Mountain Biking

Leogang World Cup | World Champion Danny Hart Says No Reason to Hate the Controversial Downhill Track

Mondraker teammate Laurie Greenland is also looking to push on despite a shoulder injury

Photo: Dirt Mountainbike

Two-time World Champion Danny Hart plans to spend more time riding the track for the downhill mountain bike World Cup in Leogang, Austria this weekend than he does complaining about it.

The course has come under criticism from certain riders for lacking the roots, rocks and natural touch that makes downhill tracks at the likes of Schladming and Champery so popular with fans and riders.

Leogang, in contrast, is more of a bike park track – smoothed out and this year with rocks removed from the track.

Dirt Mountain Bike previously reported on how British rider Phil Atwill even called the track “pretty embarrassing” and, referring to Schladming, joked how he “herd [sic] there used to be a good race track about an hour away from here.”

We caught up with Danny after a day on the course on Friday, and he was quick to highlight how it was just part and parcel of touring on the World Cup circuit.

Danny Hart races Leogang in 2016. Photo: Bartek Wolinksi / Red Bull

“It’s just another aspect of downhill racing so there’s no reason to hate it,” he said.

“I guess we’ve all got to race it. Today’s been the first day of practise. It’s been a good day so it’s onwards and upwards for me. I really want to turn my season around here!”

Hart has had a tough start to the season after poor weather dominated the first stop of the World Cup series in Lourdes, France and a muddy bog at Fort William saw him – and many others – crash out at stop two.

Fellow Mondraker rider Laurie Greenland managed to make it through the mud in Fort William and finish ninth overall despite picking up a shoulder injury in qualifying.

He’ll be battling through the same injury and looking to build on his top 10 finish in Leogang this weekend.

“Off the bat I felt I could put together a solid run in Fort William,” he said. “But I had a massive crash on Saturday and injured my shoulder a bit, so to be able to push on through the pain and get ninth was pretty special for me.

“It was a bit of a rollercoaster – I went from feeling like I could do real well to almost being unable to ride, and then getting back on it. A ninth place finish felt a lot better than it normally would just because of the situation.

“The shoulder is good right now. It’s similar [to Fort William]. I’ve got it all taped up, but a couple of painkillers and I’m ready to go.

Photo: Dirt Mountainbike

“It’s not something that stops you from racing really, it just makes you a lot weaker on the bike. It’s something you’ve got to push on through but it’s not something that will actually stop you.”

We’ll be keeping a special eye out this weekend to see how Danny and Laurie get on in finals on Sunday – and if you keep an eye out you’ll see our full feature with the Mondraker riders dropping on Mpora in the coming weeks!

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