The Kokanee Crankworx mountain bike festival kicked off on August 7 in Whistler, Canada, with a packed schedule of racing, slopestyle and trials action.
Early highlighs included a record-breaking win by CRC-Intense's Chris Kovarik in the Monster Energy Garbanzo DH, billed as the world's longest downhill race, and a storming performance by Gee Atherton (Commencal) in the dual slalom. Here's the lowdown on the first six days.
Dual Slalom: Gee Atherton captures the win
With big-time contender Brian Lopes (Ibis-Oakley) crashing out in the first heat of the Pro Men dual slalom semi-finals, Britain's Gee Atherton (Commencal) managed to fend off young guns Troy Brosnan (Monster Energy-Specialized) and Mitch Ropelato to secure the win on a course that included rhythm sections, a mogul field, tight berms, jumps and drops.
American Ropelato, 18, looked like he might have victory in the bag after winning the holeshot in the first of the two final runs but he crashed, letting Atherton gain the advantage going into the second run. Mick Hannah took third, and fellow Australian Troy Brosnan fourth. “I was playing calm, cool and collected,” said Atherton “It's quite unexpected, but I'm feeling really stoked. You have to stay calm and have fun. I really enjoyed that.”
Gee Atherton showed the skills that made him downhill world champion to take the win
|1/4 final||Michal Prokop|
|1/4 final||Bryn Atkinson|
|1/4 final||Brian Lopes|
|1/4 final||Steve Smith|
|1/8 final||Tyler McCaul|
|1/8 final||Daniel Mazuti|
|1/8 final||Kirt Voreis|
|1/8 final||Fabien Cousini|
|1/8 final||Brendon Fairclough|
|1/8 final||Brad Oien|
|1/8 final||Samuel Blenkinsop|
|1/8 final||Blake Carney|
In the Pro Women race, there was a home winner in the shape of Micayla Gatto from Vancouver’s North Shore but a disappointing turnout of just four riders. In each of the two final runs, France’s Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Centre) got the holeshot but Gatto was able to regain the advantage with power and quick turns. Jill Kintner (USA|Transition) finished third and Melissa Buhl (USA) fourth.
A jubilant Micayla Gatto celebrates her win in the women's dual slalom
For full results, visit: www.crankworx.com/whistler/live-blog/2010-results. You can check out a video of all the day 1 action below:
Monster Energy Garbanzo DH: Chris Kovarik obliterates the field
Chris Kovarik (Aus) maintained a blistering pace in the 12km Monster Energy Garbanzo DH to take home first with a time of 13:22.99, knocking last year’s winner Justin Leov (NZl) into second place with a time of 13:29.85. Third place went to Sam Blenkinsop (NZl), with a time of 13:39.35.
Dry course conditions for the first time in the event’s history helped Kovarik to shave off over 22 seconds from Leov’s 2009 winning time. “I got second place last year and this year I wanted to go for number one,” said Kovarik. “You have to stand up, man up and pedal.”
Chris Kovarik talks to the media after his record breaking win
|1||Chris Kovarik (Aus|ChainReactionCycles.com-Intense)||13:22.99|
|2||Justin Leov (NZl|Trek World Racing)||13:29.85|
|3||Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl|Lapierre International)||13:39.35|
|4||Curtis Keene (USA|Specialized-SRAM)||13:41.41|
|5||Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra|Lapierre International)||13:47.58|
|6||Gee Atherton (GBr|Commencal)||13:53.06|
|7||Jack Reading (GBr|Ellsworth Handcraft)||14:05.12|
|8||Andrew Neethling (RSA|Trek World Racing)||14:06.94|
|9||Troy Brosnan (Aus|Monster Energy-Specialized)||14:16.26|
|10||Evan Turpen (USA|Epicenter Cycling)||14:16.43|
On the women’s side there were no surprises, with multiple world champion Anne-Caroline Chausson dominating on course. Despite the fact she was coming off a hiatus from riding and hadn’t ridden in Whistler for five years, the Frenchwoman took home first place with a time of 15:59.42, more than 18 seconds faster than second placed Miranda Miller (Can). Fionn Griffiths (GBr), took third place with a time of 16:23.63.
