Walker and Balanche Victorious at Leogang

Red Bull Media House

Walker and Balanche Win at Leogang

First UCI MTB World Cup downhill win for Briton as Swiss rider shines in Austria.

Matt Walker won his first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race at Leogang on Saturday to make it a British 1-2 in the men’s event as Switzerland’s Camille Balanche maintained her great record down the Austrian course with victory in the women’s race. Here is all you need to know:

– Frenchman Amaury Pierron was looking to become the first man to win the first three races of a World Cup downhill season and he weaved his way down the course to take an early lead.

– Unfortunately for him, Spaniard Angel Suarez Alonso put in a tremendous run to pip him for the lead with Austrian Andreas Kolb also excelling down the tricky track to put himself in third place as it stood.

Walker and Balanche Victorious at Leogang

– Two-time downhill world champion Danny Hart was next man down and he put together an excellent run to go green down the mountain and leave Pierron’s record-breaking hopes in tatters.

– Sadly for him, the Briton could not bank his fifth World Cup win as compatriot Walker went up at the second and fourth splits then dug in down the stretch to claim the lead.

– Fastest qualifiers Finn Iles of Canada and finally Benoit Coulanges of France could have spoiled the party, however they both lost control at crucial moments to leave 2020 overall champion Walker celebrating.

Walker and Balanche Victorious at Leogang

– Walker, 23, said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s not a track I’ve done particularly well at in the past. I felt really good this morning. I was confident with my lines. I made some bold choices with tyre choice and it paid off. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support. We worked so hard and it is amazing to actually achieve a goal like this.”

Leogang men’s DH result
1. Matt Walker | GBR | 3:28.816
2. Danny Hart | GBR | +0.325
3. Angel Suarez Alonso | ESP | +1.554
4. Amaury Pierron | FRA | +1.714
5. Andreas Kolb | AUT | +2.433

2022 UCI MTB World Cup men’s DH standings
1. Amaury Pierron | FRA | 580 points
2. Matt Walker | GBR | 443
3. Danny Hart | GBR | 401
4. Benoit Coulanges | FRA | 380
5. Laurie Greenland | GBR | 354

Walker and Balanche Victorious at Leogang

– In the women’s race, France’s Myriam Nicole was fourth last out of the gate and, despite coming off her bike, she did enough to get ahead of Italian Eleonora Farina with France’s Marine Cabirou unable to finish.

– Despite coming second in qualifying, local Austrian hero Valentina Höll hit the deck early on after starting like a rocket and, after recovering brilliantly, crashed in the wooded section to ruin her chances.

Walker and Balanche Victorious at Leogang

– Balanche knew she would have a great chance if she could just stay on her bike and she duly held her nerve to win by a mammoth 11.368s over Nicole to keep her impressive Leogang win run going.

– Balanche, 32, said: “I tried not to risk it too much. I am over the moon. I knew it was going to dry, but it was super hard to choose a tyre. Still muddy in the wood and the wood is where you win the race. It was a last-minute change!”

Leogang women’s DH result
1. Camille Balanche | SUI | 4:08.218
2. Myriam Nicole | FRA | +11.368
3. Eleonora Farina | ITA | +16.063
4. Louise-Anna Ferguson | GBR | +21.658
5. Monika Hrastnik | SLO | +22.040

2022 UCI MTB World Cup women’s DH standings
1. Camille Balanche | SUI | 685 points
2. Myriam Nicole | FRA | 555
3. Valentina Höll | AUT | 460
4. Eleonora Farina | ITA | 395
5. Nina Hoffmann | GER | 368


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