Team Wideopenmag’s commander in chief Big Dave Konstanz brings you his preview for this weekend’s third round of the World Cup in Leogang, Austria.
166 hours after the end of finals in Fort William will signal the start of round 3 of the world cup series, this time at the now long-standing venue of Leogang, Austria.
Leogang has hosted a World Cup or World Championships every year since 2010 and despite having one of the tamer tracks on the circuit, it never fails to have a highlight every year.
The track itself is made up of a mix of man-made bike park along with some natural sections that have got rougher and rougher every year. They always put in something new to catch out the riders, who can remember last year when they put in the 90-degree right hander almost immediately after the start gate into a slippery and ultimately gnarly off camber before re-joining the track further down, cutting out the first man-made part of the track, more of this please.
Who went well last year?
Last year, was round 2 of the Pierron show. He had taken the win at Fort William and then backed it up with a further two wins, the first of which was at Leogang. We all know the result that he got at Fort William on the weekend, could we see a repeat of that this year, I certainly wouldn’t bet against it.
Gwin put in a great ride last year to take second place. You could argue that this wasn’t up to his usual Leogang form, having won here three times before, but don’t forget that he had crashed in the woods at Fort William last year and hurt his thumb. So if you take this into consideration, it was a pretty remarkable ride. After his absolutely spectacular off at Fort Bill, we are hoping that he hasn’t jacked up his ankle anymore again and that we see him in the start hut on Sunday.
Troy Brosnan. The silent assassin from down under. It’s easy to overlook Troy when thinking about overalls and who is going to win. He’s not the most flamboyant rider, just goes about his business over a race weekend, but he is Mr consistent over a season. With a 4th place last year at Leogang and now with the number one plate and the leaders jersey after two top three results this season, he’s certainly one that could deliver the top step result on Sunday.
The biggest controversy of perhaps the 2018 season came in the womens at Leogang. Tahnee was on a flyer, fastest qualifier and looking to back up her win from Fort William. She took an unfortunate expedition off track, entering back on the track after the section that she had exited resulting in a disqualification that ultimately cost her the championship.
Sadly, she took a big digger at Fort Bill and probably needs surgery on a separated shoulder, so we won’t see her get her redemption of the track this year.
Rachel took the win last year and followed it up with a further two wins and the championship, but it could be argued that Leogang was the turning point in the championship for her. With a win in Fort Bill aboard her Atherton Bikes prototype, you can guarantee that she wants to back that up this weekend.
Who is injured post Fort William?
With a combination of bad weather and a rough gnarly track at Fort William, there are a number of casualties on the list this weekend at Leogang. Here’s hoping that most of them will be on the start list come Sunday.
Sam Dale and Tahnee Seagrave will both be out with a fairly nasty collarbone injury apiece. Sam snapped his, while Tahnee’s is a more complicated separation.
Everyone else that featured in our Fails of Fort William crash round-up will be a little less bruised and raring to go come Friday.
Who do we think is going to win?
Pierron, Gwin, Hart
Atherton, Cabirou, Hannah
Bruni, Pierron, Vergier
Atherton, Hannah, Widmann
Vergier, Pierron, Gwin
Rachel, Tracey, Cabirou
Pierron, Gwin, Brosnan
Atherton, Hannah, Caribou