Ground conditions were at their least predictable for Leogang 2016 World Cup finals. Heavy rain overnight gave way to blue skies come race time, and with it came the drying, but still ever-so-greasy track. Many fell foul of similar conditions in Saturday’s qualifying round, but that certainly wasn’t going to stop anyone giving it 100% in finals.
Words: James McKnight Photos: Seb Schieck
Proceedings kicked off with the Junior Men, who were gunning from the get-go and rode with the track at its wettest.
Winner of qualifying, Elliott Heap couldn’t pull things together for finals and slipped back to fifth. The USA’s Nikolas Nestoroff stepped it up one from qualifying and into fourth – Shaun Palmer’s mentoring clearly working out.
One name that was more-or-less expected on the podium was Finn Iles, but after his crash early in his qualifying run would he be too hesitant to make Leogang his third victory of his first season racing World Cups? Well, judging by the gap he put into third-placed Sylvain Cougoureux from France, Iles clearly wasn’t holding anything back. The Canadian rode a superb race, but his time simply couldn’t hold up when third-placed qualifier Gaetan Vigé came storming down the mountain.
Vigé put in an inspired ride on a changeable course to take his first World Cup win. Later in the day, a fellow Frenchman would nearly do the same in the Elite ranks.