What a sensational premiere in Austria! The world's best slopestyle athletes competed at Crankworx Innsbruck for the first time in the history of the FMB World Tour this weekend and put on a huge show for the fans! It turned out that the timing at high noon was perfect for a duel, which will go down as one of the most exciting battles in slopestyle history.
The weather could not have been any better for the first ever Crankworx Innsbruck event. In Run 1 it was polish athlete Szymon Godziek, who was the first to get the crowd roaring with a great run beneath the blistering sun. His score of 86.00 didn't hold up for long though, because Tomas Lemoine turned up the heat instantly. The Frenchman stormed over the 8 features with lots of style, earning himself the top spot with a score of 89.33. No one was able to contend Lemoines lead, not even steezy Thomas Genon (82.00) or stylish Emil Johansson (84.00). It all came down to Nicholi Rogatkin and Brett Rheeder. Part one of their showdown was decided by the Canadian, who was obviously still riding the wave of success from Les Gets. He put up a smooth and near automatic looking run including an opposite corked 720 bar spin to score 94.33. Nicholi couldn't quite keep up with Rheeder's style and had to settle for second place (91.66).
After the sun and the riders had taken a short break, the clouds started to open up for a grand finale. Rider after rider dropped in and failed to put ultimate pressure on the top three and the suspense started to mount as we approached one of the most awesome finishes ever. With neither Genon (6th), Johansson (5th), Godziek (4th) nor Lemoine (3rd) able to improve their scores, all eyes were on Nicholi Rogatkin at the top of the start tower. Would he be able to pull it off and bounce back from the unlucky showing in Les Gets a week before? The crowd went quiet as he rolled into the drop, only to consistenly pump up the noise up to the final feature, where they finally exploded when the American pulled off a world's first cash roll-tailwhip! Scoring 96.00 Nicholi Rogatkin took over the first spot and raised the bar for Brett Rheeder. Would he be able to fight back? He certainly stepped it up! It was always going to be a super close call because Rheeder's run was smooth and had it all. The suspense was unbearable, while waiting for the final score to come through. 95.66! The world's first cash roll-tailwhip was the deal breaker in an insane final at Crankworx Innsbruck. Nicholi is now hot on Emil Johansson's heels thanks to his second FMB Diamond Series win of the season.
Nicholi Rogatkin: "It is hard for me to put into words. I was already super stoked about the first run. I saw all the people here, so stoked for us, and Rheeder threw down an insane run, so I knew I had to give it everything I had. It was a last second decision to add the cash roll-tailwhip. I have never done that one before. It worked for me and I hope the people liked it!"
Crankworx Innsbruck Podium:
Nicholi Rogatkin (USA) - 96.00 - Winning run
Brett Rheeder (CAN) - 95.66 - 2nd place run
Tomas Lemoine (FRA) - 89.33 - 3rd place run