EVENT: TEAM FRANCE WINS!
CRANKWORX WORLD TOUR 2015 LES 2 ALPES
The result is out! Team France's representatives were a radder lot at their home ground. Rémi Thirion started off with a win in the Official European Whip-Off Championships, and then Adrien Loron came in with 3rd place in the Dual Speed and Style. Then it is another gold at the pump track for Anne-Caroline Chausson at the Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox. And to wrap things up, Loic Bruni and Myriam Niocole both got 1st place for the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Downhill presented by iXS. Home ground advantage or otherwise, a win's a win. So a big congrats to the French team! Here's the details of the past few days.
LES 2 ALPES PUMP TRACK CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY ROCKSHOX
Anne Caroline Chausson will go down in history for winning her first pump track race—but just.
The Olympic BMX champion had never actually raced the bumps until she hit the dust in Les 2 Alpes, nearly delivering the first tie finish on a Crankworx pump track against fellow superstar Anneke BEERTEN (NED).
“When I saw the board, I looked under my name, not under Anneke’s name, so I knew I was there—I knew I had won,” she said. She didn’t realize Beerten was also listed in first spot.
Having won the pump track in Rotorua earlier this year, Beerten was picked to act as team captain for ‘The World’ in the Crankworx France vs. The World competition and her second place finish had an entire team waiting to for the results, which took several minutes to collect.
When the timing was finally verified, Chausson took her win by 0.002 seconds—as close as it’s ever been at Crankworx.
“Pump track is all about timing…it’s not a big gap. It’s really tight, that’s for sure, and that’s what makes it exciting,” she said from the finish corral.
The men’s winner, by contrast, didn’t need much proof to show his dominance. After bringing in the first win for Team France with a third place finish in the D.S.&S., Adrien LORON (FRA) rallied to take first place in the pump track, a stunning end to his evening.
“I can’t imagine something better. It’s just amazing. I won it here two years ago and from this time, it was really hard to win again,” he said.
Loron beat Joost WHICHMAN, Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge champion and the foremost FourCross rider in the world. The crowd favourite, however, appeared to be fourth place finisher, Chaney GUENNET (FRA), who is from Chateauroux, France, just a village away from Les 2 Alpes.
DUAL SPEED AND STYLE
Results for first and second place in the D.S.&S., held just two hours before, put the Brits on top with buddies Bernard KERR and Sam REYNOLDS one and two.
Speed, once again, trumped style as the Crankworx judges tried a second run at a more evolved points system, awarding defined time differentials for delivering on specific tricks. Kerr leaned on his speed and the bet paid off, delivering his first Crankworx win in the six years he’s competed at the festival.
“Honestly, if (Cam) Zink hadn’t ridden badly against me, he might have taken it because he’s so fast and so good at tricks,” said Kerr, who doesn’t have the freeride flare in his own repertoire.
Kerr only narrowly edged out Reynolds, who conceded without excuse.
“It’s hard enough to make it through every single run with no mistakes. Unfortunately, my mistake was in the final, but whatever. I just went a little bit too fast on both runs and I’m sure I lost a little bit of time,” said Reynolds.
Coming in third, Adrien Loron helped push ‘Team France’ onto the scoreboard in the Crankworx France vs. The World competition and landed himself the top performance of the Les 2 Alpes festival thus far. The standings for France vs. The World have The World out front, though the teams remain neck-and-neck after day two.
LOIC AND MYRIAM BRINGS IT HOME FOR TEAM FRANCE
CRANKWORX LES 2 ALPES DOWNHILL PRESENTED BY iXS DELIVERS FRENCH WINS
The Crankworx France vs. The World team captain and current leader in the Crankworx DH Championships, Loic Bruni, seized the win in the Les 2 Alpes downhill race with a commanding lead and a roar from the French fans.
