience.

For more information on the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series in Saalfelden Leogang, visit www.mtb-weltcup.at.
All those who cannot attend the thrilling action from Saalfelden Leogang onsite, can follow the final race live on different channels: Servus TV, Eurosport, Discovery+ and MAX.