|Not a member? Sign up now!|
The Kokanee Crankworx mountainbike week at the Whistler Bike Park is a massive drawcard for the worlds's best gravity racers and freestyle riders. Many World Cup teams are racing at Crankworx again this year, joining the huge crowds of amatuer racers, including a large contingent of New Zealand riders who have made the pilgrimage to Canada this year.
Yesterday's Garbanzo is probably the longest, hardest downhill run competed for at a world class level. Dropping 3500 metres from the highest point in the Whistler Bike Park, riders have to be on point for the best part of 15 minutes on some of the most challenging and changing terrain they will face anywhere. Sam Blenkinsop (Lappierre International, Wanganui) placed third here last year, but was not content with that result - winning yesterday was the perfect way to claim this prestigious race. Although having a hard impact with a tree mid course, Blenkinsop was able to maintain his focus and form to win by 12 seconds against a strong field. With several World Cup top ten results to his name already this season, the Garbanzo win comes at a key time for the young Wanganui flier, leading in to the last part of the World Cup season and the World Championships in September.
Teammate Cam Cole (Christchuirch) was another to shine in the Pro field on the long course with a sixth place, with George Brannigan (Devinci Global, Hawkes Bay) 13th and Levin's Kurt Lancaster 21st.
In the Senior amateur grade, Rotorua's Dom Stulen raced to 7th, Adrian Loo (Invercargill) 12th, Cam Johnson (Alexandra) 22nd and Luke de Jager (Levin) 38th.
Full Results Garbanzo:
Cole Strong at Canadian Open Downhill, Crankworx
The lead-out event on Monday at Crankworx this year was the Canadian Open Downhill, an event in the standard downhill format racers are generally more conditioned to. A very technical course, New Zealand riders were to the fore again right through the results, with Cam Cole 4th. The Lapierre Team started the week with their top two riders continuing on from their strong World Cup results, with Blenkinsop in 10th.
George Brannigan continued to find his form and consistency racing to 20th.
Also racing in the Pro field at the Canadian Open were Dan Sims (Auckland) in 29th, and James Dodds (Zerode, Rortorua) in 39th.
The Senior amatuer grade also featured strong performances from the New Zealand riders - Leighton Kirk (Dunedin) 2nd, Ben Tyas (Auckland) 9th, Adrian Loo 10th, and Cam Johnson 21st.
Full Results Canadian Open:
Nick Bygate Podium Second at Avalanche Cup, France
Racing in Europe at the Oz en Osains Avalanche Cup in France on Sunday, Nelson's Nick Bygate pulled out his best result of his European campaign to date with a second in the Juniors amongst a class multi-national field.
Also racing at the head of the Open category, Tom Matthews (Christchurch) was 4th.
Full Results Avalanche Cup: