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Sunday, June 15, 2014, and the World Cup is in full swing. We're not talking about the one where overpaid divas dive for penalties, we're talking about the one where strictly underpaid gladiators throw themselves down a mountain on a bicycle in the quest for the ultimate glory - a Downhill World Cup trophy for the mantlepiece. Providing the arena for this week's battle is Leogang, Austria, and while its 3-and-change minutes track takes some flak for being too "bike-parky", recent revisions have left it faster than ever and certainly requiring equal measures of balls and brains if you had in mind to grace the top step of the podium. After some rain earlier in the week, race day presented us with perfect weather conditions and lots of excitement in store.

In the men's, Ruaridh Cunningham had an early long lease on the hot seat, following a somewhat weak qualifier from the up and coming Scot. It would take until well into the top 30 qualifiers to dislodge him, with Nick Beer throwing down a 3:23 and change to make his play for the day, followed by Guillaume Cauvin 0.6 faster still.

Bernard Kerr set things on fire with a 3:22 after a run pieced together of magnificent lines and an incredible gap, but Hill was next man up and he came down a further second up on Kerr - 3:21.6 the new fast mark of the day, 6 seconds up on Hill's own qualifier but 1.3 seconds back on Loic Bruni's qualie mark. Where would that run leave Hill, our fanboi Power Ranking pick of the week? (note: Kerr would eventually be DQed for landing outside a pole on the big drop into the finish line area, denying him his 13th place finish).

George Brannigan! 3:20.6, a second faster than Hill! What a ride from the young Trek rider, could he be on for a personal best World Cup finish, or were times set to drop as we got into the top-10 qualifiers?

Minnaar was the first rider to better Bruni's qualifier, the tall South African laying it all on the line and reaping his reward as the new hotseat holder.

7 riders to go, and Brook MacDonald with a huge run, falling short by an agonizing 25 hundredths! And then Brosnan, fails by 9 THOUSANDS! Any tighter, and we were ready to call a share! 5 left to go, Smith looked good up top but a big mistake in the woods cost him any chance of a good result. Needles got a bit ragged too, and he would cross the line in 7th. All eyes now on the top-3, Ratboy next up! What a run, 3:18.7 and could this be the first win for Josh??? That was a clean and fast run if ever we saw one. Gwin up next, but the suspense would be short lived as he flatted early. Bad luck for the Californian who was on pace here. And so, only Bruni left standing on top of the hill in Leogang and by now we knew we'd get a first time winner, but would it be La Marseillaise or God Save the Queen playing for the podium? Up at the splits for the Lapierre rider, but a crash in the lower section ruins his dream. And Ratboy is now a World Cup winner!!!

It's an incredible  Syndicate 1-2, with Troy Brosnan finishing third confirming his recent good form. We salute the return of Brook MacDonald to the World Cup podium in 4th, and we congratulate George Brannigan on his second ever podium! Connor Fearon in the top-10 and he will be well pleased with his weekend too.

In the women's, Tracey Hannah dislodged Micayla Gatto from the early hotseat, but her time was still 10 seconds short on Manon Carpenter's fastest qualifier, and Tracey didn't seem too happy with her run. Sure enough Kintner and Seagrave would make quick work of it just a few riders later. Myriam Nicole put in a great ride to get very close to Carpenter's qualifier - how would it hold up with just 3 girls left to go? Rachel Atherton was up next, and although she put in a strong run to claim the hot seat, she was clearly riding ragged towards the end of the track, testament to her lack of training over the last month or so. Rachel's time proved too much for Ragot, but Manon Carpenter made light work of her run, taking 3 seconds off her own fastest qualifier to claim her second ever World Cup win. Fast and in control, honoring her Vital Power Ranking with the performance we predicted for her.

In the junior's, Atherton GT's Taylor Vernon knocked 7 seconds off his qualifier to claim second place, signaling his return to the top of the field following his comeback from a back injury sustained in 2013. Only France's Amaury Pierron was faster on the day, claiming his first ever World Cup victory in the process.

2014 Leogang DH World Cup Results - Men Elite (full results)


2014 Leogang DH World Cup Results - Women (full results)


2014 Leogang DH World Cup Results - Junior Men (full results)


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