DH World Cup #2 Leogang – Camille Balanche Takes the Overall Lead Plus Junior Double

Not a weekend goes by without seeing (at least) one SUPREME DH V5 on a World Cup podium! Leogang, in the heart of the Austrian Alps, was no exception to the rule with a COMMENCAL double in Juniors for Lisa Bouladou and Leo Abella, not to mention another podium for Camille Balanche who takes the lead in the general classification. 

After four years of quagmire-like conditions, the Leogang track remained dry almost all weekend, apart from qualifying and Junior finals, which saw a couple of storms transforming the track for one run. The rain created a situation which cost many riders dearly and their weekends were cut short even before the semi-finals. It’s hard not to feel for Lisa Baumann, Thomas Estaque and the Iniguez brothers (and more), caught out by this untimely bad weather.

Generally, this Austrian round clearly resembled a festival of speed, with a straighter track, mixing many different features. From the top section with its long sloping straight sections where you must be confident and let go of the brakes, to the legendary stump section, then the steep woods and the final run towards the crowds.

As for the race itself, the Juniors were the first to go on Friday, and in the best way! Lisa Bouladou from X1 RACING Team and Leo Abella from the COMMENCAL/LES ORRES Team won their first World Cups in their respective categories. Lisa, after a first podium last weekend, now finds herself the leader of the general Junior classification.

This is completely crazy! At the time I did not believe it, I saw my father who told me that I had won! I realised when they stuck the microphone in my hand for the post-race interview. I wasn't super comfortable on the upper part of the track but I caught up in the woods. It's just crazy!” – Lisa Boudalou

Junior winner last week in Lenzerheide, Erice Van Leuven crashed at the start of her final and hurt her wrist. She’ll be working on a speedy recovery. Fortunately for the COMMENCAL/LES ORRES Team, Leo Abella took advantage of the race conditions, being the last to leave the start gate in the dry, and won his first World Cup.

"It's great to win a first World Cup! I'm super happy to win in Leogang. To tell you the truth, I dreamed about it last night, it must have been an omen!” – Leo Abella

In the Elite Women’s race, Camille Balanche was once again consistent. In the same week as the release of her new edit - 35MM – the DORVAL/COMMENCAL rider achieved another second place. That meant she took the lead in the general classification from Rachel Atherton, who’s on a comeback that just keeps on delighting us! We were also delighted to see Monika Hrasnik on the podium too, in 4th.

Among the Elite Men the level is quite simply stratospheric. The final top 10 of the day were only 2.5 seconds apart! Supported from the side lines by Amaury Pierron, freshly out of hospital after surgery to fix a fractured C5 vertebra, Thibault Daprela and Benoit Coulanges both made the top 10, in sixth and tenth place respectively. The pace is there!

The Leogang paddock is now heading to Italy. After this triple round (XCO/EDR/DH), the enduro riders will meet again next weekend in Val di Fassa, while the rest of the troop heads for Val di Sole for the next race in about ten days.

Photos : Sven Martin, Keno Derelyn, Nicolaï Widovitch