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Good-Bye Boring, Hello Bitchin'. Leogang Steps It Up 25

What will we hate on now if the bike-parkiness of the Leogang World Cup DH track has been taken away? Enjoy the Vital World Cup DH Experience thanks to Sven Martin, Boris Beyer & Dan Hearn

Good-Bye Boring, Hello Bitchin'. Leogang Steps It Up

More and more often World Cup downhillers at the pointy end of the results were singing the praises of the Leogang, Austria, World Cup downhill venue. Internet lurkers, however, had perpetuated the rumor that downhill racing was eeking out its last breaths as Leogang and other boring bike park tracks leeched life from our once-gonzo activity. Who's right? Who's wrong? Did it matter if Aaron Gwin could win the race with two flat tires while riding his bike backwards? Or if Josh Bryceland could win on 26-inch wheels in the face of everyone else using 27.5?

Gwin is the most winningest racer, male or female, here and also the most recent winner. He's going to be hard to beat but there are enough track changes to level the field...perhaps.

Rider audio interviews with Vali Holl, Aaron Gwin, Amaury Pierron, Troy Brosnan, Brendan Fairclough, Sam Blenkinsop, Eddie Masters, Gee Atherton, Connor Fearon, Marcelo Gutierrez, Myriam Nicole and more.


According to the Vital YouTube channel, the first Leogang Vital RAW video of 2017 was the second-highest-viewed World Cup Vital RAW from that year, sandwiched between Andorra (#1) and Mont-Sainte-Anne (#3). That must mean Leogang was full of epic action or YouTube viewers are really strange. While it's probably the latter, Leogang must have had some kind of attention-grabbing quality, right?

The landing for the first jump is now the entry to the first off-camber corner.
Not a single tire mark on this new off-camber. We had very heavy rain this evening and we can't wait for practice tomorrow. morning!  Troy Audio
It looks like Kade is off the course. Well, he is off last year's course but he is slap-bang in the middle of this year's course. Steep, fresh, off-camber goodness.

Vali Höll getting her prize money for winning the Fort William Vital Whip contest! Stoked!

Well now, for the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup DH, Leogang is certainly grabbing our attention. Despite the gorgeous views and the first-class accommodations, Leogang was tired of being Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club and decided to become Anthony Michael Hall in War Machine. So long bike park (mostly) and hello super-nasty-off-camber-radness-that-may-be-death-in-the-rain Leogang.

The root-stump-sucker-chucker is back and it looks like it will be a legit line option this year. Charlie Hatton not afraid of a big huck. Gee is on the landing for some perspective.
Is that you Sam Hill? Danny plans his route through the final rooty section.
This new track split will leave riders divided. Slow in fast out or vice versa?

Phil Atwill, one of the most outspoken critics of the Leogang course, practiced on a hardtail last year as a hoping-to-go-viral protest, yet one of the sickest World Cup DH photos of 2017 (our opinion and some of yours) was Mr. Atwill flirting his knobs with the knuckle of a perfectly manicured, gravel-covered table top creating an orgasmic release of said gravel. How can such a boring track produce such incredible imagery? While the motorway where Phil's fabulous photo was captured is still in tact, we may not have to question such paradoxes any longer as the riders seem satiated with the course changes.  

A meal fit for Boris and ex-cons.
Percentage-wise, Sven has more female Insta followers than Gee. #blameEnduro

Loic's Stumpjumper piss-take may be the last time we see riders lash out at Leogang thanks to these new changes. There's the argument that Leogang, with the bike park sections, always made for great racing, which can't be denied. The final results in Austria were always determined by the smallest slivers of temporal measurement. There's the counter-argument, however, that if our World Cup heroes sprinted against the clock down a brick road (which sort of happened in Croatia), the racing would be exciting. True, too.

Caro Gehrig from the EWS circuit having a sniff at DH this weekend after some inspiration from Cecile Ravanel. Her switch to Norco means she finally has a DH bike to ride.
Some of the Kiwi National Junior team, out here en force prepping for World Champs, and life in general, thanks to Subway and Cycling NZ. Craig Pattle on the chaperone and coaching duties and not pictured, Josh Oxam.
Brook, Laurie and Mike in an old section with some new line options!
When you're waiting around the tunnels for certain teams to arrive, some weird ideas pop into your head. Gnarlys Angels (TM)


Let's hope the Leogang lameness debate is long gone and we can focus on Leogang's finer things like Boris' dream meal offered at one of the local dining establishments; bread, water and a cigarette for mere pocket change. Well that, and some roosty, grassy, foot-out action from a weekend of shredding! Get the inside scoops from Sven, Boris and Dan and stay tuned for another weekend of World Cup DH racing on Vital.