“I did a practice run with Anne-Caroline and I thought to myself, ‘there is no way anyone is going to go faster than her',” said American racer Leigh Donovan. “I was set to race right before her and sure enough down the course I could hear her behind me! I pulled over and let her pass; I knew she was going to win today.”
Anne-Caro Chausson takes on the 12km-long Monster Energy Garbanzo DH
|1||Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra|Sunn)||15:59.42|
|2||Miranda Miller (Can|Santa Cruz-SRAM)||16:17.94|
|3||Fionn Griffiths (GBr|Norco World Team)||16:23.63|
|4||Emmeline Ragot (Fra|Suspension Center)||17:17.78|
|5||Leigh Donovan (USA|Intense)||17:35.26|
|6||Vaea Verbeeck (Can)||18:08.69|
|7||Jaime Hill (Can|CCL-Troy Lee Designs-Rocky Mountain)||18:11.34|
|8||Fanny Paquette (Can)||18:24.74|
|9||Bethany Parsons (Can|Race Face-Scott)||19:00.19|
|10||Dawn Cashen (Can)||19:22.91|
For full results, visit www.crankworx.com/whistler/live-blog/2010-results. You can check out a video of all the day 2 action below:
Canadian Open Enduro: French riders dominate
French riders dominated this year's Canadian Open Enduro all-mountain challenge, with Remy Absalon proving he had the most complete package of skills and fitness to take home first place in the Pro Men's race with a time of 18:52.44.
Fellow Frenchman and multiple world champion Nicolas Vouilloz was hot on his tail, swooping in eight seconds later with a time of 19:00.76, while Ross Schnell (USA) came in at 19:12.99 for third place.
“This course was very difficult, very technical and steep,” said Absalon. “The mass start makes it challenging but I was able to pass Nicolas. The Canadian Open Enduro is quite short compared to the lengths of enduro races in France. There's no time to relax and go slow, you have to go fast the entire time.”
Trek World Racing's Justin Leov went on to finish eighth in the Canadian Open Enduro
|1||Remy Absalon (Fra|Commencal)||18:52.44|
|2||Nicolas Vouilloz (Fra|Lapierre International)||19:00.76|
|3||Ross Schnell (USA|Trek-Oakley||19:12.99|
|4||Karim Amour (Fra|Kona)||19:24.22|
|5||Matt Ryan (Can|Specialized)||19:34.86|
|6||Aaron Bradford (Can|Specialized)||19:50.75|
|7||Matthew Slaven (USA|Kona)||20:05.36|
|8||Justin Leov (NZl|Trek World Racing)||20:14.78|
|9||Jamie Nicoll (Can)||20:15.82|
|10||Chris Johnston (NZl|Dunbar Cycles)||20:18.94|
In the Pro Women's race, multiple downhill world champion Anne-Caroline Chausson took home first with a time of 22.33.12. Emmeline Ragot (Fra) came in second at 22:49.76, while third placed Katherine Short (Can) posted a time of 24:00.05.
Anne-Caro Chausson took first in the enduro after winning the Garbanzo DH
|1||Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra|Sunn)||22:33.12|
|2||Emmeline Ragot (Fra|Suspension Center)||22:49.76|
|3||Katherine Short (Can)||24:00.05|
|4||Fanny Paquette (Can)||24:47.48|
|5||Katrina Strand (Can|Troy Lee Designs)||24:57.07|
|6||Fionn Griffiths (GBr|Norco World Team)||26:11.55|
The mass start race began at the top of the Garbanzo Express lift and dropped 3,800 vertical feet to finish in Whistler Village.
For full results, visit www.crankworx.com/whistler/live-blog/2010-results. You can check out a video of all the day 3 action below:
Air DH: Brian Lopes claims sixth Crankworx win
On day four of Crankworx, the Air DH took over Whistler Mountain Bike Park, with over 381 competitors ripping down the jump-packed A-Line downhill run.
Brian Lopes (USA) won the race for the fifth time in a row (sixth overall), posting a time of 4:15.69 – nearly five seconds than last year thanks to the dry conditions. He dedicated his win to Oakley senior executive Steve Blick’s son, Tyler, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.
