Atherton back to winning ways, Pierron takes two in a row

Rachel Atherton and Amaury Pierron tasted victory at the third round of the Mercedes-Benz UCI World Cup in Leogang, Austria.

Amidst the soaring peaks of the Austrian Alps is a race track like no other. In short, when it comes to going fast on a downhill mountain bike, Leogang is a temple of speed.

 

Rachel Atherton Leogang.jpg
Rachel Atherton charges over the roots at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

In the women’s race, it was anyone’s guess as to what lay in store. The reigning champ, Myriam Nicole, and the widely acknowledged queen of downhill, Rachel Atherton, had each had troubles in qualifying. Tahnée Seagrave, the winner of the last round in Fort William, had qualified fastest and was to be the last woman down the hill.

 

Atherton set about Leogang with gusto and set the time to beat. Nicole was faster, visibly attacking, but there were mistakes within sight of the finish and she was relegated to second. Seagrave was on the pace but was deemed to have left the track on one of the straights and was subsequently disqualified to leave Atherton celebrating a return to winning ways for the first time since Lourdes in April 2017.

 

Tracey Hannah Leogang.jpg
Tracey Hannah soaring down the motorway at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

She said: “It means a lot. I just thought if I had forgotten how to do it. It has been a hard weekend, I have been really struggling. I am just happy to be in one piece. I never thought I would do it after my qualifying crash.”

 

Women Podium Leogang.jpg
Monika Hrastnik, Miriam Nicole, Rachel Atherton, Tracey Hannah, Siegenthaler Emilie stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

In the men’s race, all the pre-race talk had surrounded a rider who has over the years become synonymous with the Leogang Bike Park; Aaron Gwin.

 

Aaron Gwin Leogang.jpg
Despite injury only one man was faster than Aaron Gwin down the Leogang track. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

The American, racing with a dislocated thumb, was shooting for a chance to become the first ever racer to have four consecutive wins at one track. His splits went from good to great as seconds were cleaved from the clock and the lights turned green. It was a typically heroic effort from a rider already rated by many as one of the very best that the sport has ever seen.

 

Amaury Pierron Leogang.jpg
Amaury Pierron doubled his World Cup tally at Leogang following his first win at Fort William the previous weekend. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

Frenchman Amaury Pierron had tasted his victory for the first time at the last round and was hungry for more. Crucially, he nailed the woods sections which represent perhaps the best opportunities to eek back time in Leogang.

 

Finn Iles Leogang.jpg
Finn Iles performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

He crossed the line and pivoted back towards the clock to see once again he had gone quickest. Fastest qualifier Luca Shaw could not prevent him another victory. The only difference between the two weekends being that he would now leave the venue with the Mercedes-Benz UCI World Cup overall leaders jersey on his back.

 

Pierron said: “I just had to be flat out, it was super hard on the body as you are already smoked mid-race! To win two in a row is more than awesome. This is crazy, just a dream.”

 

Men Podium Leogang.jpg
Troy Brosnan, Aaron Gwin, Amaury Pierron, Laurie Greenland, Loris Vergier stand on the podium at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria. Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

 

Video Highlights - Men and Women:






0 Comments