TLD Riders Dominate Canadian Open DH at Crankworx
Kokanee Crankworx - Whistler, BC
The Canadian Open Downhill presented by Kona went off this past Sunday, taking over the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. The final event of Kokanee Crankworx 2009 saw nearly 300 riders take part in the race. Each rider had one run to clock their best time on a newly redesigned, very challenging and burly DH course.
The Canadian Open DH course, designed by pro mountain biker Tyler Morland, is a technical and fast course with big gap jumps and steep drops, testing the riders' skill level from top to bottom. "The track dried out and riders had to push hard," says Stacey Kohut, announcer and DH racer. "It was a bit loose which usually means very fast."
"Crankworx is amazing, I love it," says Sam Hill, 2009 Canadian Open DH presented by Kona champ. "I had to push it on this track, it was pretty loose but fast. It's great to see my teammate Brendan come second as well."
In the Pro Men category, Sam Hill(AUS) took first place for the second year in a row with a time of 3:02.56; Brendan Fairclough(GBR) took second place with a time of 3:10.73; Steve Smith(CAN) took third place with a time of 3:11.77.
Monster Energy Garbanzo DH
Sam Hill also took third place in the Pro Men Garbanzo Downhill event with a time of 13:48.31. Canadian native Steve Smith finished 7th with a 14:16.96, and Brendan Fairclough finished 11th with a final time of 14:22.18.
Brian Lopes Unstoppable
The Air DH event featured over 340 competitors ripping down the most well known DH course on the planet, A-Line. TLD rider Brian Lopes continued his reign in the No. 1 spot with a fourth straight Air DH title, scoring the fastest time of the day at 4:20:45.
"This race gets harder every year, everyone is gunning for you," says Lopes. "The rain made it a little slick in some corners but I relied on my fitness and tried to put a smooth run together."
Lopes (USA), claimed first with a time of 4:20.45; Chris Kovarik (AUS) took second place with a time of 4:23.48; Andrew Neethling (RSA), took third place with a time of 4:24.42; and Jared Rando (AUS) took fourth place with a time of 4:25.01.
Everyone was gunning for him but that may be the secret to Brian Lopes's success. After taking second in last Saturday's Dual Slalom, Lopes had something to prove and came in fast and strong to claim his position at the top with Jared Rando of Australia taking second place and Johannes Fischbach of Germany coming in third fastest overall.
"The kids are getting faster, but for me it is harder to lose than it is to pedal harder and train harder," says Lopes after his win.
American Jill Kintner easily held her own against the Pro Women's field with an aggressive and smooth approach to the winding course. She placed first, Emmeline Ragot of France took second; and Leigh Donovan of USA took third.
"I wasn't making any mistakes and I just kept it fast and smooth," says Kintner. "Events at Kokanee Crankworx set the standard and it is one of my favourite places to come and ride as well as compete."
Kintner, who took bronze in BMX racing at the sport's debut at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, also claimed first in last Saturday's Dual Slalom event; establishing her as the woman to beat today.
Shaun Palmer, multi X-Game gold medalist and DH World Cup Champion had a strong showing and was a crowd favourite, but didn't podium.
The Canadian Open Enduro lived up to its name as the toughest completion of the week for both pros and amateurs. The emerging event concept put some of the world's best downhill, freeride and cross country riders through the paces with a grueling top to bottom race in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
Brian Lopes proved his supremacy with yet another win on the Kokanee Crankworx stage; he was the only rider to finish in less than 20 minutes and took first in the Pro Men category against Whistler locals Matt Ryan in second and Chris Johnston in third overcoming an early charge by Whistler's Richie Schley.
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