Remi Thirion's crash here last year was proof enough that a chicane was needed after the final fadeaway to slow riders down.

It took a while to explain Kaos, but in the end he nailed his umbrella motowhip!
I asked Blenki if he is giving a Thumbs up or Thumps down. #glovelessthumbs
Trek ladies about to be surprised by a rather abrupt right hand turn.

What do you think about the Leogang course changes?

Vital MTB Poll

Does the New Off-Camber Section Make Leogang Legit?

Lead, follow or get out of the way. This section always has traffic during track walk making lines hard to spot.

Josh Bryceland is here in spirit out in the green, just where he wants to be. Last World Cup DH won on a 26-inch bike.
Not everyone busts out fresh, brand-new tires for training when last week's only have a run or two on them. The big Ft. Bill clean up took most of the day Wednesday.
Reece fresh off a two-day drive. Neck pillow and muscles stretches mandatory. Also the most tanned Scotsman I've ever seen.
In the pits! Rest of world take note: Bio-organic vending machine stocked only with products from small farms and local businesses. Technology done right. But a hot dog from a vending machine is still a hot dog from a vending machine.

In case you forgot we are in Austria. Where ebikes and other weird things are common sight.

Looks like the Canyon Factory Team figured out where the mystery poo in the shower was coming from. See the video below.
Myriam Nicole flirting with the mountains! She is still wearing the leader's jersey and hungry for another win.
Somehow I ended up with such a serious looking Amaury Pierron shot even though he had such fun walking the track.
Do you guys remember when the man-made rock garden was new, kind of weird but also rough? A couple years later, most parts are filled up with mud and theres not much left from the ROCK garden. Connor Fearon contemplates.
Track walk day is also ride day and a chance to stretch the legs after a long couple of days traveling.
The weather predictions and fresh-cut off-camber sections might mean tire choice becomes crucial for the first time this World Cup season.
Dean Lucas has been monitored closely and been concussion tested multiple times since his big crash in Fort William. We'll see if he decides to race tomorrow.

The Vital MTB Fort-Bill-to-Leogang shuttle service was operating at maximum capacity.

Marcelo  with some original artwork from Yasmeen Green. Stoked!
Death gripping your phone is no big deal when you have big-time sponsors like Lifeproof. Especially when you are not winning money in whip off contests.
George Brannigan is stoked to be here with the team in Europe, escaping a chilly NZ. He will not be riding the big bike for a few more weeks though. He will be trackside helping the squad with lines.
Serious Selfie Game when you are double life-size and a storm is brewing.
Kiwis on tour. Cole Lucas and Matt Walker.
The unsung true heroes of the World Cup circuit. The truckies making the dash from Ft. Bill to Leogang to bring the circus to town.
iPhone Eddie on the media game time-lapsing the Pivot pits popping up on Wednesday.
Mono knows not to leave his cage until he's given permission.

I wouldn't rely on these guys for directions. When you're as big-time as Boris, total strangers print T-shirts honoring your tattoos and come find you for a photo.

Leogang is famous for its high speed sections, now with some more steeps thrown in the mix. Brakes will have to be bang-on for the start of practice tomorrow.
It's all about the passion and matching colors!
Usual routine for the mechanics In every pit, the same picture.
Out with the old in with the new!

That proud moment when you find out a bike park named a trail after you! #mongobongo

No reason for Gee Atherton to hide behind fences. Go get some Gee!
Dan said it looks like a loaf of bread, actually its just one of the fresh cuts roots in one of the new sections.
Always good times in the SRAM pits. If you need your brakes bled ask for John, he will be happy!
Specialized Gravity going to figure out of if the Stumpy is the play.

Laurie Greendland with some Street Hardtail Action!

Mille Johnset with some belated prize money from Fort William.
Memories from Fort William in the Commencal truck. Back to back World Cups means no time to visit home between races.
The Transition team checking out memories from Tahnée's first World Cup win here in 2017.
Andrew Neethling took track walk seriously to help prepare for his helmet cam run with Loic tomorrow.

Some heavy rain is predicted over the weekend which will make conditions interesting.

Leogang's mountains were looking more like Indonesia than Austria this morning.

Another day done in Leogang!

Thanks to Sven, Boris and Dan and stay tuned for more all weekend long in Austria!

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sspomer sspomer 6/7/2018 5:09 PM

25 comments newest first

I like the new format, I start the audio and scroll down... usually finish the pictures and then listen to audio in background while I work.

