Crankworx Canadian Open DH Recap

Emmeline Ragot took home the win for the women with 5.34 seconds to spare over local fav and World Cup racing regular Claire Buchar of Chain Reaction Cycles, while Gee Atherton beat out Lewis Buchanan of MS-Evil by 5.02 seconds.

By: Colin Meagher

The Whistler Canadian Open DH race may play second fiddle to the Crankworx Slopestyle Comp, but anyone who thinks it is somehow a lesser event just needs to take one run down the track to realize that this three-minute course is every bit as legit as any World Cup track out there.

This year’s edition saw the same track as last year, but the dry, dusty conditions made it virtually impossible to see during training. The bomb holes, the jumps, the roots, the rocks…everything was a blur in training. With a minute between racers during the actual event, the race runs were much better as far as vision went; but there was still just enough dust hanging in the air from earlier racers to make the all-out physical effort of a race run akin to breathing powdered glass for three plus minutes—race winner Gee Atherton was still coughing dust out of his lungs an hour after awards went down.

Ragot had a mostly clean run to decisively beat out fellow World Cup racer Claire Buchar for the win, also gaining a jolt of confidence heading into the World Cup Finals in Windham two weeks from now and the World Championships in Quebec the week following.

“The win here is good, for sure. But I will have a new bike for Worlds, too—something a bit custom,” confessed Ragot. “It will be all white, and a bit lighter weight than the bike I am racing here.”

Gee was the sole Atherton racing today, with brother Dan still laid up from a dirt jumping accident and sister Rachel opting to put in a training block heading to Windham and then World Champs. Still, Gee was treating it as seriously as any other race, taking multiple training runs the morning of the race to dial in the track vs. his standard two pre-race runs. The efforts paid off, as he came in a hair over five seconds faster than runner up Lewis Buchanon.

They make DH fans tough at Whistler; despite the rough trackside conditions, almost half of the spectators were walking course in flip flops.

They make DH fans tough at Whistler; despite the rough trackside conditions, almost half of the spectators were walking course in flip flops.

It must have been the heat... Despite the burly gnar factor of the track, a number of racers opted for almost no armor.

It must have been the heat... Despite the burly gnar factor of the track, a number of racers opted for almost no armor.

Andrew Neethling checking to see if his brand new Trek World Racing smoke generator was working appropriately before heading off to the next round of the World Cup.

Andrew Neethling checking to see if his brand new Trek World Racing smoke generator was working appropriately before heading off to the next round of the World Cup.

The dusty conditions made training runs an exercise in biking by Braille. Riders found that not only did the dust make seeing during training runs next to impossible, but going flat out left them coughing dust out of their lungs hours after the race was over.

The dusty conditions made training runs an exercise in biking by Braille. Riders found that not only did the dust make seeing during training runs next to impossible, but going flat out left them coughing dust out of their lungs hours after the race was over.

With Go Pro as a Crankworx sponsor, big brother was everywhere. Check it out at http://www.goprocamera.com/players/channel_bike.php

With Go Pro as a Crankworx sponsor, big brother was everywhere. Check it out at:
http://www.goprocamera.com/players/channel_bike.php

Emmeline Ragot's rally run for the win had even the most jaded hecklers on the rock roll-in cheering her on.

Emmeline Ragot's rally run for the win had even the most jaded hecklers on the rock roll-in cheering her on.

Brendan Fairclough was looking pinned during practice, but a front flat during his race run took the Monster-Specialized rider out of contention.

Brendan Fairclough was looking pinned during practice, but a front flat during his race run took the Monster-Specialized rider out of contention.

El Diablo

El Diablo

It's more typical to see Jordie Lunn hucking huge vs raging down a DH track, but the Jamis rider has been rediscovering his gravity racing roots. He came in way back in 44th, but he's having fun and getting faster.  Nor is he the lone ''free rider'' on the race scene: look for Thomas Vanderham to race at Windham and Mount St Anne

It's more typical to see Jordie Lunn hucking huge vs raging down a DH track, but the Jamis rider has been rediscovering his gravity racing roots. He may have come in 44th, but he's having fun and getting faster. Nor is he the lone ''free rider'' on the race scene: look for Thomas Vanderham to race at Windham and Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Ryan Condrashaft was airing it out aboard his Intense 951.

Ryan Condrashoff was airing it out aboard his Intense 951.

Bucking bronco rider Jamie Biluk somehow kept the rubber side down on this section of the track during his run,

Bucking bronco rider Jamie Biluk somehow kept the rubber side down on this section of the track during his run.

MS-Evil had three of their five riders in the top ten in the Crankworx Canadian Open DH--Steve Smith had a flat while Luke Strobel opted to rest a tweaked shoulder back in Seattle. Lewis Buchanon, the youngest rider on the team, led out the bunch with a second place finish behind Gee Atherton.

MS-Evil had three of their five riders in the top ten in the Crankworx Canadian Open DH--Steve Smith had a flat while Luke Strobel opted to rest a tweaked shoulder back in Seattle. Lewis Buchanan, the youngest rider on the team, led out the bunch with a second place finish behind Gee Atherton.

Justin Leov kept a business like approach to his run, No flashy moves, just straight up racing.

Justin Leov kept a business like approach to his run, No flashy moves, just straight up racing.

Gee Atherton with the money run.

Gee Atherton with the money run.

Ragot's performance-and an absent Anne Caroline Chausson-cemented the Crankworx Queen crown for the Suspension Center rider from France.

Ragot's performance--and an absent Anne Caroline Chausson--cemented the Crankworx Queen crown for the Suspension Center rider from France.

Ragot and Atherton were also crowned as the Crankworx “Queen” and “King” respectively.

That second place for Buchanan was a huge boost for the sixteen year-old’s confidence as he heads to Windham; not only did he beat out junior WC leader Troy Brosnan, but he legitimately put the wood to a number of top shelf WC racers, too. Hopefully the quiet Scottish junior can use the momentum to finish his first World Cup season on a high note.

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