Live Timing

SAALFELDEN LEOGANG – SALZBURGERLAND TO BRING THE PARTY THIS WEEKEND

News

SAALFELDEN LEOGANG – SALZBURGERLAND TO BRING THE PARTY THIS WEEKEND

1 month ago

While we might already be six rounds into the 2024 WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series, the party is just getting started with the return of the Gravity action in Saalfelden Leogang - Salzburgerland this weekend.

After Gravity UCI World Cups in the iconic spots of Fort William, Scotland (UK) and Finale Outdoor Region (Italy), and a Downhill-Enduro double header in new Polish location Bielsko-Biała, it’s time to return to fan favourite Saalfelden Leogang - Salzburgerland for the first of six back-to-back weekends of the 2024 WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series.

Located within Austria’s largest bike region, Saalfelden Leogang - Salzburgerland has been a mainstay of the UCI Downhill World Cup since 2010, and the scene of some of the sport’s most jaw-dropping moments – from Aaron Gwin’s chainless win in 2015 to Andreas Kolb and Valentina Höll’s Austrian double last year. It was a welcome addition to the UCI Enduro and E-Enduro World Cups in 2023, and fans can expect some adrenaline-fuelled action from the off.

 

THE KING OF COURSES

Saalfelden Leogang - Salzburgerland is located in the state of Salzburg, near the border with Germany in the heart of the Austrian Alps. The UCI World Cup round takes place at Epic Bikepark – one of Europe’s most renowned bike parks, which has trails suitable for anyone, from first timers to professionals.

The ‘Speedster’ trail is the home of the UCI Downhill World Cup. At 2.6km with 468m of descent, it is seriously steep, and combines fast, motorway jumps with tight, technical tree sections where line choice is key to coming out on top.

The venue’s Enduro and E-Enduro stages meanwhile take in the best trails of Epic Bikepark and the surrounding area of Saalbach Hinterglemm to give riders a truly energy-sapping test. The UCI Enduro World Cup will see athletes take on six stages during a 73.7km course featuring 2,470m of descent during the race stages, while the UCI E-Enduro World Cup has nine stages across an 84.5km course with 121m of ascent during the two power stages and 2,692m of descent during the remaining race stages.

TIGHT AT THE TOP

While Loïc Bruni (Specialized Gravity) and Valentina Höll (YT Mob) currently sit first in the UCI Downhill World Cup standings, the reigning overall champions aren’t running away with proceedings.

Ronan Dunne (Mondraker Factory Racing) has emerged as a serious contender – the Irishman following up his first UCI World Cup win in Bielsko-Biała (Poland) with victory at Red Bull Hardline last weekend. Loris Vergier (Trek Factory Racing Gravity), Luca Shaw (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Team) and Finn Iles (Specialized Gravity) have also looked strong in the first two rounds, while it could have been so different for Dakotah Norton (Mondraker Factory Racing) had the American not slipped during his finals run in Poland.

Höll meanwhile crashed in Bielsko-Biała and still managed to rescue a sixth-place finish and retain her position at the top of the table, but there are plenty of riders ready to pounce on any mistake the 2023 UCI DH World Champion makes. Tahnée Seagrave (Canyon CLLCTV FMD) sits just 10 points behind Höll in the standings, while Camille Balanche (Dorval AM Commencal), Nina Hoffmann (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Marine Cabirou (Scott Downhill Factory) are all within breathing distance. Höll will be looking to put that slip in Poland behind her this weekend, returning to winning ways in front of an adoring home crowd.

WILL LUKASIK’S LUCK CHANGE AND HAS COURDURIER MET HER MATCH?

Slawomir Lukasik (Yeti/Fox Factory Race Team) was 0.095 seconds short of recording his first UCI Enduro World Cup win in front of a partisan home crowd in Poland, but the 31-year-old put his disappointment behind him to dominate the following day’s E-Enduro race. The in-form rider is down to ride both again in Saalfelden Leogang - Salzburgerland, so don’t be surprised if he takes back-to-back wins in Austria.

Last year’s UCI Enduro World Cup overall series winner Richie Rude (Yeti/Fox Factory Race Team) and current series leader Charles Murray (Specialized Enduro Team) will be ensuring it’s not a procession for Lukasik, while 2023 winner Rhys Verner (Forbidden Synthesis Team) knows what it takes to taste victory on the Epic Bikepark trails.

The women’s Enduro finals are just as unpredictable with Isabeau Courdurier (Lapierre Zipp Collective) facing fierce competition from the British riders Harriet Harnden (Trek Factory Racing Gravity) and Ella Conolly already this season, while Morgane Charre (Pivot Factory Racing) is looking as consistent as ever.

GILCHRIST AND BORGES THE RIDERS TO BEAT IN E-ENDURO, WHILE ESPIÑEIRA IS IN DOMINANT FORM

Lukasik’s closest E-Enduro challengers in Poland were also the riders who finished in the top two at the season opener in Finale Outdoor Region (Italy) – Ryan Gilchrist (Yeti/Fox Factory Racing) and Manuel Soares José Borges (Canyon CLLCTV Factory Enduro Team) – and you can expect all three to go tyre-to-tyre again in Saalfelden Leogang - Salzburgerland.

The women’s race is more of a one-horse race, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Florencia Espiñeira Herreros (Orbea Fox Enduro Team) wins all nine stages with her closest rival Tracy Moseley not on the start list this weekend.

Racing gets underway in Saalfelden Leogang tomorrow with the UCI Enduro World Cup. Full schedule and events details are available here.

Don't miss out
Don't miss out

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know all the latest news, racing, and offers from the WHOOP UCI Mountain Bike World Series. 

By entering your email address, you agree to receive updates, ads, and offers from Discovery Sports Events Limited and its affiliates.

To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Notice.