For much of the race, the three-time winner of the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Downhill presented by iXS – European Downhill Cup, Gee Atherton, held first spot, having had an early crack at the baby powder-fine dust of the run. Once the top racers came barrelling down the hill, however, he quickly found himself out of the hot seat, fellow countryman Bernard KERR (GBR) knocking him down, and Bruni securing the win by a stellar 4.6 seconds for a 3:44.7 finish.
“My run was quite loose, but I felt fast. It’s good in front of Remi and, you know, we’re Team France, so it’s good,” he said, referencing the friendly Crankworx competition to see if France would dominate on home turf.
Altogether, Team France secured three first place wins, putting them well out front of Team World; although, the wins did not come easily—including Bruni’s. Heading into the gate at the top of the course, he discovered he had a flat tire and almost had to drop out as he did not bring mechanical support.
“I saw my friend. He came here to watch and ride and he had a Lapierre—a good tire—and then he gave me his wheel just before I raced,” said Bruni, who was all smiles on the finish line.
Wyn Masters, who was seeded first coming into the finals, was not so lucky, getting a flat on course to finish out of contention.
Bruni’s fellow Team France teammate Myriam NICOLE (FRA), meanwhile, said she felt she was in a shaky position before her last run, having just returned to racing.
“On this track, it’s a bit hard to do a really perfect run, so there is always some mistake. I haven’t been racing for more than two months because I had a broken collarbone, so I’m really happy with the win,” she said.
Sitting five seconds behind after the seeding run, Nicole had to lay it on the line to beat Tracey HANNAH (AUS), whom she edged out by .02 seconds for a 4:28.3 win. Asked why she feels the French riders are doing so well, Nicole chalked it up to the terrain.
“I think we’ve got good trainers in France and the Alps help us to do good as well,” she said.
France versus The World was devised to see whether the strong French mountain bikers were reaching the status of French road cyclists, leading the pack in the two-wheel world, though it did not have any monetary value on the line.
This year, Crankworx did introduce a significantly larger prize pot, however, rolling out four series races and the King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour. Some $10,000 is riding on the Crankworx DH Championships, for the rider who can win all four races, and $25,000 for the King and Queen of Crankworx, and that has one a frontrunner for King sweating. Bernard Kerr admitted he has woken up from fitful sleeps over the standings, particularly one where he dreamed it was like a video game.
“It was like a game like Mad Skills MotoCross or something, but like a Pump Track version and I clicked finish too early and I came in sixth and I woke up like, why did I click finish? I could have done better,” said Kerr, noting $25,000 is money worth worrying over.
This final event wraps up the last of four days of competition at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes and the second stop of the Crankworx World Tour. The Crankworx Whistler runs August 7-16, 2015.
EVENT RESULTS AT A GLANCE
Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox
1. Anne Caroline CHAUSSON (FRA)
2. Anneke BEERTEN (NED)
3. Emilie SIEGENTHALER (SUI)
1. Adrien LORON (FRA)
2. Joost WICHMAN (NED)
3. Tomas LEMOINE (FRA)
1. Bernard KERR (GBR)
2. Sam REYNOLDS (GBR)
3. Adrien LORON (FRA)
Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Downhill presented by iXS – European Downhill Cup
Loic Bruni (FRA)
Remi Thirion (FRA)
Sam Blenkinsop (NZL)
Guillaume Cauvin (FRA)
Bernard Kerr (GBR)
Myriam Nicole (FRA)
Tracey Hannah (AUS)
Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI)
Elenora Farina (ITA)
Carina Cappellari (SUI)
FRANCE VS THE WORLD FINAL STANDING: FRANCE WINS!
Official European Whip-Off Championships— Rémi Thirion
D.S.&S.— Tomas Lemoine and Adrien Loron 3rd
Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox — Anne-Caroline Chausson 1st and Corentin “CoCo” Percier Quarter Finalist
Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle — Antoine Bizet and Louis Reboul
Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Downhill presented by iXS — Loic Bruni 1st and Myriam Nicole 1st
All information and photos by Crankworx