iconsiconsiconsicons

Cam Zink (USA) proved that he is the master of both speed and style yesterday, claiming top spot in the GT Dual Speed & Style at Crankworx in Les 2 Alpes. The event kicked off the second day of competition in the French Alps.

"I feel great," said Zink from the finish corral. "Definitely starting off the fourth of July right."

 

 

The American champ wasn't the only one celebrating both a great performance and the American holiday - second place rider Greg Watts (USA) was all smiles.

"I'm stoked that first and second are Americans on Independence Day," said Watts of the one and two finish.

Rounding out the top three was Bernard Kerr (GBR) who earned his spot on the podium in a final duel with Adrien Loron (FRA).

Day Two of Crankworx Les 2 Alpes competition brought 16 riders out for the first event of the day - an event about speed, style and smarts.

"This whole contest is so much strategy," explained Zink, citing the mid-race psychology he used to best his opponents all day. "You know what tricks they have but you don't know what they're going to do. In the end though you don't even have time to be nervous...you're just strategizing."

"It's almost like two different sides of your brain that have to meld together in one run, in like a split second too," agreed Watts. "You have to be fast and you have to have some good tricks. but it's also knowing your competitor and really knowing the situation."

It was this combination of skills that pushed the top riders through the early rounds. The roster of 16 battled against each other in groups of two, narrowing the field in the quarter final down to eight riders: Bernard Kerr and Brendan Howey (CAN), Greg Watts and Sam Reynolds (GBR), Adrien Loron and Quentin Derbier (FRA), and Cam Zink and Mitch Chubey (CAN). As each round moved forward, speed and style were both visibly tighter, as riders fought their way through the course that Watts described as "really fast."

In the semi-finals it was Kerr and Watts battling to advance, along with Zink and Loron. Watts and Zink both won the style bonus in their respective rounds, earning them each a shot at first.

In the battle for third, Kerr and Loron were neck and neck through most of the course, with Kerr just inching past the French rider near the end of the race. With each winning a bonus for style, it was Kerr who walked away with the last available podium spot.

Zink took the early lead as the two Americans ripped through the course during the Big Final. As they made their way to the bottom, their fate was left to the judges.

"They were pretty close in speed - both really fast," said head judge Alex Dropsy. "But in the end Cam pulled out bigger tricks on the bonus jumps, and that's what made the difference."

Noticeably absent from the field was last year's King of Speed and Style in both Les 2 Alpes and Whistler, Martin Soderstrom (SWE). Anticipation had been building for Soderstrom's return to Crankworx competition - the rider sustained a season-ending injury during Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler last year. He had been rumoured to be competing in today's event, but after suffering a concussion last week, opted instead to rest ahead of tomorrow's Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle.

The GT Dual Speed & Style has become a favourite amongst riders who appreciate the mix of skills it requires. Winners of head-to-head battles are chosen based on time and jump scores. In Les 2 Alpes, two jumps await riders on each track, with one point per jump up for grabs. Judges determine the winner of each head-to-head "jump-off," with each point worth a determined amount of time deducted off the rider's time from that run.

Video highlights of all the action in France will be released on www.crankworx.com. Next up at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes will be the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle - Round One of the FMB World Tour Diamond Series (Live on Red Bull TV and www.crankworx.com - 16:30-19:00 CEST) and the Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox (Live on Red Bull TV and www.crankworx.com – 20:15-21:45 CEST) on Saturday, July 5.

Download the full schedule of events on www.crankworx.com.

Online Results: www.crankworx.com/les2alpes/en/results/2014