"I knew I had to get on the pedals today,” said Lopes. “It was super-rough in the middle but I knew I had to put together a good run.” Sam Blenkinsop (NZl) took second place with 4:16.17, and Gee Atherton (GBR) came third with 4:18.48.
|1||Brian Lopes (USA|Ibis-Oakley-Marzocchi)||04:15.69|
|2||Samuel Blenkinsop (NZl|Lapierre International)||04:16.17|
|3||Gee Atherton (GBr|Commencal)||04:18.48|
|4||Bryn Atkinson (Aus|Transition)||04:19.02|
|5||Fabien Cousini (Fra|Morewood United)||04:19.28|
|6||Evan Turpen (USA|Epicenter Cycling)||04:19.58|
|7||Andrew Neethling (RSA|Trek World Racing)||04:20.21|
|8||Mikey Sylvestri (USA|Specialized Allride)||04:20.83|
|9||Troy Brosnan (Aus|Monster Energy-Specialized)||04:21.22|
|10||Jared Rando (Aus|Giant Factory Team)||04:21.41|
In the Pro Women category, Anne Caro Chausson (Fra) held off reigning world downhill champion Emmeline Ragot (Fra) to take the top spot with a time of 4:38.21. Rachel Atherton (GBr) took third with 4:41.15.
|1||Anne-Caroline Chausson (Fra|Sunn)||04:38.21|
|2||Emmeline Ragot (Fra|Suspension Center)||04:40.26|
|3||Rachel Atherton (GBr|Commencal)||04:41.15|
|4||Jill Kintner (USA|Transition-Red Bull)||04:42.67|
|5||Fionn Griffiths (GBr|Norco World Team)||04:43.94|
|6||Claire Buchar (Can|ChainReactionCycles-Intense)||04:43.99|
|7||Micayla Gatto (Can|Commencal-Oakley)||04:46.16|
|8||Sarah Leishman (Can)||04:47.45|
|9||Melissa Buhl (USA|KHS)||04:52.46|
|10||Leigh Donovan (USA|Intense)||04:53.10|
For full results, visit: www.crankworx.com/whistler/live-blog/2010-results. You can check out a video of all the day 4 action below:
VW Trick Showdown: Watts and Berrecloth share the spoils
Greg Watts (USA) and Darren Berrecloth (CAN) took home $3,000 each in the VW Trick Showdown after battling it out against 24 of the world's top slopestyle riders in the peer-judged, two session best trick jam.
Session one went off the VW Doubles and after an impressive display of aerial antics by all the riders, it was Watts – defending champion of the Monster Energy Slopestyle contest – who took home $3,000 for his clean double tailwhip backflip.
Greg Watts impressed his fellow riders with a double tailwhip backflip
Session two moved down the mountain to a new feature in the Boneyard, the Kokanee Booter – a 40ft-long lipped step-down with a 20ft drop. With the wind picking up, many riders opted to save themselves for Saturday's big show, the Monster Energy Slopestyle.
However, Berrecloth was committed to the cause and after a few attempts was able to throw down a switch 360 look back to cinch the best trick in session two. “I've been wanting to do that trick for so long,” he said. “It's one of my favourite all-time tricks.”
Darren Berrecloth pulled a switch 360 look back to cinch round two
Ultimate Pump Track Challenge:
The Ultimate Pump Track Challenge, created in partnership with Monster Energy, took place on the Boneyard's new 90ft-long Crystal Viper track. A perma-smiling Mitch Ropelato (USA) took first place and $750 after beating Brendan Fairclough (GBr) in the big final. In the small final, Danny Hart (GBr) took on Austin Aldrich (USA), with Aldrich emerging victorious.
Mitch Ropelato beat Brendan Fairclough in the big final to win the Challenge
“I'm so stoked,” said Ropelato after the event. “This track is wild, I love all pump tracks but this one is so sweet. There are these nice tight corners, it's such a sick track.” In the women's race, Jill Kintner (USA) beat Micayla Gatto (Can) to first place, while Emmeline Ragot (Fra) took third from Fionn Griffiths (GBr) in the small final.
Transition's Jill Kintner was dominant in the women's race
You can check out a video of all the day 5 action below: