Following five eventful and exciting days, the UCI 2020 Moutain Bike World Championships presented by Mercedes Benz came to a spectacular finish with the Downhill races last Sunday. Across 13 races, the battle for the treasured rainbow jersey was fought in the disciplines of Cross-Country, Downhill and E-MTB. The organizers of the World Championships put together a great event under difficult conditions and received praise from all sides. As host, the region of Saalfelden Leogang is already looking forward to the first double World Cup (Cross-Country and Downhill) in June 2021.
From sunshine to rain to light snowfall – the challenging conditions at the UCI 2020 Mountain Bike World Championships in Saalfelden Leogang led to thrills and excitement in the fight for the coveted medals and demanded the highest concentration and full commitment from the riders. The new track section of the Speedster was met with a positive response from the field of riders and ensured excitement right up to the end: “The track is a lot different to what we raced last year. I think the new sections are really cool. It’s a great addition. They’ve been trying really hard here in Leogang to make a good track. I found this was a really good World Champs track and I am looking forward to the World Cup next year“, said Greg Minnaar – winner of the 2012 World Championships, which were held in Saalfelden Leogang.
About 700 athletes from 48 nations competed in the disciplines of Cross-Country, Downhill and E-MTB. The French team was by far the most successful and returned home with 12 medals (6 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze) while Great Britain came in second in the medal table with a total of five medals (3, 1, 1). Third place in terms of medals went to Switzerland (1, 3, 3).
Due to COVID-19 prevention measures, no spectators were allowed on the World Champs grounds. However, thanks to 37 TV and streaming providers from 20 countries (e.g. host broadcaster Red Bull TV etc.), Mountain Bike fans from around the world had the opportunity to watch the races from the comfort of their own home.
The organizers and promoters of the 2020 Mountain Bike World Championships faced a major challenge this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At short notice, Saalfelden Leogang took over the Cross-Country World Championship that was originally scheduled for June in Albstadt, in addition to the Downhill World Championship. This meant that, in only a few short months, a diverse and technical World Championship Cross-Country course had to be built. Well thought out safety requirements as well as Covid-19 prevention concepts ensured that this year’s World Championships ran smoothly. Praise came from all sides, especially from the athletes.
“We are extremely happy that we were able to hold the World Championships in the current situation and that we received so much positive feedback from all sides. Everyone felt comfortable and safe and that was the most important thing for us, especially under the current circumstances. The new tracks were very well received, and the weather conditions made it even more exciting. I would like to thank the teams and athletes for their cooperation and good atmosphere as well as every single member of our organization and our volunteers. That was great,” said World Championship organizer Marco Pointner. Saalfelden Leogang is already looking forward to hosting the first double World Cup in Cross-Country and Downhill next year, which will take place in Saalfelden Leogang from June 11-13, 2021.
Kornel Grundner (World Championship organizer): “I am glad that both the Cross Country track and the new section of the Speedster were so well received. Especially the Downhill riders wanted a more technical part there. The XC course also met with an extremely positive response and I am happy that we will be holding our first double header World Cup next year“.
Upon request, all tours can be accompanied and led by qualified guides of the school Element Outdoorsports as well as an individual training to improve your skills.
To make your biking holiday absolutely perfect, special bike hotels such as Salzburger Hof, Bio Hotel Rupertus, Hotel Bacher, Hotel Riederalm, Hotel Ritzenhof, Mama Thresl, Hotel Krallerhof, Hotel Forsthofalm and Hotel Der Löwe and competent bike shops such as Sport Mitterer or Sport 2000 Simon are at your service: http://www.saalfelden-leogang.com/en/region-experience/bike/bikehotels
Since 2020 Saalfelden Leogang, together with Saalbach Hinterglemm and Fieberbrunn, has become Austria’s biggest bike region
The Skicircus, the combined name for the three regions during the winter season, will now also work together during the summer, expanding their collaboration to a year-round effort, and creating Austria’s largest bike region. The Saalbach Hinterglemm trails are only a stone’s throw away from Epic Bikepark Leogang and together, the region offers seven mountains, nine lifts and over 70 kilometres of trails, all ready and waiting to be explored.
Photos by Moritz Ablinger.