Despite changes to the course intended to slow riders down, times were still incredibly tight for qualifying in Leogang, Austria.
Greg Minnaar showed he should never be counted out, setting the fastest time on Saturday ahead of teammate Loris Vergier. Tracey Hannay set the fastest women’s time for a third straight World Cup, and eight Canadians made the cut to advance to Sunday’s finals.
Elite Men – Return of the G.O.A.T.
Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) stepped up to qualify first on the new-look Leogang track. The elder statesman is fifteen years older and 0.166 seconds faster than second place qualifier and Santa Cruz Syndicate teammate Loris Vergier. Troy Brosnan (Canyon Factory Racing) was consistent as ever, ranking third in qualifying.
Brosnan’s teammate Mark Wallace was the top Canadian qualifier in 10th. Finn Iles was the 18th fastest rider down the course on Saturday. With incredibly close times on the short course – the top 65 riders were within 10 seconds of Minnaar – there’s all sorts of room for movement up and down the ranks on Sunday.
Canadian national champion Magnus Manson (Canyon Factory Racing) moved up to qualify 40th in Leogang, with Kirk McDowall (Unior / Devinci Factory Racing) the final Canadian to qualify, ranking 55th.
Forrest Reisco (Commencal Canada) landed just a hair outside qualifying in 64th, missing the cut-off by 0.358 seconds. Henry Fitzgerald (Norco Factory Racing) was next in 88th. Rounding out the Canadian entries in the elite men’s race were Benjamin Despres Morin 100th, Ben Wallace 122nd, Keegan Fry 152nd
Elite Women – Tracey Hannah takes top spot
Tracey Hannah set the fastest qualifying for the third time in three World Cup races this season. The Australian put 0.588 seconds into last week’s winner in Fort Wililam, Rachel Atherton. Germany’s Nina Hoffmann (Juliana) backed up her third place in Fort Bill by setting the third fastest time in qualifying in Leogang.
There were no Canadian entries in the elite women’s field.
Juniors – Canadian’s continue crushing it
Canada’s next generation of downhill racers continue to produce excellent results. On Saturday, three junior men and one junior woman secured their spots in Sunday’s final.
Ethan Shandro (Trek Factory Racing) led the way for the Canucks in sixth. Lucas Cruz (SRAM-TLD Racing) was 0.679 seconds behind in seventh. Patrick Laffey rolled in at 12th, after finishing on the podium in his first World Cup a week earlier in Fort William.
Times were tight for most of the field, except the current series leader Thibaut Daprela (Commencal Vallnord). The young French rider put 2.723 seconds in to second place qualifier Matteo Iniguez, also of France.
In the cutthroat world of junior men’s racing, Elliot Jamieson (Norco Factory Racing) missed out on a spot in Sunday’s final by 0.176 seconds, finishing 21st of 20 qualifiers. Seth Sherlock was not far behind in 28th.
In the women’s seeding round, Squamish’s Bailey Goldstone ranked 7th in her first World Cup appearance. Valentina Höll (SRAM-TLD Racing), looking to establish dominance early on her home track, was the top junior woman. While she has upset Höll a week earlier to win Fort William, American Anna Newkirk was a ways back in second.