Santa Cruz Image

World Cup Leogang

 

World Cup 2019 - Leogang

June 09 — 2019 | Leogang, Austria

Back for another World Cup weekend, but this time in Leogang, Austria. Just a week ago the Syndicate crew celebrated Loris’ third-place finish on the slick, muddy track at Fort William and now the guys, along with Juliana’s Nina Hoffman and Free Agent Mitch Ropelato, would turn their eyes towards a track high in the Alps. Before the dust would settle on the jumps, straightaways, and twisting woods, there would be another podium to celebrate in the Syndicate pits.

Greg Minnaar2nd5th in overall
Luca Shaw9th24th in overall
Loris Vergier19th6th in overall
Nina Hoffman (Juliana)2nd3rd in overall

Yet again, rain welcomed the Syndicate to Thursday’s track walk, but it wasn’t enough to keep the dust down for the remainder of the weekend. Leogang would offer plenty of the fast dusty sections it’s known, along with some new additions: fresh, loose off-cambers, new tightly taped-off sections, and a tricky steep that added a bit of technical flare just before the run-in to the finish of the high-speed track. Greg and Loris came flying into the weekend with confidence gained from last week’s results, and Luca showed up to prove that he can’t be ruled out as a top contender.

leo19_o5a1996.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

These stumps are truly make-or-break. Air them out and you could find your name carved atop one. Miss the line and it was adios to your run.

Friday’s practice gave the boys a chance to test out the new track, pick their lines while dodging sketchy course poles, and puzzle for traction before making final adjustments to their V10s. There was one thing for certain: on a track this short they would have to go all-out to gain the necessary time advantages needed for qualifiers and finals.
 
Qualis kicked off Saturday and proved that the tight times on this track were here to stay. All of the top ten riders were within roughly three seconds of each other. It was time for Greg, Loris, and Luca set out to find the limits of the track and gather more points.
Minnaar came out swinging with a time that would qualify him 1st and stand up through much of Finals; proof to the world why he’s still “The G.O.A.T”. Close behind, Loris followed suit with a 2nd in qualifiers and Luca with a time that would land him in 22nd. The Syndicate boys were back on pace leading into race day.

 

It was clear that finals would be tight and the short course would push the pace, and when the pace goes up in dusty conditions, sometimes you end up on the ground.

leo19bb029841.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

Luca was back to form and cracked into the top 10.

Luca was first to drop for the Syndicate, and he put together a solid, clean run that would have him up at the third and fourth splits but ultimately fall short of the time required for the hot seat. The effort landed him in 2nd and eventually into 9th on the day. After starting the season with an injury, the Dinoshaw is only getting faster and more confident with each race.

leo19bb016720.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

Scrubbin' in stripes. And no one did it better than fellow Santa Cruz rider Mitch Ropelato. 

With Loic Bruni sitting nervously in the hot seat and two Syndicate riders still left at the top, Loris dropped into his run. Zebra stripes flashing down the track, Loris looked smooth, controlled, and fast and was down on Bruni’s time by only a second at split two. He charged on through each section and as he closed in closer on the winning time, his rear wheel washed out in one of the last, loose turns and put him down and out of contention. He would slot into 19th after all was said and done. Loris has been 2nd and 5th here in the last two years and there’s no doubt that he was on another podium position run.

leo19_m1_2092.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

Loris was on another heater of a run until a late crash spoiled the podium party. 

leo19_m1_6060.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

Greg won here in 2010 and was on the hunt for his 22nd World Cup win here again.
 
Only one rider remained at the top who could dethrone Bruni, and it was Greg Minnaar. On track and in the hunt, Greg was behind in the early splits but as the remaining sections came and went, the time difference shrank quickly. When the big man pedals, he pedals and we saw the time deficit shrinking in the straight-aways. Greg would go faster than Bruni by a 10th of a second in the roots and then fall behind by a 1/4th of a second at the fourth split before going full gas with a big air out of the trees and into the final straight. Ultimately just 3/10ths would separate Greg from the top of the podium. Next time, Bruni might not be so lucky.

leo19an3x4381.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

Fastest in qualis, faster than Bruni by a 10th of a second in the roots, and just 3/10ths of a second off the top spot.

The top three finishers were all on the same second on Sunday; Leogang never fails to deliver tight, exciting racing and the Syndicate delivered two riders into the top 10. Greg now sits in 5th in the overall standings with Loris one step down in 6th and Luca in 24th. In just three short weeks the guys take Loris’ zebra pants, the pie fight, and their brand-new pits onto Andorra where Loris landed his first World Cup win of 2018.

leo19_o5a1480.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Sven Martin

Someone call the Hallmark channel. 

Looking for a little more? Here's a pre-race interview with Greg and Bruni and a post-race catch-up on Cathrovision.

 

Previous Next Post Links

Related Posts