Lecomte (FRA) and Flueckiger (SUI) put on Cross-Country Short Track Workshop, Brosnan (AUS) and Höll (AUT) speed through DH Qualifying

Friday, 11.06.2021

Lecomte (FRA) and Flueckiger (SUI) put on Cross-Country Short Track Workshop, Brosnan (AUS) and Höll (AUT) speed through DH Qualifying

The first day of UCI Mountain Bike World Cup racing in Leogang is in the books...

Changing weather and track conditions made for a day of exciting racing in both Cross-Country Short Track (XCC) and Downhill, during which both World Cup veterans and an array of young guns got their chance to shine. 

Loana Lecomte (FRA) has established herself as the new woman to beat. Just this season, she’s already picked up multiple wins at the previous World Cup races and secured her first XCC win in Leogang with a dominating performance, leading the race for 6 out of 7 laps. Austria’s Laura Stigger tried to open up a gap by going full speed right from the start, but was overtaken by Lecomte, Rebecca McConnell (AUS) and Jolanda Neff (SUI) before the second lap was over. 

For the remainder of the race, it was a battle for second. First it was McConnell that unleashed an attack, followed by Neff. Both tried to get within striking distance of the young French phenom, but the early lead built up by Lecomte would prove too much to overcome. In a scrap for second place, riders would often meet elbow to elbow in a clash for valuable points. The Australian was able to hold off Neff’s attack in the final lap, securing second place and picking up another 2021 podium. 

“I’m very happy. It’s a hard track, it’s very different, but it’s good. Pauline and I were talking on the start line before the race and decided we weren’t going to go all out in the first lap because that would be extremely hard – to go all out and then keep the pace,” said Lecomte, catching her breath after a dominating performance. 

Hot on the heels of the Women Elite racing, the men took to the track, with the battle for first place wide open from the start. Cooper (NZL) came out of the gate with blistering speed and tried to build an early lead, but the chaser pack made up of Mathias Flueckiger (SUI), Ondrej Cink (CZE) and Jordan Sarrou (FRA) would not let the Kiwi get away, chipping away at Cooper’s lead.

Flueckiger caught up and snatched the lead for two laps, but Cink unleashed a mid-race attack and set the pace for the next four laps, with the Swiss rider in hot pursuit. The two were bike-to-bike heading into the final lap, but not for long. The Swiss machine hit hard with a blistering attack on the long climb, managing to put a gap between himself and the Czech pursuer, holding onto his lead to secure his first-ever XCC win. 

Milan Vader (NED) would need to wait until the very last lap to put in his bid for a bronze medal, but a strong showing of his skills would prove enough to put him ahead of both Sarrou and Cooper. 

“I didn’t expect it, but I’m pretty happy. This track here suits me very well with the long climb. I knew I had to stay on Ondrej’s wheel in the second-to-last lap so that I could try and catch him in the final lap and it worked out,” said an exstatic Flueckiger after the race. 

Men Elite XCC Top 3:
1.    Mathias Flueckiger (SUI) – 20:43
2.    Ondrej Cink (CZE) – 20:48 (+5)
3.    Milan Vader (NED) – 20:59 (+16)

Women Elite XCC Top 3:
1.    Loana Lecomte (FRA) -21:10
2.    Rebecca McConnell (AUS) – 21:14 (+4)
3.    Jolanda Neff (SUI) – 21:21 (+11)

Cross-Country action continues on Sunday, June 13, with the Women Elite on-track at 12:20 CEST, before the Men Elite close out the double World Cup at 14:50. Catch all of the action LIVE on Red Bull TV. 
Downhill season kicks off in Leogang with action-packed qualifying round
In an unusually late start to the Downhill World Cup season, the world’s best riders showed that they haven’t missed a step and used the prolonged offseason for some hard work on and off the bike. 

After missing out on racing on her home turf during last year’s World Champs, Vali Höll (AUT) went fastest of the day in Women Elite. Höll has always been been one of the favorites for a Leogang win, and this year is no different. The young Austrian put a significant gap of over 2 seconds between her and second-place qualifier Myriam Nicole (FRA). who in turn held off fellow Frenchie Marine Cabirou, who was over 5 seconds slower than Nicole. 

Troy Brosnan, who seemingly found the best line through the lower section in the woods, was the first to put in a time under 3:35 with 3:34.139, over 6.7 seconds faster than his closest rival, Danny Hart (GBR) showed he’s still got what it takes when it comes to riding in the mud. Managing to get through the woods relatively unscatched, Hart gained just over half a second on Thibaut Daprela (FRA), who finished third, put in an extremely strong top section and was sitting in first place until he entered the woods, where he struggled.  
Right now, the big question is what the weather will do to the track overnight before finals take place tomorrow. Will the rain stay away? Downhill Elite action kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, June 12 at 12:30pm CEST with the Women and is followed by the Men at 13:30, all live on Red Bull TV. 

Men Elite DH Top 3 Qualifying:
1.    Troy Brosnan (AUS) – 3:34.139
2.    Danny Hart (GBR) – 3:40.873 (+6.734)
3.    Thibaut Daprela (FRA) – 3:41.068 (+6.929)

Women Elite DH Top 3 Qualifying:
1.    Valentina Höll (AUT) – 4:16.824
2.    Myriam Nicole (FRA) – 4:19.058 (+2.234)
3.    Marine Cabirou (FRA) – 4:24.794 (+7.970)