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Few thoughts pop into my mind:

- I think we're spoiled with the amount of difference between race courses. Tennis/soccer players etc. travel the globe only to arrive at exactly the same playing field for instance. I know it's not totally comparable, but food for thought.

- If you're complaining about the course being too easy, might as well win the race then.. (Don't get me wrong, I love seeing the pro's ride insanely difficult terrain at insane speeds, but take it as it is and smash it)

- Vital content is always top-notch and feels like coming home, that said the Slideshow is always my preferred way of following the content. Most of all just a big fat virtual high five for all the awesome content that you guys make available for us.

Now let the racing begin!

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OH, so this is how we get you guys to comment...just tweak the format hahaha. Rest assured, I'm hearing the comments and taking them all to heart. The way we did the fort william race show (one podcast audio player along w/ the slideshow player for pics and captions) seemed to be a hit. like mentioned, it offers the "one page" option, too. Returning to that is fine with me. Again, for those who've followed along, when there is a good, long audio, the slideshow really suffers when you're stalled out on one photo for 2-5 minutes as that audio plays. if you advance the photos, the audio gets cut off. it's rad that the difficulty we're having is too much good content : ) @MK_ and photos not loading unless logged in, I'll look into that. didn't know that was a problem. it shouldn't be that way.

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Thanks for the awesome coverage but please bring back the slideshow. Grab a coffee, hit play, then sit back and relax and soak up the world cup. Scrolling and reading just isn't the same.

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Is the racing awesome? No question. That's never in doubt. But the best part of Leogang is the view. And it's still a shame that this is the best track that the trail builders could come up with given the steep landscape they have to work with. One new corner doesn't make up for the fact that 90% of the track is made of kitty litter, the flat traverses suck, and the man-made tech sections have no place when legit tech is easily within reach. The course has by far the weirdest feel of any bike park I've ever ridden.

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raw from today is up. i haven't been there, so i can't say first hand but it looks pretty steep and rad to me. plenty of traversing, but the speeds seem really fast...the sounds in that whoops/rhythm are so sick -,35536/sspomer,2

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Careful what you wish for bitching like that. I can tell you what it gets you. Resort owners get tired of negative publicity by ungrateful bike riders who they really don't make much money from & decide not to put on a race.
You sound like the new generation of rider who hasn't had the distinch displeasure of riding some of the most truly difficult "tracks" you can imagine. Every single World Cup in the modern era is the stuff of infinite LEGEND compared to where this sport came from.
Mountain bikes are human powered and it's up to the human to find a way to win on whatever the course. Tracks will always vary in pitch & difficulty, but one thing you won't see is MORE venues if all you do is snivel and whine.
Even South Africa was a masterpiece of a track if you ever got to experience the roots of the sport and how far its come for us to even have a World Cup...not just a World Cup...but one on a live feed with paid commentators. Just a few short years ago, it was a nutter and a dream pilfering internet on Freecaster to even get us to REGISTER on the attention meter for real resorts & media.
That Leogang even wants to have us back just speaks to how wealthy that resort must be when it's not got DH riders there. That resort most likely loses money in hopes that they at least make up for in advertising attention in the future for the venue and community.

If they DIDN'T have a course know what course we would have the riders race on?
NOTHING. No event. Because no one else put in that bid.

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Don't jump to too many conclusions, wouldn't want you to fall off that high horse. The negative publicity is what has caused them to change their ways and actually give the riders what they want- more natural sections, less gravel & kitty litter. Pointing out what is wrong is the only way to get it to change. Nothing I've said is unfair or isn't on the minds of most anyone who has been there- it's honest and fair criticism. If they can't deal with it and it hurts their feelings, then that is their fault.

Just because things sucked way back in the day, it doesn't mean that I should be ok with what Leogang puts forth now. They have the means and the ability to make a better track than they currently have. It's just a shame that they don't.

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FYI, Photos don't load if you're not logged in. I logged in and all-of-a-sudden, photos
Slideshow is kings, this format is Pinkbike, it's not an improvement over the slideshow and the same old tune.

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Hey guys, always love the coverage on Vital, but I gotta say, I'm missing the slideshow - it's what made you better than the others. With this page I don't know which photos to look at to relate to the audio - and scrolling through photos is the reason I don't bother with the other place. You guys always have the best photos, the best, most candid interviews, and the best format in the slideshow for my money. Cheers!

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Couldn't agree more but audio which is possible to download - should be optional

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Just my opinion but I really like the old format better. Or could you possibly put the images in order with the audio? So 3 images or so for every audio clip? Content is awesome as per usual

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In the old format we could choose to view slideshow or all on one page.

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