Mark Wallace at the Vallnord World Cup last week. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Canada’s Mark Wallace scored a big top-10 finish at the third round of World Cup downhill racing in Leogang, Austria on Sunday.

Several new sections added to the Leogang track made for dramatic racing, with Amoury Pierron (Commencal Vallnord) narrowly beating Aaron Gwin (YT Mob) to claim his second ever, and second straight World Cup win.

After looking fast in practice all week, Whistler’s Finn Iles (Specialzed Factory Racing) crashed in the first corner of his race run, ending his chances of a first top-10 finish after moving up to the elite Men’s category. After qualifying 22nd, Magnus Manson also struggled in his race run, posting split results in the low teens before crashing hard in the woods near the bottom of the course.

Rachel Atherton on her way to victory. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

Rachel Atherton (Trek Factory Racing) returned to her winning ways in Austria, taking her first World Cup of the 2018 season. Behind Atherton, Myriam Nicole landed Commencal Vallnord a second podium spot, Nicole’s third straight podium this season. Tracey Hannah (Polygon UR) finished third, following the disqualification of Tahnée Seagrave (FMD Racing), who overshot a jump and landed outside the course tape partway through her race run.

Squamish’s Miranda Miller narrowly missed out on a chance to race in Sunday’s finals. The UCI changed qualifying rules for 2018, lowering the number of racers in the final and the number of “protected” riders, who automatically qualify for Sunday’s racing. Protected status is based on World Cup points, meaning Miller can be world champion and still not be one of the protected riders.

In Junior racing, Pemberton’s Lucas Cruz raced to another top-10 finish in his first year on the World Cup circuit. Cruz finished ninth in Leogang, followed by Kovarik Racing’s Ben Wallace in 13th.

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