Photos by: @freeridenewzealand
The off-season training put in by the Fox MTB team paid off big at the kickoff to the 2019 season - Crankworx Rotorua. Threatening skies held off most of the week and the dirt was prime for racing and ripping all week long. With 2 wins and 10 podiums across the 7 different disciplines the Fox athletes made Rotorua feel like a second home for Fox fans in attendance!
For the second year in a row, Brett Rheeder started his season off with a bang. Adding multiple new tricks to his program, he rode a nearly flawless run to capture the top step of the podium in the annual Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza.
Anthony Messere was riding on the limit all week and put together a great run to place 6th in the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. His top six finish means he's punched his ticket into the next round at Crankworx Innsbruck!
Finn Iles put in a blistering run in the warmest conditions of the week in the men’s Crankworx Rotorua Downhill. He rode clean and in control and his performance left him just 0.09 seconds off the top step of the podium. It was a great performance, but being so close left him a little frustrated - something he will use as motivation for next month's Maribor!
It was a disappointing start to the year for current UCI DH World Champ Loic Bruni as a flat in the top section of the course derailed his chances in Friday's Crankworx DH race. He looked good in training and was ready to compete in his first test of the 2019 season. Always a fan favorite, Loic lightened a bad moment as he asked a spectator for his pump and tried to bring the tire back to life. "I just wanted to finish," said Loic moments after the race. This has motivated him even more for the first UCI DH race in Maribor.
Tahnée Seagrave battled through multiple injuries throughout the week to put together a great set of results. She rode multiple disciplines and ended up with three third-place finishes - Dual Slalom, Downhill, and Pump Track. Truly an all-around talent, Tahnée is also a crowd favorite who made the Rotorua fans feel special all week long!
Speaking of fan favorites, local boy Keegan Wright was the hardest working athlete in Rotorua. Competing in nearly every pro men’s division race, he finished the event with a silver medal in both Pump Track and EWS as well as taking the top step in the Crankworx Dual Slalom. His amazing overall performance finds him in second place overall for the King of Crankworx points!
Bas van Steenbergen was another all-around performer in Rotorua. He finished second behind teammate Keegan Wright in the Dual Slalom and was the only Fox athlete to podium in the Rotorua Air DH. These points have him in the running for the overall King of Crankworx title.
Look for Fox MTB athletes at the start of the UCI DH World Cup season in the historic Maribor, Slovenia and then at the second stop of the Crankworx series in Innsbruck, Austria.
Defending UCI World Champion, Loic Bruni, put on a magnificent performance to claim his 3rd UCI MTB DH World Champs title in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. In the closest of contests, Bruni edged out his nearest competitor by 0.2 seconds to take his 2nd consecutive World Champs title.
Last weekend, the 2018 UCI Downhill World Cup series made it’s way to the trails of Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada - the only North American stop on the schedule this season. It’s the 26th time that the World Cup has been held on the technical and challenging slopes of this legendary mountain which has provided many breathtaking races over the years.
This year would be another thriller, as the top three finishers were separated by just over a second. In the end, Fox team rider and current World Champion, Loic Bruni, would claim the top spot. With Loris Vergier’s win in Vallnord, this makes it two in a row for the Fox MTB Downhill Team.
Loic was on top of his game in Mont-Sainte-Anne. He blazed through the second and third sections of the course and stayed consistent the rest of the way to secure a .3 second win over a top-flight field.
"I’ve been trying all year, and today it happened. I’m so happy; It’s a sick place for me I’ve always loved [Mont St. Anne] and yeah... strong weekend."
The victory ended a rough streak for Loic, as multiple injuries, and a series of bad luck has kept him winless in the World Cup series so far this year. It was great to see it all come together for him in Canada. Loic looks to keep the momentum going as he and the rest of the Fox MTB Global DH team make their way to the loose and grassy slopes of La Bresse France for the first time since 2011.
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