How Hattie Harnden just keeps stacking podiums

Inside a big weekend of Downhill and Enduro World Cup podiums in Leogang

After securing her third straight Enduro World Cup podium on Friday, Hattie Harnden can officially say she’s off to the best start of her career. Harnden edged out third-place Morgan Charre by just two seconds across six stages in Leogang to finish second at back-to-back events. 

Harnden is furiously chasing Isabeau Courdurier atop the Enduro World Cup overall standings. The Frenchwoman has won the overall two years in a row, and recorded a second straight win, but Harnden is staying within arm’s reach. She won the season opener in Finale Ligure, and now has five stage wins on the year after taking the longest stage in Leogang.

“The reason this has been the best start to the year so far is because of the work I did in the offseason,” Harnden said after the race. “I mean, every year I put in a lot of work, but I did think a few things differently and I think it really paid off. People I was riding with, the training I was doing, the coaching I was getting made a big difference.”

Hattie Harnden is on another level in 2024.

After the race, Harnden wrote on Instagram that she was disappointed that she didn’t “ride with the aggression and confidence I did in Poland.” That fact that she didn’t feel she had her best performance and still finished right behind Courdurier illustrates her intense competitive drive and how much she feels she’s leveled up her riding after finishing third overall in the World Cup standings the last two years.

“You couldn’t hide from this track,” Harnden said. “You needed to ride aggressively to make it work well because of the technicality and slippy roots, and because of the weather and the terrain. I didn’t ride aggressively enough, and coincidentally just made more mistakes.”

Hattie tearing it up.

Harnden finished no lower than fourth on any stage in Leogang, and has yet to finish lower than sixth all season. She finished fourth on Stage 1 and quickly found herself in a nearly 20-second deficit to Courdurier, but won the next stage to keep herself in the battle.

“I crashed on the first stage. It was a hard stage to start on,” Harnden said. “It was still a really good day. I just didn’t feel like I was quite riding how I did at the first two races.”

Harnden and Courdurier will go head-to-head again in just under three weeks when the Enduro World Cup travels to Haute-Savoie in France for Round 4. Fingers crossed that Harnden will also have teammate Emily Carrick-Anderson in tow. Carrick-Anderson had to miss Leogang due to a concussion.

There was nowhere to hide from the track in Leogang.

The Enduro World Cup field is more competitive than ever, but Harnden is on a mission to prove she belongs at the very top of the sport. There may be no better example of grit in mountain biking than her. 

“The aggression and confidence thing is just something you got to have,” Harnden said. “If you hold back a bit, you lose a lot of time. You have to be trying to attack everywhere because margins are so tight.”

Bodhi Kuhn continues to have an excellent season in his first year of elite racing.

Trek Factory Racing Downhill is determined to bounce back from Leogang

Sometimes it’s just one of those weekends.

Loris Vergier, Reece Wilson, Bodhi Kuhn, and Sacha Earnest all made it through to finals for the second time this season. In a cutthroat sport, that is impressive work. Unfortunately, Sunday didn’t go how any of the riders hoped on a greasy, root-y track in Leogang, but there’s no lack of motivation to bounce back. 

Loris Vergier prowling the slopes in pink.

Sacha Earnest showing emotion after a blistering finals run was undone by an unfortunate crash.

Vergier aspires to win every time he sends it on race day. But on Sunday he was bitten by small mistakes, coming unclipped in Leogang’s wooded sector and ultimately finishing 19th. Wilson was 26th as he continues to get back to full speed off two injury-riddled seasons. And Kuhn was 21st, once again knocking on the door of a Top 20 finish despite small mistakes in what has thus far been a successful debut elite season. He is the highest ranked first-year elite rider on the men’s overall. Earnest had the fastest time among the junior women through three splits, but took a hard fall and finished 10th. 

Reece Wilson back on the track where he won the 2020 World Championship.

All four riders have flashed best-in-class speed at times, but they’ve struggled to put together clean top-to-bottom World Cup finals runs. The good news is that they won’t have to wait long for redemption. They’re already on their way to Val di Sole for Round 4, where they’ll race Qualis and Semis on Friday and Finals on Saturday.

Lachie Stevens-McNab on his first career elite World Cup podium.

The Union doubles up on the podium

Lachie Stevens-McNab, after coming oh-so-close to winning in Poland, got to stand on his first ever elite World Cup podium on Sunday after throwing the third fastest time among all the men. He was in 16th after the first two splits, but he and his Session made mincemeat of the most technical portions of the track and took third behind winner Loïc Bruni and second-place Finn Iles. 

Not to be outdone, Ellie Hulsebosch took second in the junior women’s race after winning Qualis on Saturday. She is now a two-time Qualis winner this year. Her finals result was her best of the season thus far, and she now sits third in the overall standings.

Ellie Hulsebosch has been one of the most consistent junior women all season.

We can't wait to see what Lachie does next.

The Union has been a revelation on the Downhill World Cup circuit, which is no surprise given the team’s unique structure and mission. Quite possibly no one is having more fun (or looks cooler) than this squad this season.