19-year-old Nejc Rutar won the first Dowka U Bc mass start downhill mountain bike marathon in Slovenia on Sunday.
37 riders travelled from Argentina, Austria, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy and around Slovenia to take part in the race, which ran from Mount Kanin to the town of Bovec.
Rutar (MBK Hidria/Team Scott Lactat) finished 27 seconds in front of national downhill champion Jan Cestnik (Cult MTB Trbovlje), while ex-junior cross country racer Primož Ravnik (KD Sportpoint) finished six seconds after him. All three completed the 14km, 1750m drop course in less than 22 minutes.
Cestnik took an early lead, but crashed twice within the first five minutes, dropping out of the top five. Rutar took the lead in front of fastest qualifier Ravnik. Fabian Alejandro Bonanno of Argentina followed in third, but was slowed down by problems with his chain.
“I escaped the heavy traffic right off the start with just Cestnik in front of me,” said Rutar. “We were really flying – much faster than in practice. We were hitting about 70kph in that deep gravel. Then he crashed and I had nobody else in front of me all the way to the finish.”
After his crashes, Cestnik caught up and entered the technical mid-section in third place, where he caught up with Ravnik. “We were touching elbows and I didn’t want us both to go down in those rocks,” said Ravnik.
Rutar will defend his national downhill series lead in the finals next Saturday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
Dowka U Bc top 10 results:
- Nejc Rutar (Slo, MBK Hidria) 21:03
- Jan Cestnik (Slo, Cult MTB Trbovlje) +0:27
- Primož Ravnik (Slo, Sportpoint) +0:33
- Anže Bizjak (Slo, Bam.Bi) +1:41
- Rok Bizjak (Slo, Kostanjevica na Krasu) +2:01
- Clive Forth (GBr, Iron Horse-Extreme) +2:39
- Miha Jakopič (Slo, ŠKTD Avče) +3:53
- Simon Godec (Slo) +4:01
- Jonathan Tubman (GBr) +4:27
- Matej Koren (Slo, Korte) +4:01
36 finished, 1 DNF