Aaron Gwin took the win at Leogang to cement his status as one of the greatest downhill racers of all time.
He now joins Steve Peat on 17 World Cup wins, just three behind Greg Minnaar’s tally of twenty. This is also his third win in a row at Leogang – he’s also only the fourth man to have won three races in a row at the same venue.
Second place went to Loris Vergier for a second year in a row, his first win can’t be far away now. Greg Minnaar maintained his series lead with third, Troy Brosnan slotted in fourth and Bernard Kerr picked up a first ever World Cup podium in fifth.
The race really kicked off when Jack Moir was on a stormer but slid out in the off camber turns, he probably lost about 1.5 seconds but still managed to wrestle his 29er Intense down into the hotseat.
It was Luca Shaw that set the first benchmark time as he put nearly 2 seconds into Moir and heralded the arrival of the top ten qualifiers into the race. Following him, Danny Hart dropped a chain right out of the gate but couldn’t emulate Gwin’s run of 2015 and lost 2.3 seconds on the motorway alone placing him back down the field in 11th.
Bernard Kerr was next to take the hotseat after a charging top section. Leogang has always delivered good results for Kerr and today was a first podium and career best for him.
Greenland followed with some new lines through the top section but it wasn’t enough to unseat Kerr. Sick Mick had surely the fastest motorway (making up 1.4 seconds) but again fell short of Kerr thanks to a puncture in final s-bends.
It was Vergier who would finally replace Kerr at the top of the standings. Despite mistakes, he put three seconds into Kerr and two seconds into Gwin’s qualifier – a huge margin on this course.
With Loic Bruni out with a haematoma, Troy Brosnan was next on track. He just didn’t seem to be able to match the pace of Vergier but slotted himself just behind and secured a podium finish.
The race finished with a battle of two of the greatest downhill racers of all time. Minnaar was first up but seemed to have an issue with something on his bars on the motorway and again fell short on Vergier.
All eyes turned to Gwin at the top of the hill. Despite being down after two sectors, Gwin smashed the jumps and the bottom. He made a couple of mistakes in the woods but still finished 1.4 seconds up on Vergier to claim his third win in a row at Leogang.
Provisional results, full results to follow:
- Aaron Gwin – 3:06.958
- Loris Vergier – 3:08.393
- Greg Minnaar – 3:09.642
- Troy Brosnan – 3:10.243
- Bernard Kerr – 3:11.311
- Laurie Greenland – 3:11.474
- Luca Shaw – 3:12.096