The fifth round of the iXS European Downhill Cup 2016 is in the books and the stage has been set for the final round in Leogang. This weekend David Trummer and Carina Cappellari clearly dominated the field of 200 riders from 27 different nations.
This season the iXS European series made its way to Les Deux Alpes for the third time already. Over the last years Les Deux Alpes has been established as one of the most popular venues of the different iXS Cups and even though the European version of the Crankworx Festival has moved on to Les Gets, it definitely did not lose a trace of its attraction. Therefore, the iXS EDC once more returned to host one of the highlights of the summer season!
Already the track walk on Friday revealed that the 2.7 km track with an incredible 700-meter difference in altitude would bring on some real speed this weekend – all faint-hearted beware! Combined with the overall dry conditions, grip seemed to be the number one issue this weekend. But if you know one thing for sure in the mountains it is that you can never be sure of anything. Halfway through the first training session a thunderstorm broke, the lift had to be closed immediately and the training session ended rather abruptly. The riders had no other option than to wait and hope for the best for the following two days. And it seemed like their prayers had been heard…
After Friday’s lost training session, the track was even more crowded than usual on Saturday morning. Fortunately, the race only allowed for a rather small field of starters and in the end, the riders were provided with an effective training session after all. Instead of the dusty conditions that seemed to have caused some trouble on Friday, the riders now had to face a track with possibly even less grip, which made it nearly impossible to find the right pace for Sunday’s race.
Just when the weather seemed to be back at its best again during the seeding run in the afternoon the Elite Men category experienced a rather unfortunate déjà vu. Just like in EDC #4 in Spicak, it started raining just in time for the top riders’ seeding and more than one of them needed to fall back on their protected status to reach Sunday’s Super Final. Stanislav Sehnal (CZE - Banshee Bikes), however, did not seem to have any problems at all and set the best time of the seeding with 4:00.817 minutes. Fastest rider of the female categories was Monika Hrastnik (SLO - Blackthorn), who seems to gradually work her way up the rankings towards Carina Cappellari (SUI - Radon Magura Factory) and might even still have the chance to reach the podium.
Sunday’s race was opened by the Masters category. In the end, World Cup veteran and winner of the World Cup in 1997 Tomas Misser (ESP - GUAK) once more proved his skills, after he already won last season’s Masters World Championships. Winner of the EDC season 2015 Rowan Sorrell (GBR - Bikepark Wales) finished in second place, followed by Thomas Ryser (SUI - Radon Hot-Trail Racing) in third.
Speaking of the World Cup ’97… the riders of the U17 who weren’t even born when the Masters celebrated their greatest victories also provided the crowd with quite a show. Kade Edwards (GBR - Atherton Academy) delivered a best time of 4:00.883 minutes which would have landed him among the top 25 in the Super Final.
Giacomo Masiero (ITA - 3 Stars) finished in second, while Marius Justino (FRA - Us Cagnes VTT) completed the podium. In the U19 Moritz Ribarich (AUT - Swiss Downhill Syndicate) succeeded, followed by Adam Rojcek (SVK - Banshee Bikes) and Loris Michellod (SUI - Verbier Bikepark). Remember their names well – this is Europe’s next downhill generation!
The Elite Women category was not as big as usual, but a smaller field of competitors does not necessarily mean a lack of competition – on the contrary! Especially 2016’s protagonists seized their chance to collect some last points for rankings before the finals in Leogang. Carina Cappellari succeeded and managed to defend her current third place in the rankings.
Seeding run fastest Monika Hrastnik missed the best time only by split seconds and ended up in second place. Veronika Widmann (ITA - Bike Club Egna Neumarkt) finished in third place, which sufficed to move up to the top of the rankings, leaving her strongest competitor Jana Bartova (CZE - RRP, 644 points) behind for the time being. Taking into account that one result will be deleted, however, brings Widmann a total of 648 points at the moment. It seems like the heat in the fight for the title has been turned up, ladies, and we really can’t wait for the finals!
In the Elite Men Super Final some of the odds-on favorites started right at the beginning, leaving only little hope for anyone else to reach the Red Bull Hot Seat. Guillaume Cauvin (FRA - Giant Factory Off Road Team) started first, but had to give way to David Trummer (AUT - RRP) immediately.
Trummer set a real promising best time of 3:48.247 minutes which was far from both the best times of the seeding and the Small Final. Only Loris Revelli (ITA - Argentina Bike) seemed to be closing in, but missed the best time by split seconds.
After that, there were only 3 riders left. For Martin Lebl (CZE - CTM Racing Team) the track took its toll and he had no chance to reach the podium. Andreas Kolb (AUT - Sports Nut DH Team) also had some problems during his run and did not reach the top 10 either. Last man down the hill was Stanislav Sehnal, the victor of the seeding. When he crossed the finish line, he missed Trummer’s result by 3 seconds, but still celebrated the yet best result of his career. In the end, Trummer succeeded, followed by Revelli and Sehnal. It should be noted that no one in the top 6 was older than 22, which proves the European Cup' role as one of the best stones to step on when aiming at an international downhill career.
A short review of the current rankings reveals that Johannes Fischbach (GER - Radon Magura Factory) is still in the lead, closely followed by Slawomir Lukasik (POL - NS Bikes FroPro) who both did not participate in last weekend’s race. With his victory in Les2Alpes, David Trummer reached the third place of the rankings, followed by Faustin Figaret (FRA - Radon Magura Factory), Loris Revelli and Stanislav Sehnal.
It was the last race before the finals and nothing has been decided yet. We are looking forward to an extremely exciting season finale in Leogang in September! For more information, visit www.ixsdownhillcup.com