Slopestyle-Spektakel im Sonnenuntergang
As Friday’s qualifications had to be cancelled due to high winds, 31 riders dropped in for the finals in front of the epic backdrop of Leogang’s spectacular mountains. The biggest final in the event’s 12-year history promised to be more than exciting as the pre-qualification already saw Tom Isted (GBR) throwing down double-backflips.
The riders did not disappoint as they showed the crowd and judges a host of spectacular trick combinations and the slowly setting sun only added to the atmosphere. The start of the event gave the Austrian crowd plenty to cheer for as their fellow countryman Bernd Winkler took the hot-seat early on. It didn’t last very long though as the finals saw riders put down spectacular runs right out of the gate.
At halftime, Jakub Vencl (CZE) found himself in first place after he edged out pre-qualifying winner Adrian Tell (NOR) and German Erik Fedko for the halftime lead. One of the more astonishing moments in recent FMB history saw Nicholi Rogatkin casing a jump and snapping his seat clean off during his first run. He did not notice the missing seat and went on to throw down his signature ‘Twister’ for the crowd. Luckily, he landed it clean.
Early on in the second runs, it didn’t seem like anyone would be able to challenge the top 3 until Alex Alanko (SWE) put down a sensational run that saw him move up from 18th to second place. Alanko’s performance seemed to motivate the riders still at the top and soon after Simon Pagès took the hot-seat with a run that included - amongst others – an opposite backflip-tailwhip that saw the crowd go wild. 2016-winner Caverzasi did not give him much time to enjoy the top spot though. The Italian opened his run with a frontflip-barspin-x-up and followed it up with an opposite 360, frontflip-no-hander, cash roll, no-hander and a backflip-barspin-to-tailwhip. The only one left at the top able to threaten Caverzasi was Nicholi Rogatkin but after a clean run - including his second twister of the day – the judges saw the Italian in first by the tiniest of margins.
Asking Caverzasi how defending his title at 26TRIX felt, he said: “I feel amazing. I was thinking about the fact that no one has ever won 26TRIX twice in a row when I left home. I crashed hard last Saturday and hurt my shoulder quite badly, so I was not sure I’d be up for it. I did have a bit of luck as quite a few riders struggled with their runs today. On the other hand I showed quite a few tricks that were new for me like a cashroll and frontflip-combos, to try and get as my points as possible.”
The top 10 are as follows:
The complete results can be found here.
Most of the mountain-bike scene meets up at the Out of Bounds Festival at Saalfelden Leogang. The festival features several high-class side-events next to 26TRIX and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Apart from the Pit- and Expo-Areas that fans can enjoy all weekend long, Sunday will also feature a spectacular show by the "Flying Bulls" und a trail show with Austrian mountain bike legend Tom Öhler. Thursday and Friday already saw a pump track, bunny hop and kids pump track competition. The Out of Bounds festival will close with the After Bike Party after the downhill greats have given it their all on the "Speedster" on Sunday.