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When Mathieu van der Poel turned the cycling world on its head by winning cyclocross, road and mountain bike races on the biggest stage, fans were amazed. He also opened the door for a generation of riders who see their futures on the road, in the mountains and boggy fields.

Standing in the finish corral having bested a stacked field of some of the world’s fastest and most skilled riders, Kyle Strait (USA) could still barely believe he’d managed to tame the new 100% Dual Slalom Rotorua track.

The Faces team of Candice Lill and Adelheid Morath got their FNB Wines2Whales title defence off to a winning start on Friday, 25 October. Departing Lourensford Wine Estate in consistent rain, the Elite Women endured a muddy day on the bike, but that did little to dampen Lill and Morath’s spirits as they thrived in the wet conditions.

Besides some of the scene’s biggest names, like Andreu Lacondeguy, Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Ethan Nell and Rampage veterans like Kyle Strait, Kurt Sorge and Tyler McCaul, Belgian Slopestyle wizard Thomas Genon will be competing in his eighth Red Bull Rampage, where he’s finished within the Top 6 four times prior.

Saturday, Day 3, was move day. The plan was for racers to pedal out of camp from Takhlakh Lake and to pedal into camp at Green River Horse Camp at the end of the day – Mother Nature had other plans. The night before, as Race Director Nick Gibson delivered the details for the following day’s race, it had begun to snow.

Racers arrived at basecamp on Wednesday and for those who have never experienced a Trans-Cascadia event, they were in for a bit of a surprise.