What a scenario! Epic, unexpected, dramatic ... This round of the World Cup in Leogang kept us in suspense until the last moment. Loic Bruni, unlucky hero of this final, will remember this race for a long time.
Loic Bruni just crossed the finish line in 27th position. A few seconds before, he was just about to win the 1st DH World Cup of his career...
Photo credits: Lapierre / Dave Trumpore
All started well for Team Lapierre Gravity Republic. During qualifications, Emmeline Ragot and Loris Vergier both took the 2nd place in their respective categories (Elite Women and Junior Men). In Elite Men, Sam Blenkinsop was 9th and meanwhile, Loic Bruni confirmed that Leogang is one of his favorite tracks. He won the qualifications, finishing ahead of the World Cup leader Aaron Gwin (Specialized) and Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz).
These qualifications recalled great memories from the World Cup 2013 Team when the Team concluded the season on a high note on Austrian soil. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
In the Juniors, unfortunately Loris Vergier crashed and finished at 28th place. His strong performances over the first 3 round (2nd, 1st, 2nd) allow him to keep his leader's jersey on his shoulders.
In the Elite Women, Emmeline was motivated with the idea to repeat her victory from last week in Fort William, especially since she won on Leogang’s track in 2013. But small mistakes put her back into 4th place this time. Emmeline was only 4 seconds from Manon Carpenter, winner of the day, which gives hope for the future. Emmeline remains second in the overall.
In Elite Men, Sam Blenkinsop lacked a little something yesterday to fight with the best. Times are tight, Sam finished in less than 5 seconds from the victory but only took the 16th place. All eyes were on Loic Bruni, last rider to come down. In a fluid and efficient style, Loic passed first at split one (0.7 sec ahead) and at split 2 as well (0.5 sec ahead). He was literally flying over the track and everyone expected his first World Cup victory. But fate decided something else. Less than 30 seconds from the finish line, a bit too much commitment, a little too much angle, it was too late! Loic made a mistake and this is the victory that flew away. He got up and went back on his bike as fast as he could but crossed the line 6 seconds behind.
A terribly cruel outcome for the Lapierre rider, who was so close to being on the top of the podium. But Loic is a champion and there is no doubt that he will recover quickly and be back stronger than ever.
Josh Bryceland finished 1st and won his first World Cup. 4 races, 4 different winners, the 2014 World Cup is more uncertain and more exciting than ever! At the overall, Loic still remains in 8th place. Blenky is in 10th.
The replay is a must watch: http://live.redbull.tv/events/357/2014-uci-mtb-world-cup-6-leogang-dhi/
Next up is Schladming for a round of the IXS Cup next weekend and early August in Mont Saint Anne (Canada) for the 5th round of the UCI World Cup.