Posted on June 11 2018
Last week we told of the trials and tribulations of racing in Fort William, Scotland and this week we move south to the Austrian Alps. Leogang is one of the most scenic tracks on the World Cup, and one that can both reward and rob those who dare to charge down its challenging terrain.
New Week, New Course
The team was looking forward Leogang’s steeper, more aggressive topography after coming up short on the long pedaling track in Fort William. Team leader Bernard Kerr is still having issues walking much less pedaling, but when the trail tips downward and he can use guts, skill and gravity to his best advantage, then he’s in it for a chance at the podium.
Mixed Bag for the Men
The former winner of the Red Bull Hardline race loves steep and technical. Leogang served up a good helping of that along with a new slippery, off-camber section of high alpine meadow that landed more than one rider on the dirt. Bernard put together a solid run flying of the finishing jumps and pedaling furiously to the line. His effort put him two seconds up on his nearest rival and earned a comfortable if not nervous perch on the hot seat awaiting the top-seeded starters.
Teammate Rupert Chapman was fired up to steal the coveted spot from his captain. Looking fast and in control, the man from New Zealand looked poised to rival Bernard’s time. It wasn’t until he was within sight of the finish line that it all went wrong. Misjudging the final corner, Rupert washed his front wheel and slammed the ground so hard his shoe flew off! Unhurt, he jumped up and finished the final meters...and then retrieved his shoe. Sadly for both Bernard and Chapman, there were too many fast men on course for either to secure a podium by days end.
The Queen of the Team
It was Emilie Siegenthaler who once again posted the team’s best result of the weekend -- and this time it was a podium! The Swiss loves steep, slippery courses like those in her home country, so she was looking forward to race day after posting the third fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying. In the end, it was a hard fought battle with Emilie earning her first podium finish for the 2018 World Cup season!